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April 22, 2020

This year's Earth Day event on April 22, 2020 will mark an important milestone. Fifty years before, the University of Washington participated in the very first Earth Day. Since that first event in 1970, students, faculty and staff have pushed to advance sustainability at the UW and beyond.

The UW will recognize the 50th Earth Day throughout the 2019-2020 academic year with events hosted by a variety of departments, student groups and other organizations. The celebrations will include UW Sustainability's EarthFest on Red Square on April 22, 2020. This central Earth Day event will feature groups from across the UW, showcasing their efforts and engaging attendees with a variety of perspectives on sustainability. Groups interested in participating in EarthFest can apply now.

The College of the Environment's office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Office of Sustainability are working in collaboration to organize events that explore themes around environmental/climate justice or effects of climate change in different communities as a way to build engagement towards Earth Day 2020. Check this page throughout the year for updated information, event calendars, volunteer opportunities and more. Email sustainability@uw.edu to submit events for inclusion on the Earth Day 2020 calendar or for more information about the Earth Day 2020 efforts.

Featured events

Sustainability Stories @ UW logo

Sustainability Stories

Jan. 17 - April 16
Speaker series highlighting sustainability actions across the UW.
Earth Day on Red Square

EarthFest 2020

April 22
Join student groups, UW departments and other groups on Red Square for an Earth Day celebration.
Environmental Justice Conference

Environmental Justice Conference

April 7
Explore approaches of inclusive and meaningful engagement through innovation and collaboration.


Earth Day history

In 1969, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed the first celebration of Earth Day as "a day for serious discussion of environmental problems." In response, more than 20 million American activists, scholars, students, and citizens across the country came together on April 22, 1970 to celebrate and reflect on the need for an environmental reform. This day is considered by many the beginning of the modern environmental movement.

"Let every individual and institution now think and act as a responsible trustee of Earth, seeking choices in ecology, economics and ethics that will provide a sustainable future, eliminate pollution, poverty and violence, awaken the wonder of life and foster peaceful progress in the human adventure." - John McConnell, Founder of Earth Day

Watch a PBS video documenting that day.

Full calendar: