1970 New York Times Ad Helped Spark an Environmental Revolution. 50 Years Later, 2020 Ad Hopes to Make History Again

By Denice Zeck

On Sunday, February 2, Earth Day Network ran a full-page ad in The New York Times announcing a global day of activism to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2020.  The advertisement ran nearly 50 years to the day that a full-page ad in The New York Times used the words “Earth Day” for the first time.

“The New York Times ad changed everything,” said Denis Hayes, coordinator of the first Earth Day. “The ad issued a call to all Americans about the state of our planet.  Once it ran, millions of people joined this national effort.” 

Like the first full-page ad, Sunday’s ad is a call to action to millions to unite to tackle environmental degradation and the climate crisis of today.  

“For the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we need everyone participating,” said Kathleen Rogers, EDN President. “The first Earth Day led to the creation of the EPA, Clean Air Amendments, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act, and many of our nation’s most important environmental legislation, all passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. In 1970, Earth Day mobilized 20 million Americans. Today, Earth Day is global, and every nation on Earth is participating.” 

“Fifty years ago, 20 million people took to the streets to demand that our government protect the health of our people and our planet,” the Sunday ad reads. “Earth Day 1970 remains the largest civic engagement event in human history…until now.” 

View and learn more about the 1970 and 2020 ads here.

Learn more about this intergenerational mobilization, and sign up to receive updates

Earth Day Network is a non-profit organization with a mission to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with 75,000 partners in nearly 192 countries. 

Denice Zeck (zeck@earthday.org) is the Media Contact for Earth Day Network.

This press release was sent on February 2.

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