Peace Bell chimes for people and planet

To mark the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day and the moment of the Equinox, Nikhil Seth, Director of DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development, rang the Peace Bell at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 20 March

Nikhil Seth, Director of DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development, rang the Peace Bell at United Nations Headquarters in New YorkThe Equinox is the time when the Northern and Southern Hemispheres get the same amount of sunlight and days and nights are equal in duration. “It conjures a vision of equality and balance in nature,” said Mr Seth. “We need this equilibrium between human economic and social aspirations as well as the Earth’s carrying capacity and ecological boundaries,” he stressed.

He sounded the bell at precisely 7:02 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, when the Sun started to cross directly over the Earth’s equator, and described the moment of the Equinox as a time for reflection and introspection.

“It reminds us to care for our people and our planet – both under severe stress. Awareness of these pressures and a determination to act to alleviate pain and suffering, to address human deprivation and the environmental crisis, have never been greater,” he said.

“The greatest challenge that humankind is facing is how to build an equitable and balanced economy in a world of finite resources,” he added.

The Japanese Peace Bell was presented to the United Nations in June 1954 by the United Nations Association of Japan. It was cast from coins collected by people from 60 different countries including children, and housed in a typically Japanese structure, resembling a Shinto shrine, made of cypress wood.

It has become a tradition to ring the bell twice a year: on the first day of Spring, at the Vernal Equinox, and on 21 September to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. In 2002, the General Assembly set 21 September as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace.

For more information: UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform