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About Earth Day 2004

About the Peace Bell

United States
Europe - Spring Day 2004


"We are a kindergarten from Romania and we will ring the Bells of Peace at 10 am on the 23rd of March.We will use music and hymns from different countries and observe a moment of silence in this regard."
-- Adina Petreus
Kindergarten no.36, Baia Mare,Romania

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 issues.
  • 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 cyberschoolbus@un.org and let us know what you did for Earth Day.



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