Message for Earth Day UN Ceremony, March 20, 2003

By John McConnell, Earth Day Founder

Earth Day: Crisis and Opportunity.

The purpose of Earth Day, founded 33 years ago, was to further "peace, justice and the care of Earth."  We have an amazing planet and with our new technology can provide a wonderful future for the human family.

On this Earth Day we face a great challenge.  President Bush has chosen this time to initiate a great war that could trigger reciprocal violence and use of diabolical weapons.  Terrorists are now able to produce dirty bombs and germ warfare.  The weak can now destroy the powerful.  The Bush policy is to have the mightiest military and control the world.  But his actions may unleash global catastrophe.

It is time for peacemakers around the world to unite in a global effort to demonstrate the power of faith, love and prayer to bring peaceful resolution of conflict in this time of global crisis.  Let us remember the great peacemakers of the past and take heart from their achievements.

When the UN Peace Bell rings, the Franciscans and others will be ringing bells around the world.  This is the moment when Spring begins and a symbol of new life and a new beginning.  Wherever you are, make this a time of silent prayer and dedication to work for peaceful progress on our planet.  And follow it by action.

Together, we can avoid the turn toward war and see a global turn toward peace.

"The ultimate weakness of violence it that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.  Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.  Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate.  In fact, violence merely increases hate. . .

'Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.  Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

Martin Luther King, Jr.