Earth Day /
Earth Day2014







Earth Day 2014 (Franz Nahrada)

Vienna, 20th of March, 2014

Dear friends of Earth Day,

Today is also supposed to be the International Day of Happiness. We wanted to closely connect the idea of Earth Day - as John McConnell conceptualised it - with this new prominent date. This seemed to be a natural match. The International Day of Happiness comes from Bhutan, and the idea of "gross national happiness" could easily be translated into "gross global happiness": We should thereby measure our progress as societies not in the amount of money earned or spent. Money is also earned for things like war and weapons, wear and wastage. So progress should rather be measured by the real enjoyment of life. John would have loved this. His Earth Day Vision meant that we all are meant to share the immense bounties of this planet, and that Earth could be like a loving mother if we learn not only to respect her, but if we care for this planet as a commons, together.

In the past weeks and months, it seems the political disruptions and confrontations have grown to dimensions which render the dream of global happiness, peace, justice and care for the earth small and irrelevant. It is not the first time that we come to the peace bell while actual or potential belligerent violence is having its heyday.

Is the vision of a planet on which people, nations, religions live together in an integrated manner, understand their mutual dependencies and work for the common good, a merely utopian dream? Are people and nations increasingly falling again into the trap of one-agains-the-other thinking? Are they bound to be trapped in entirely different perceptions of reality, that cannot be bridged or connected any more? Do we still need to refuge to particularities, to those values, leaders, powers that pretend to protect us one against the other, but in the end protect nothing else than their own power?

In these days, that is how it seems. We are confronted again with an enormous drawback for all who desire global unity in diversity and the end of violence. The situation seems awkward. How do we find find common ground to understand that there are bigger issues that affect the future of all of us ?

This is where Earth Day comes in. It is not a political movement, it refuses to attack or accuse, It does not promote an agenda. It is simply a sign, a gesture, soft but clear. A sign that can be given from any point, angle or perspective. A sign that there is something that surpasses all national pride, all cultural affiliation, all groupthink. The outer shell of our existence holds us all together, and we better understand that it really, really, really connects us. And that it is the potential source of unending happiness, if we just realized. That is what makes us come here, thats why we ring the bell: because we want that message to be heard.

Your participation

If you definitely want to join us on March 20, 2014, at the Vienna International Center for the annual Earth Day peace bell ringing, please send a mail with subject "Earth Day" to f.nahrada@reflex.at the latest Friday, march 15th. Only preregistered guests can enter the UN premises. Please include your name, your date of birth and your nationality. And a telephone number. Personal remarks welcome. We will meet no later than 17:00 inside the VIC gate.estimating 30 minutes for security clearance. And then, please dont forget your passport!

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