This year, Guinness World Records 2022 highlights the challenge facing us all: the climate crisis. 

From a plastic overproduction to pollution, from recycling to the ever-growing investment in sustainable energies, we capture a snapshot of this year's highs and lows in terms of sustainability. 

Today we glance at the records (and their record holders!) that inspire and encourage us to take a positive action. 

most southernly climate protest group picture

Most southerly climate protest

The most southerly climate protest ever was organized by astrophysicist Benjamin Eberhardt (Germany) on in September 2019. 

It was part of the larger Global Climate Strike and it was held at the Geographic South Pole, at the freezing latitude of 90° S. 

Seven people from around the world attended the demonstration with Eberhardt, all were scientists or support staff working at the nearby South Pole research station in the Antarctic interior. 

largest tree hug

Largest tree hug 

Not many people know that tree-hugging is good for our health.

However, according to Icelandic Forest Services, hugging a tree can benefit us in more ways than just tightening our relationship with nature. 

Ranger Þór Þorfinnsson in a news interview with the Icelandic Broadcasting Service RÚV enthused that hugging a tree brings a wonderful feeling of relaxation. 

The practice has gained traction during Covid, with the necessity of self-isolation and the constant feelings of negativity and being trapped that came with it, but some people were enthusiastic tree-huggers even before the pandemic.

In March 2017, a crowd of four thousand people tried the benefits of reinforcing their bond with nature... and gained a world record in the process! 

The largest tree hug event took place at JNTBGRI in Thiruvananthapuram, India. The title was achieved by 4,620 people at Asianet News Network Pvt. Ltd. 

The Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry receiving the certificate

Most trees planted in one hour by a team of unlimited size (single location)

With an outstanding number of 303,150 trees planted, the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, General Directorate of Forestry achieved the world record for most trees planted in one hour by a team of unlimited size (single location)

The record was achieved in Çorum Celilkırı, Turkey, on 11 November 2019. 

Trees are necessary for the survival of the planet and for the production of oxygen, therefore massive deforestation is one of the most pressing issues facing our planet.  

According to a report from WWF, in 2019, the tropics lost close to 30 soccer fields' worth of trees every single minute. In the Amazon, around 17% of the forest has been lost in the last 50 years. 

We hope to see more records like this attempted in the future.

plastic castle

Robert Bezeau: the plastic king

A castle fit for a modern-age king must fit many requirements, and one of them is certainly to be sustainable. And what better way to repurpose discarded material than to create a mansion fit for royalty with it? 

The four-storey, 14-m-high (45-ft 11-in) castle constructed by "The Plastic King" Robert Bezeau (Canada) in Bocas Del Toro, Panama, is fabricated from a whopping number of 40,000 plastic bottles and broke the record for largest castle made from plastic

If you think that such a building can’t be that big, think again! 

Although it is indeed eco-friendly and low-cost to build, the fortress boasts four guest rooms, a feasting area, and a viewing platform on the top.

However, the castle doesn’t represent an isolated case. The structure is part of an ecological plastic bottle village, which features many other homes built from the same discarded materials. 

The project, other than showcasing how it is possible to re-use plastic waste, awarded Bezeaus with Panama’s Environmental Excellence Award. 

Largest recycled plastic sculpture supported

Largest recycled plastic sculpture (supported)

If you wander at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in San Francisco, USA, you’ll see a majestic sculpture of a blue whale. 

It is, in fact, the largest recycled plastic sculpture (supported) in the world! 

The majestic creation measures 25.89 m (84 ft 11.6 in) long, 8.07 m (26 ft 5.8 in) wide and 4.2 m (13 ft 9.6 in), as verified in 2018.

When speaking about the sculpture, a spokesperson of the Monterey Bay Aquarium said "every nine minutes 300,000 lb of plastic – the weight of a blue whale – makes its way into the ocean." 

Local artists Joel Dean Stockdill and Yustina Salnikova created the anatomically accurate structure to bring this statistic to life. 

The largest solar panel image consists of 196,320 solar panels and was created by SPIC Nei Mongol Energy Co., Ltd. (China)

Largest solar thermal power station

The largest concentrated solar power plant is situated in Morocco, in the Noor Ouarzazate Solar Complex. 

The 510-MW facility was built by a consortium that included ACWA Power (SAU), Sener (ESP), SEPCO (CHN), and it was created in three phases. 

First the section called Noor I came online in 2016, Noor II in January 2018 and III in December 2018. Another area of the plant – Noor IV – is a conventional photovoltaic array.

Like other renewable energies, solar energy represents a sustainable alternative to carbon-based fuels. Therefore, many governments, countries and households all around the world are choosing it as their energy source of choice, contributing to a migration towards power sources that have a much lower impact on the environment.

Most plastic bottles collected for recycling in 12 hours

Most plastic bottles collected for recycling in 12 hours

Did you know that recycling a single plastic bottle will save enough energy to power a lightbulb for three hours or more? That is, one single bottle. 

It’s easy then to imagine the positive impact that BBMP, Go Native, Ramakrishna Ganesh, Namma Nimma Cycle Foundation and Let's Be The Change (all India) had when they collected the staggering amount of 33,355.55 kg (73,536.40 lbs) of plastic bottles in only 12 hours. 

The collective recycling event broke the world record for most plastic bottles collected for recycling in 12 hours and took place in Bangalore, India, on 2 October 2018. 

Changemakers banner

Take action!

We can all help our planet through small gestures every day. 

The activists and environmental heroes of tomorrow are born from a daily effort, no matter how small, to respect the environment. Even seemly inconsequential acts like litter-picking help. 

That's why we joined forces with Earthwatch to create teaching resources and fun play activities. This way, children can get more involved with the environment, different habitats and the many ways we can protect the world we live in.

Earthwatch is an environmental organization that, every day, strives to spread awareness on the challenges of climate change, cultivating the changemakers of tomorrow through play activities and lesson plans.

Find out more about Earthwatch and its educators’ resources here!

That is, of course, not all we're doing to safeguard our planet at Guinness World Records.

Every year we strive towards a sustainable and respectful book production. 

The annual book is 98% recyclable, containing PEFC accredited paper sourced in Finland and other paper products (boards, endpapers, and covers). Our endpapers and covers are printed with vegetable-based inks, and packed in FSC accredited cartons.

We are aware that every little action counts, and we want to be part of the process – every day aiming to achieve a better, greener production in all steps of our supply chain.

Discover more about Guinness World Records 2022 and its production process!