Despite 3.9 billion people sheltering in place and the tragedy of the pandemic, over 100 million people took action in 192 countries in honor of Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary.
Mayors, universities, national governments, and multilaterals made commitments on a wide range of environmental issues, including climate literacy, plastics, plant-based diets, renewable energy, and other issues, while faith groups around the world held virtual prayer services in support of ending climate change.
People pledged to vote, parents and teachers educated millions of their students and children about climate change and environmental issues, and hundreds of millions of trees were planted.
Earth Day Network (EDN) also hosted a live-streamed digital event broadcast around the globe and across platforms. With messages of unity, teach-ins, and artist performances, the all-day event featured global leaders, activists, actors, artists, and musicians.
Highlights of Earth Day’s 50th include:
- The Earth Day 50 livestream reached more than 8.5M views (syndicated through earthday.org, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and earthdaylive2020.org) and more than 20M impressions, and had peak simultaneous views to the livestream of over 120,000, while Earth Day Network’s website had more than 2 million unique visitors. EDN’s posts on Weibo had over 25 million unique views.
- Using state of the art technology, more than 2 million people using avatars participated in a digital march on the Ellipse of the White House.
- His Holiness Pope Francis recognized Earth Day with a message of hope for the planet broadcast to the global community.
- Just after midnight on Earth Day, the Roman Coliseum was lit with Earth Day Network’s 50th-anniversary logo, and world-renowned musical artist Zucchero Fornaciari played the piano in its shadow and with Bono off-camera together they sang “Canta La Vita” adapted from Bono’s “Let Your Love Be Known” to Pope Francis, Earth Day Italia, and Earth Day Network.
- Earth Day Network’s stealth Street Art Protest included more than 500 well-known and community graffiti and street artists from every continent.
- More than 2.1 million people downloaded Dharti Ma, a song sung by Grammy Award winners.
- Earth Day trended number one in many countries, including many African countries, with 20 million people from 30 African countries participating in teach-ins, digital clean-ups, citizen science projects, and digital protests.
- Women’s participation in Earth Day in 22 MENA countries this year was 50% higher than any other year.
For a summary of the speeches and performances, which included the Secretary-General of the UN Antonio Guterres, mayors around the world, Sec. John Kerry, Vice President Al Gore, Denis Hayes, Ministers of the Environment from multiple countries, Zdeno Chara, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Roger Waters, Michael Franti, Nahko, Jason Mraz, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Ed Markey, Dave Matthews, Prince Albert of Monaco, Vanessa Hauc, UNFCCC Patricia Espinosa, go to earthday.org/earth-day-live/.
Hollywood actor and environmental activist, Ed Begley and his daughter writer and actor, Hayden Begley, co-hosted Digital Earth Day. “I am beyond grateful to everyone at Earth Day Network for all the incredible work they have done and for making such a momentous occasion possible,” said Hayden Begley. “Words cannot describe how honored I feel to have taken part in Earth Day 2020.”
“I am once again energized, as I was back in 1970 when we first gathered in loving respect for the planet we call home,” wrote Ed Begley. “More than 8 million glorious souls gathered together on the live stream to pursue the notion of a sustainable future for ourselves and our children. A half-century later the spirit of Earth Day lives.”
“Despite much of the world sheltering in place and the tragedy of the pandemic, tens of millions of people participated in Earth Day in 192 countries,” said Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network.
Earth Day Network would like to thank Twitter, USAFacts, the City of Rome, The Vatican, Earth Day Italia, RAI, We Don’t Have Time, WeAre8, the entire UN system, Megan Herbert, Parents for Future, Fridays for Future, ICLEI, streets artists worldwide, Connect4Climate, Playtika, and Future Coalition for their support.
Earth Day 2020 comes 50 years after the first Earth Day in 1970 which mobilized over 20 million citizens to demand action on the environmental challenges of the time. Today, Earth Day is observed in more than 190 countries. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. To learn more about Earth Day 2020, please visit earthday.org.