The weather forecast is good for Woodstock, NY this Saturday, August 6, 2011, and we are looking forward to our third annual Woodstock International Walk for World Peace! We gather between at 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. in the parking lot (no parking here, though; use one of Woodstock’s Municipal lots, please) at the intersection of routes 212 and 375, where water will be available (thanks to Hurley Ridge Market, and Michele Elyse Flanders). The World Peace Prayer Society is once again bringing the flags of 193 countries, to be distributed before the walk. The walk begins at 11:00 a.m.; we will proceed through town to Comeau Field, where we will hold the Flag Ceremony, a peace paint-out, talks, and performances by Denise Jordan Finley & Daniel Pagdon, James Cannings, and others. The Parrots for Peace™ will once again be on hand, too; as will Terry Leroy of the Haitian People’s Support Project.
This year’s walk falls on the 66th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, an horrific event that we commemorate each year by holding our walk for peace on the weekend closest to the anniversary. We once again affirm that we never again wish to see such horror, and state that we all will do what each of us can to bring about a more peaceful world. The date of August 6th is known as Universal Peace Day, though the event is often observed in the United States on August 5th, due to the International Date Line.
We can all do more to bring about peace; we can show kindness whenever possible, and work with others to produce a more sustainable world. A sustainable world is a peaceful world, as sustainability would mean providing water, food, housing, safety, education for every human being—no one left behind. In the United States, this might mean strengthening and increasing enforcement of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, moving away from fossil fuels, and writing our local and federal representatives, urging less investment in the machinery of war, more investment in jobs, education, and infrastructure; less political posturing, and more substantive action. It might encompass reducing one’s energy use (we have one of the world’s highest rates of energy consumption) and eschewing some rainforest products (palm oil = bad), while using others (brazil nuts = good).
One thing is certain, every society that has not embraced the ideas of peace and sustainability has eventually failed; this is attested to in Jared Diamond’s books Guns, Germs, and Steel, and Collapse; and more recently in Brian Fagan’s Elixir: A History of Water and Humankind.
When we contrast those collapsed societies with the Aboriginal communities of Australia, the oldest continually operational society on earth, we find that the aboriginies have a deep reverence for nature that has enabled them to live for 40,000 years in one of the harshest environments on earth, and that peace and the environment can’t be separated.
Join us this Saturday, August 6, 2011, as we walk and pray for peace!