Today, Sunday, September 21st is the International Day of Peace, one day each year designated by the United Nations as an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. During the General Assembly discussion of the resolution establishing Peace Day it was suggested that:
"Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples…This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace."
So it is appropriate that today the largest climate march - People's Climate March - in history takes place in New York City, headquarters of the UN. Ahead of the September 23rd UN summit on climate change over 100 world leaders have gathered in NYC, and there will be 2808 solidarity events in 166 countries.
Why a Climate March on Peace Day??? It is the very endless cycle of militarism and war making directly tied to an unsustainable means of existence that drives the war against the planet. Most of the effects over past decades were isolated, and felt by only a fraction of the Earth's inhabitants. Yet now, with Carbon Dioxide levels at dangerously high levels, we are seeing the beginnings of more far reaching effects on climate that will most definitely affect all of us.
We can no longer plunder our way to maintain an unsustainable way of life. And a key factor in stopping the plunder is accepting that we MUST change (for the sake of future generations) and make the hard choices now. Such a huge paradigm shift will be extremely difficult, and yet the stakes are also huge.
Conversion from a fossil fuel consuming, war making society to a sustainable one that utilizes resources intelligently and resolves conflict nonviolently will be a massive challenge. We (the people) have been so acculturated and indoctrinated to accept and support the very system of our planet's destruction that we are blinded to the reality of the impact of our choices on our planet (and all of its inhabitants).
Today in countless cities in the US and around the world people who have removed their blinders are rising up to say no more status quo. They are saying yes to "a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities." They are saying yes to a "just, safe, peaceful" and sustainable world.
Yet for the massive turnout for today's People's Climate March, it will take so many more of us to engage the issues that are dragging us down and to change direction. As their website says, "TO CHANGE EVERYTHING, WE NEED EVERYONE."
Mahatma Gandhi once said, we must "be the change we wish to see in the world." May we ALL be that change!!!