Around the World in 40 Years! Earth Day Celebrations around the Globe

Forty years ago this April 22, 20 million people celebrated the first Earth Day.
Apr 12, 2010 2:33 PM ET

Around the World in 40 Years! Earth Day Celebrations around the Globe

Forty years ago this April 22, 20 million people celebrated the first Earth Day, the brainchild of my former senator, Gaylord Nelson, who’s been called “one of the most environmentally aware men to ever grace the United States Senate floor.”

Senator Nelson thought that the “teach-in” model on college campuses would work to bring environmental concerns to the forefront of US politics. Over the years, Earth Day has become a shining example of grassroots activism.

Now it’s global, just like the environmental issues we are tackling. As Earth Day turns 40, over 1 billion people will celebrate this global holiday in ways as diverse and creative as the places where they live.

Magnificent festivals infused with music, healthy eats, information and workshops on eco-friendly living, are planned in places as diverse as Washington, D.C, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Shanghai, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Tokyo and Costa Rica. We found a few listed at GaiamLife and added a few of our own. Travel the Earth this Earth Day on Greenopolis without leaving your chair!


The World Dhammakaya Centre in Thailand (home of the famous Buddhist beer bottle temple), is welcoming over 100,000 Buddhist monks from 30,000 temples around Thailand for its Earth Day festivities at its temple north of Bangkok. This is world peace through inner peace. The Abbot of Dhammakaya Temple will lead mass meditation with the gathered monks. To top it off, the event is followed by a long standing tradition, casting a set of 300,000 personal Buddha statues at the Grand Meditation Stadium. This beats Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium!

Oh! Canada! 

Cities all across Canada are celebrating Earth Day , advocating collective environmentalism. It’s a community thing that we could learn from here in the solo actor US. Museums, parks, schools and community groups across the Great White North are offering programs to spur Canadians to more eco-friendly lives. There’s an Earth Day Festival in Edmonton; Recycling Awareness seminar in Prince Albert (let him out of the can, please); a Plant-a-Tree Campaign in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario; an Earth Day Extravaganza in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; and cleanups and greenups in every province.


Grace Kelly won’t be there for the Monaco Earth Day Swim , but maybe you should be. A 2.5km, open-water swim in the Mediterranean that raises money for environmental causes. You even receive an olive tree when you cross the finish line- near Casablanca (the street), no less. Want to guess what the green balloons are for?


Earth Day Catalonia is celebrating its 20th anniversary along with Earth Day’s 40th. It’s one huge event with more than 100,000 people expected. There are folks working in environment, energy, human rights, fair trade, alternative healing, and local artisans producing their own products. With workshops, conferences, music, food - not to mention, you’re in Barcelona!

United States

Because the president said so, National Park Week coincides with Earth Day each year. There’s nearly 400 sites in the NPS system, holding Earth Day celebrations, guided nature walks, cleanups, presentations at schools, and lots more. You can get a list of events at a national park, historic site, preserve or national monument near you! If the great urban landscape is more your style, Grand Central Station in NYC has a weeklong festival including The Giant Earth Images, with inspiring Earth-related artwork by artists like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring dramatically projected onto the columns in the terminal's main concourse; and EarthFair, a two-day event with live music, educational booths, and organic food. And you can always duck out on the street for a hot dog.


The World Energy Forum is meeting in Bulgaria for the first time, April 22-24, to honor Earth Day. Leaders from over 20 countries, including Hillary Clinton and Vladimir Putin, are expected to attend the meeting of the minds in Bulgaria's capital city of Sophia, which means wisdom in Latin. Let’s hope the name rubs off on the leaders...

Costa Rica

You can take time out from rescuing sea turtles and swinging through rain forest canopies to take part in Twearth Day... a blend of "Twitter" and "Earth Day." You cancan use to keep updated on Project Green Jungle’s weeklong Earth Day efforts in Costa Rican jungles, including water testing the Sixaola River, species  counting and biodiversity survey of Hitoy Cerere Biological Reserve, and a Beach Cleanup in Puerto Viejo. Pura Vida!


Ethiopia is the 10th-largest country in Africa size wise but number 2 in population. It celebrating its first Earth Day just a few years ago, with a goal of raising a “Green Generation" in Ethiopia that will push for green policies to protect their health, natural environment and resources, and encourage less wasteful, healthier lifestyles.  Ethiopians will learn how health and community well-being depends on the protection of the natural environment. Special events will include panel discussions, an Awareness Fair with presentations by green businesses, and a lecture series at Addis Ababa University.


Rainbow Bridge International School with Shanghai Zoo, are hosting an Earth Day festival on Saturday April 24th, 2010 in the Shanghai Zoo. Over 2000 children and their families representing 31 countries are expected to participate in environmental education activities such as seed planting and designing fashions from recycled materials. There will be stage performances, family games, charity activities, and cultural village tours that highlight environmental initiatives from around the world as well as activities that immerse visitors in cultural traditions. Bring home take out.

There! Around the world and back again, without wasting a drop of fuel or emitting an ounce of CO2. Happy Earth Day from the whole world!

To see breathtaking pictures from these celebrations, visit the original blog post. is dedicated to our users. We focus our attention on changing the world through recycling, waste-to-energy and conservation. We reward our users for their sustainable behaviors on our website, through our Greenopolis Tracking Stations and with curbside recycling programs.




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