10 Highlights of the past 50 years

50th Anniversary of Earth Day
1970 – 2020

22 April 2020

50 years ago Earth Day was founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson who not only created this special day but likely made the first step of creating a whole new movement to help save the Earth. Today, the world celebrates its 50th anniversary around the theme of “climate action” in honour of worldwide efforts to halt global warming.

One might say that many organisations, companies and movements grew out of this special day, which was created by Nelson after a major oil spill in 1969 which contaminated the Santa Barbara Channel, and the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland in the United States caught fire, received significant media coverage.

Since the first Earth Day, celebrations have only grown.

We would like to highlight some of the events and actions that took place, organisations and movements that were created and possibly inspired by Earth Day below.

50 years of Earth Day

20 million people participate in activities for the first Earth Day in the United States.

22nd April 1970

Environmental activist organization Greenpeace is founded.

21st April 1971

Earth First! was founded.

4th April 1980

Earthlife Africa was established.

8th January 1988

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issues its initial global warming report. Over the next quarter century, its forecasts mostly come true.

21st April 1990

The 20th anniversary Earth Day celebrations go global, with participants in over 140 countries.

22nd April 1990

Hundreds of millions of people in 184 countries celebrate the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, with a focus on “clean energy.”

22nd April 2000

At COP 21 in Paris, parties to the UNFCCC reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.

12th December 2015

On Earth Day in 2016, the United Nations signed the Paris climate agreement.

22nd April 2016

Greta Thunberg began the school climate strikes and public speeches. Later in October, Extinction Rebellion was founded.

1st August 2018

Today, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is centred around the theme of “climate action” in honour of worldwide efforts to halt global warming.

22nd April 2020

Share this with your network!

Gaia Education trainer

Training of Trainers Gaia Education

Become a Gaia Education Certified Trainer. Get the skills & methodologies to facilitate transformative learning environments that enable collaborative action.

Read more

Design for Sustainability

Design for sustainability

Join our programme ‘Design for Sustainability’. Receive a certificate of design for sustainability, and become a practitioner of regenerative development.

Read more

Project Based Learning

Gaia Education's Project Based Learning is exploring real-life solutions for designing integrated and sustainable settlements. Read about our projects here.