Third annual Woodstock Walk

July 8, 2011

This year’s Woodstock International Walk for World Peace is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, August 6, 2011. We will meet at the parking lot at the intersection of routes 375 and 212 in Woodstock, NY, where the flags of every country will be handed out for our procession through town to Comeau Field, where the World Peace Prayer Society will once again hold the Flag Ceremony.

We hold this walk each year to reaffirm our commitment to peace. The walk is always held on the weekend closest to the anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, to recognize that we never again wish to see nuclear weapons used. We hold that all life is sacred, and that there is no such thing as a “just” war. The only way to peace is through peace, and we support the peaceful resolution of all disputes. This year’s walk happens to fall on the actual date of the bombing, and we will say a prayer for the casualties of this horrific event.

Our founder, John Nelson, is in Hiroshima, setting up events there for Live Peace International, a worldwide event where concerts for peace will be streamed live from venues throughout the world. More info is available on YouTube, and I’m awaiting more details from John; as soon as they are made available I will post them here.

The same goes for events at the third annual Woodstock International Walk for World Peace; as performers and speakers are confirmed, we will post them here. The Parrots for Peace will once again be on hand, too. We look forward to seeing you all there! Peace and Love!

Advertisements

Countdown!

August 7, 2010

A photo from last year's walk. ©2009 Doug Potoksky

We have less than 24 hours left until the Second Annual Woodstock International Walk for World Peace, and much to do!

Went to the Beacon Sloop Club potluck last night to make final preparations with Victorio Roland Mousaa and Pete Seeger, and we’re going to see them at the Peace Corner in Wappingers Falls today; also sound check, meeting Jack Nelson, and lots more to do. Thanks to everyone at the sloop club for their generosity toward Tony Angel’s Spirit Journey; we raised $120.20 for Tony last night, which we will deposit in his account this morning.

What is clear is the need for a more peaceful world. The best thing we can do is to be the change that we wish to see in others; we state again that if each of us is dedicated to a more peaceful world, we will have one. Please come support us in our mission by walking with us through town with the flags of all nations in Woodstock, and show the world the pro-peace spirit that is the true legacy of the Woodstock Nation lives.

Peace and love!


Vernal Equinox (Spring is here!)

March 21, 2010

The ecliptic path at vernal equinox

Yesterday, at 1:32 p.m., spring arrived in the northern hemisphere, and fall began in the southern. The vernal (spring) equinox marks the time each year when daylight and darkness are exactly equal (in the northern hemisphere; this date marks the autumnal equinox in the southern hemisphere.

I was privileged to attend the United Nations Earth Day ceremony and the ringing of the peace bell in the rose garden, where I heard the wonderful Tarumi Violinists, directed by Yukako Tarumi, and many interesting speakers on the environment. Among the speakers were Helen Garland, chairperson of the Earth Society Foundation, co-founded with John McConnell and supported by noted anthropologist Margaret Mead; Simon Reeves from New Zealand; Vahan Galoumian, Project Coordinator of UNESCO‘s liason office in New York, and Andres Gomez of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation of Natural History at the American Museum of Natural History.

John McConnell's Earth Flag

We are losing habitat and biodiversity at an alarming rate; 40% of the Amazon rainforest will be lost by 2030 if deforestation continues at present rates; soil and fisheries depletion are accelerating, and 30,000 people per day are dying from lack of access to clean water. These are severe problems that need solutions, and I thank all of yesterday’s speakers for their dedication to these issues.

Yet too often, the multinational corporations and the men and women who run them are portrayed as arch-villains; I find this disturbing for many reasons, chief among them that these men and women are people just like you and me, and no man or woman is my enemy. For better or for worse, these corporations are here to stay, and we need to enlist them as partners to move forward; the way to peace can only be through peace. As Jurrian Kamp, editor-in-chief of Ode magazine states in his article We need to end climate anger: “…environmentalists… need to embrace all the people they fear stand in the way of the progress the planet needs: the politicians and industrial leaders.”

To be sure, corporations must practice corporate responsibility and become good planetary citizens, and their track record on this has been dismal, yet demonizing these corporations and the men and women who run them is the most ineffective means at our disposal of enlisting their cooperation—and we need their cooperation and access to their vast resources if we are to find solutions to the problems we face. We are all in this together.

The above views are my own, and do not necessarily represent the Woodstock Council for World Peace.


Establishing a Department of Peace

March 16, 2010

Change.org announced today the top ten ideas for change in America, and I’m pleased to see that “Establish a U.S. Department of Peacebuilding” is number five, though I’d be more pleased if it were number one (that honor was dubiously given to legalizing the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana; I’d say that peace and love are more important).

Please read my earlier post on a Department of Peace, and write your senators and congresspeople asking that this be made a reality. The world can no longer afford wars; they have become economically unsustainable—our energies are better focused on ensuring access to clean water, and on providing food, housing, health care, and education for all of humanity. Let’s make it happen!


Vote for Peace

February 21, 2010

Click here to register your vote to establish a U.S. Department of Peace, and send your message to Congress here. The bill to establish a Department of Peace is now before the House of Representatives, and, among other things, would provide funding to establish a U.S. Peace Academy which would act as a counterpart to the U.S. Military Academy, teach violence prevention and mediation to America’s school children, and provide complimentary support to our military by engaging in parallel peace-building activities.

The Woodstock Council for World Peace has already sent a letter of support for the Department of Peace to Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who first introduced this bill in July 2001, shortly before the attacks of 9/11. Unfortunately, our country’s reaction to those attacks, and George W. Bush’s mistaken policy of GWOT (Global War on Terror) has allowed this bill to languish. Make your voices heard, and tell Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and your representatives that you want the United States Department of Peace to become a reality.

We are living in a world that is witnessing the threats of habitat and biodiversity loss, fisheries depletion, global economic stress and world hunger; in such a world, war is unsustainable.

The above views are my own, and do not necessarily represent the views of The Woodstock Council for World Peace.


The invisible war

January 31, 2010

Photo from Stop Conflict: DR Congo—stopconflict.wordpress.com

Nicholas D. Kristof’s column today concerns the continuing war in the Congo, which, he points out, has claimed 30 times more lives than the Haitian disaster, and is the most devastating conflict the world has seen since World War II. The war has claimed more than 5.4 million lives to date, with no end in sight.

Mr. Kristof notes the pathetic international response to this tragedy, and I thank him for his continuing dedication to the causes of peace and justice. The unspeakable atrocities being committed in the Congo must be stopped; please write your representatives asking that they devote resources to putting an end to this.

You might also write to media outlets, expressing outrage at the lack of media coverage.

Disclaimer: The above views are my own, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Woodstock Council for World Peace.


2010: The Year of Peace

January 10, 2010

The African Union has declared 2010 as The Year of Peace and Security. While many improvements have been achieved over the past year, there are still intense regional conflicts that remain to be settled. The Heads of State and Government of the African Union have agreed to devote resources to improve these conditions, and we applaud their efforts. For the full story, click here. Thanks to Lena Sage for the photo.