Earth Day 2004
The Japanese Peace
Bell at UN Headquarters in New York will ring at exactly
1:49 AM (EST) on Saturday, 20 March to mark the precise moment
that spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in
the Southern Hemisphere. At this global moment, night and
day are equal all over the world, the sun sets at the South
Pole and rises at the North Pole and anyone standing on the
equator at noon will not cast a shadow. Earth Day is a day
of equilibrium when differences are forgotten and nature's
renewal is celebrated by all.
For the last 34 years, this annual event marks the beginning
of Earth Day which has been traditionally observed with the
ringing of bells. Earth Day was created to remind us of our
shared responsibility to protect the planet.
This year, John McConnell, the 88-year old founder of Earth
Day, will present a message to the children of the world at
the site of the UN Peace Bell. McConnell first introduced
the idea of a global holiday called Earth Day at a UNESCO
Conference on the Environment in 1969, the same year that
he designed the Earth Flag. UN Secretary-General U Thant supported
John McConnell’s global initiative to celebrate this
annual spring equinox event. In his statement on 21 March
1971, Secretary-General U Thant said: “May there only
be peaceful and cheerful Earth Days to come for our beautiful
Spaceship Earth as it continues to spin and circle in frigid
space with its warm and fragile cargo of animate life.”
Mr. McConnell co-founded the Earth Society Foundation, a
non-profit organization, along with the late world renowned
anthropologist, Margaret Mead.
At the exact moment of the spring equinox, Mr. McConnell
will ring the UN Peace Bell at UN Headquarters three times.
This will be followed by a “Minute for Peace,”
which can be observed as silent prayer, reflection, or meditation.
At the same moment that the UN Peace Bell is rung in New York,
bells will ring in many other places in the world, including
Vienna (Austria), Vilnius (Lithuania), Beijing (China), Paris
(France) and Kyoto (Japan).
Here are a few suggestions of how you could participate:
- Do something in your own community that helps improve
the environment where you live.
- Get involved in YouthCan,
a youth run organization that uses technology to inspire,
connect and educate people worldwide about environmental
- Join Pumped Up for Peace,
a new project sponsored by the UN Cyberschoolbus that is
helping a community in the Amazon rainforest whose water
supply has become contaminated.
- Play the recording
of the UN Peace Bell at the exact moment of the vernal equinox
where you live. See vernal
equinox schedule for selected cities around the world.
- Join the Peace
Bell initiative organized by European Schoolnet for
Spring Day 2004.
- Read what
students are planning to do on this special day.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
and let us know what you did for Earth Day.