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April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. That’s still far from now, but top global scientists are already preparing for it. 

In recognition of the milestone, the Earth Day Network, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the U.S. Department of State are launching “Earth Challenge 2020” as the world’s largest coordinated citizen science campaign.

Earth Challenge 2020 is an opportunity for anyone who has a critical research question or an idea for a research topic to present that idea, then a panel of top global scientists will choose it to focus on and collect more than a billion data points on that topic across the world.

Earth Challenge 2020 will engage millions of global citizens and will collect more than one billion data points in areas including air quality, water quality, biodiversity, pollution, and human health. Citizen science volunteers around the world will collect and share Earth science data on an unprecedented scale, providing new insight on the state of our environment to drive meaningful action.

Citizen scientists of all ages and concerned global citizens are encouraged to participate in defining the critical research questions that will guide Earth Challenge 2020.

Earth Challenge 2020 is recruiting research questions via a simple web form. The site includes instructions for submitting research questions as well as sample questions.

In addition, questions can be submitted via Twitter (@Earth_Challenge) by using the hashtag #EC2020.

Questions should center around what is impactful to you and your community, e.g.:
How much plastic is in my water? #EC2020 @Earth_Challenge #citsci
Are invasive species being effectively managed? #EC2020 @Earth_Challenge
How does air quality impact the health of my community? #EC2020 @Earth_Challenge

Research questions may be submitted from October 22, 2018 to November 22, 2018. After research questions have been collected, the Earth Challenge 2020 research team will analyze submissions for common themes, distilling the questions for review and refining by an expert panel.

The panel will choose the final research questions that will guide Earth Challenge 2020. Selections will be made based on criteria including level of global interest, geographic diversity, global impact, partnerships, and feasibility. The final research questions will be announced early 2019.