Every year, 22 April marks the celebration of Earth Day – and it could be a chance for your brand to help the planet while breaking a record.

The first Earth Day was celebrated in the United States in 1970, a date that still holds the record for the largest environmental mobilization, and the initiative is mostly attributed to Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin.

The event was also highly influenced by Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring, published in 1962 which shines a light on the perversive effects of toxic pesticides released into the atmosphere which were decimating populations of birds in the United States, while also affecting the health of humans and all other living organisms.

Until the first Earth Day, there was virtually no global conversation about the need to protect the planet’s natural resources. 54 years later, the celebration of Earth Day has inspired millions of people to act. The now-globally observed day is an annual reminder of the urgent need for environmental conservation actions.

Here at Guinness World Records, we believe that there is one thing that can have a big impact on the environment while offering a fun and engaging experience: breaking a world record to protect the Earth.

That’s what organizations and brands have done when they walked the extra mile to make a difference for the planet. 

These are only some examples of record-breaking feats taken on to raise awareness about the world's most pressing environmental issues; like the overwhelming abundance of single-use plastics, most of them, such as straws, are not recyclable and end up polluting the planet’s water ways.


Hundreds of divers get together to clean the ocean

The most participants in an underwater clean-up in 24 hours (single venue) is 842 and was achieved by Oceanum Liberandum (Portugal) in Sesimbra, Portugal, on 28 May 2023.

The attempt had to be paused for about two hours due to an unexploded World War II bomb being discovered underwater, however the 24-hour clock continued to run. The bomb was detonated under a controlled explosion out at sea.

Recycled plastic whale measuring

An American aquarium uses art to educate on plastic pollution

The Monterey Bay Aquarium (USA) in San Francisco, California, created a life-size, scientifically accurate blue whale made from plastic trash (including milk jugs, detergent bottles, and toys) collected from the San Francisco Bay Area to bring awareness to plastic pollution.

The largest recycled plastic sculpture (supported) measured 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), and was verified on 26 November 2018.

Largest drinking straw sculpture _supported_

An artist wants people to stop using plastic straws

Canadian artist Von Wong and Zero Waste Saigon (Vietnam) created the largest drinking straw sculpture (supported), a ginormous sculpture made from reclaimed plastic straws in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on 22 January 2019, to raise awareness about single-use plastic pollution and the impact it’s having on the world’s oceans.


Thousands of plastic bottles collected to break a record

With the goal of raising awareness about the importance of recycling plastic bottles, two Colombian companies, the shopping complexes Centro Chía and Agua Cristal, teamed up to create the tallest plastic bottle sculpture in the shape of a gigantic Christmas tree. The sculpture measured 29.97 m (98 ft 1.95 in) and was made of 96,985 post-consumer plastic bottles and unveiled in Chía, Colombia, on 4 November 2023.

Largest environmental sustainability lesson

4,780 participate in massive lesson for the environment

When it comes to environmental sustainability, education is key. That's why the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and SoULS IIT Mumbai (both India) gathered 4,780 people at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, in Delhi, India, on 2 October 2019 to break the record for largest environmental sustainability lesson.

The record-breaking lesson was organized to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary also included a pledge of non-violence towards the environment signed by participants.

Now, it’s your turn!

We hope this list inspires you to act and help our blue planet thrive.

Do you think your brand or team have what it takes to break a world record for the planet? Visit our Business Solutions page to find out how we can help or contact us.

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