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!

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Thanks!

August 13, 2010

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I hope you enjoy the slide show above (all photos © 2010 Cameron Williams or © 2010 Doug Potoksky, all rights reserved); this is the first opportunity I’ve had since Sunday’s second annual Woodstock International Walk for World Peace to say thank you to all of you who helped make our event a success.

First, thanks to the legendary Pete Seeger, to whom the Woodstock Council awarded the first “Noble Peace Prize”.

Pete Seeger’s "Noble Peace Prize”

Thanks also to Joyce Beymer, and all the wonderful folks at the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and the Arts, Woodstock Town Supervisor Jeff Moran, Woodstock Police Chief Clayton Keefe and the Woodstock Police Department, Terrie Rosenblum, Cathy Magarelli, Bill McKenna, Jay Wenk, Angela Sweet, Jacquelyn A. Earley, Michael Reynolds, Paul Andreassen, Ray Brundage, who was so helpful in setting up Comeau Field, Adam Slagsvol and all the other folks at American Printing, Michael and Ziedel Epstein at Hurley Ridge Market, Nick Altomare, Mark McDunna, Fumi Stewart and The World Peace Prayer Society, Gloria Waslyn and The Parrots for Peace, Victorio Roland Mousaa, Princess WOW!, founder of The Smile Revolution, Mary Poppiins, Caitlin O’Heaney, Hank Woji, Luke Hunzberger, Norman (who played and sang, and whose last name I don’t know), Mighty Xee, Christina Valentine and Monica, Tinya Seeger, Phil Sauers, Sonia Malkine, who repeated her moving rendition of Pete’s song “Where Have All The Flowers Gone”; Greg Reitman and Britta Peterson of Blue Water Entertainment, who are filming Rooted in Peace, Russell Richardson of the INDIE project, and Marie Uridia, also of INDIE, who filmed our walk; Carol Johnson, Catskill Mountain Plumbing & Heating, Vivo Gallery, and Cucina restaurant; David and Fiona Saxman of The White Gryphon, Catskill Mountain Pizza, Reverend Josh Bode of the Dutch Reformed Church (congratulations!), Bill McKnight and Melinda Terpening McKnight, Doug Potoksky; the inimitable Father Jack Nelson, without whom this would not be possible; Elaine Maggiore, B. Vos, Michele Elyse Flanders, Bob Place, Tony Angel, Pierre and Terry LeRoy of the Haitian People’s Support Project, and anyone else whose name I may have omitted. Special thanks also to Ronnye Jai and Alan Shapiro, who serve as inspiration to us all. Peace! —CW


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!


Universal Peace Day and The Woodstock International Walk for World Peace

August 6, 2010

Today, August 6th, 2010, is the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.  “Little Boy” was the name of the fission bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The 30 year old pilot, Colonel Paul Tibbets, named his B-29 Superfortress the “Enola Gay” after his mother. The immediate death toll was approximately 70,000 men, women & children, who were instantly vaporized. Many others perished in the months and years that followed. August 6 has been internationally recognized as Universal Peace Day, though due to the International Date Line, it is often observed in the U.S. on August 5th.

Yesterday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, and Nobel Prize-winning author and Hiroshima survivor Kenzaburo Oe wrote a moving article in The New York Times.

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

We ask all of you to join us this Sunday, August 8, 2010, for the Second Annual Woodstock International Walk for World Peace. We walk on the weekend closest to Universal Peace Day each year as a reminder to all that we wish to never again witness nuclear devastation, and to express our profound wishes for an end to all wars. If each of us is dedicated to a more peaceful world, we will have one.

We thank The Woodstock Chamber of Commerce & Arts, The Town of Woodstock, The World Peace Prayer Society, Pete Seeger, Victorio Roland Mousaa, Princess WOW!, Tony Angel, and all the other individuals who have given so generously their time and efforts to support our goals.

Now come on out Sunday morning for a great time!


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!


International Women’s Day

March 8, 2010

Today is International Women’s Day. First, I’d like to congratulate Kathryn Bigelow for her historic Oscar win for Best Picture and for Best Director, for The Hurt Locker.

According to Women for Women International, women perform 66% of the world’s work, and produce 50% of the food, but only receive 10% of the income, and own only 1% of property.

Women also suffer disproportionally from the effects of war—women and children account for 75% of civilian casualties. In particular, women are suffering in the continuing conflict in the DRC (Congo); Nicholas D. Kristof of The New York Times has written extensively on the subject, and we cannot thank him enough for bringing attention to these atrocities.

Please sign Women for Women International’s pledge to say no to war, yes to peace and development, and participate in one of the Join Me On The Bridge events if you are able.