On March 20th 1998, 8.55 PM, for the third time Earth Day was observed
at the United Nations in Vienna. A small but dedicated Community gathered
at the Vienna UN plaza and after speeches by Kurt Waldheim, Franz Nahrada
and the Deputy Director General of United Nations Office in Vienna the
peace bell was rung. At the End of the ceremony, opera singer Dorte Holst
and her friends performed an ancient Hymn to the Earth in Sanskrit.
1997: Vienna Celebration of a Global Moment
Last year, on March 20th 1997, the Peace Bell at the UN inVienna was rung at 8.55 Eastern Standard Time, which is 2.55 Vienna Time. This is the report:
Viennas Peace Bell has been donated to the VIC in 1995 by Japanese Associations,
and this year the Gifu Sakura Association of Japan has donated Cherry trees
to grow around the Peace Bell. Young Civic Ambassadors of the Drug Abuse
Prevention Center of Japan will be present in a ceremony during the 40th
Comission on Narcotic Drugs taking place in Vienna. And in the spirit of
"kyo-sei" (work together), United Nations Office at Vienna has agreed with
the permanent mission of Japan to include the observance of Spring Equinox
as the moment to ring the Peace Bell also in Vienna, a tradition which
was started last year also in Vienna by JohnMcConnell.
The Viennese representatives of information
habitat, a small NGO with the purpose of enhancing global communication
for individual and community empowerment, are assisting UNOV and the Earth
Society Foundation to build local support for Earth day and thus also deepen
the understanding for the work of the United Nations global network and
the cooperation with local people and institutions. We believe that the
United Nations are going to play an increasingly valuable role as a global
communication network for sustainability and empowerment of people, which
strengthens the ties of cooperation, best practices exchange and the dramatic
improvement of local problem-solving capacities. The symbolic act of ringing
the Peace Bell should always be followed by heartfelt action and manifest
steps in this direction.
In the course of the event, Ms. Minoo Fararooei from information habitat will give a short speech about Earth Day (see annex below) in the place of John Mc Connell, who will participate in the NY celebration " towards a culture of peace sustainability, equitable development, human rights and responsibilities, justice, forgiveness, friendship, compassion, wisdom and peace"
Sakura (Cherry Tree) Info
"The cherry blossom is the flower of flowers to the Japanese people. It is a native flower, and the blossoms have been loved more than 10 centuries. The people love to see not only the single petal cherry blossoms in their prime and freshness, they also relish the beauty of falling snowy petals in the spring breeze. Of all flowers, the cherry blossoms appeal most to the aesthetic taste of the Japanese people. The Japanese people would never have been essentially so jubilant, cheerful, optimistic and youthful were it not for the beauty of the cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms have been the theme of songs and poems since time immemorial, and have played an important role in molding the Japanese character." (http://mothra.rerf.or.jp/ENG/Hiroshima/Festivals/38.html)
Related Events and Readings
Earth Day 1997 speech of Minoo Fararooei
Earth Day 1997 speech of Minoo Fararooei
Dear participants in this celebration,
The vernal equinox is the time when the sun crosses the equator, making the night and day of equal length in all parts of the earth. This equality could symbolise the equality of all residents of the earth and their equal rights to its abundant wealth.
Today we celebrate the interdependence of all living things within the natural world and humanity1s relation with Earth (man1s only home).
For thousands of years, many cultures in a way or another have had traditions to celebrate the resurrection of nature and renewal of life in spring. Linking these traditions to a common celebration of global unity might be a significant step to bridge the gaps of distrust and separation among the people of the world. This is a natural date, not artificially prescribed by anyone but offered by Mother Earth herself. At this point I would like to convey to you the best wishes of Mr. John McConnell (the founder of the Earth Day), the man who brought the historic significance of this day to an international attention. This moment simultaniously is celebrated at the United Nations in New York , where, in a couple of minutes, his excellency Mr. Razali Ismail, President of the UN General Assembly, will ring the bell at 8.56 Eastern Standard Time, which is 2.56 Vienna Time. Of course, this occasion is observed in many other places in the world, I just mention the University of Peace in Costa Rica.
As we look at many cultures , the making and the usage of the bell has always been considered a sacred act, for which the substance had to come from sacred land, while the melting of the substance by fire symbolised the source of purity, and the moulding of this substance was required to be done by spiritual people of great souls. The vibration created by the bell will flow into the air which brings it all around our globe, by the element vital for human living, the air that we breathe.
Symbolically, both peace bells at the UN in New York and Vienna, have been dedicated by associations and institutions from Japan (with the heartfelt contribution of children of many nations of the world). What makes this celebration special, is the fact that it coincides with the wonderful occasion of the young ambassadors of Japan visiting UNDCP (United Nations International Drug Control Programme), who oppose the destruction of human mind and spirit by narcotics and drugs, and also the connected action of planting cherry trees, a gift to the UN Vienna of Gifu Sakura Association.
Let us consider the roots of these cherry trees - which were planted a week ago around the Peace Bell, symbols of peace and friendship, a conformation of our unity as human family, our belonging to one home, (the planet Earth) and our hope of peace and prosperity for all.
Among terms which have been used to indicate social and environmental responsibility, the term Earth Trustee. originating from Earth Day, offers a door to global community. At the United Nations and among its member states, the term has come to mean "Individuals and institutions that are devoted to peace, justice and the care of the Earth and its People". The human mind is essential for the creation of a Global Brain, and those who prevent its destruction, really act as Earth Trustees.
With the ringing of the Peace Bell, let us wish the coming true of a vision of human empowerment - that means changing the old charity way of helping needy people to the realisation of the endless untapped potential, existing within every individual. Let us create connectedness to our inner self, each other and the earth, remembering that we can only live up to our full self when we take responsibility for the whole.
Let us also, with salute, remember the recognition and proclamation of the Earth Day, by Secretary General U Thant. And also remember the words from president John F. Kennedy in his speech at the United Nations on September 25, 1961 as he said: 3Never the nations of the world had so much to lose or so much to gain. Together, we shall save our planet, or together we shall perish in its flames. Save it we can -save it we must-and then we earn the eternal thanks of mankind and as peace makers, the eternal blessing of God." With these words, let me invite Mr. Giorgo Giacomelli, Director General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, (after a moment of silence) to ring the bell simultaneously with the president of the General Assembly in New York.
(silence until 2.56 PM Vienna time)
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