'50 for 50' pledge Celebrating 50 years of Earth Day, one pledge at a time

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Sustainability Institute at Penn State is collecting pledges of action that promote a healthier planet and happier lives. Your pledge today makes it possible for the 100th anniversary Earth Day to take place in a more peaceful and equitable world than we live in today. Thank you for taking this first step toward a brighter future.

The arrival of 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. First proposed in 1970, Earth Day is a day when people across the world take action to make the planet a better place for all. As then-Senator Gaylord Nelson, one of Earth Day’s founders, explained, the shared vision for Earth Day is...

“. . . not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all living creatures – an environment without ugliness, without ghettoes, without discrimination, without hunger, poverty, or war. Our goal is a decent environment in its broadest and deepest sense.”

35 years later in 2015, the world's nations adopted an expanded vision for people and planet, the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. The goals were agreed upon in order to make the planet an economically viable, socially just, and environmentally sustainable place.

Ten Years to Transform our World: Now, in 2020, we find ourselves facing the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented global crisis on a massive scale. This year also marks the first in the "decade of action" for delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With campuses across the state and alumni around the globe, Penn State is in a unique position to be a leader in helping Pennsylvania, the U.S., and other universities prioritize and advance all 17 SDGs and take decisive action to mitigate the worst-case scenarios of global climate change.

Penn State Students, 1970 (Penn State University Libraries Archives)

We all have a role to play on Earth Day, and every day. The Sustainability Institute at Penn State invites all Penn State administration, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends to make a twin pledge for action in the coming year:

What is one thing you pledge to do individually and one thing you pledge to do collectively to advance a sustainable future for us all?

Please participate in this pledge by submitting a pledge today. The Sustainability Institute will share up to 50 of the pledges we receive on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day via Facebook and Instagram beginning April 22. Thank you for participating!

Penn State students at work at the Penn State Student Farm, present day

Thank you!