Friday, October 23, 2009

World March For Peace

When I first became aware that our planet and all its inhabitants are faced with so many problems that our continued existence is threatened (Yikes! That’s a heavy statement.), I became extremely concerned and a bit full of fear. The first thought to enter my mind was, “What can I do?” Since then, I’ve found sooooooo many different ways to answer that question.

In my early years as an environmentalist, peace activist and budding artist I could only find comfort (or companionship) through others who had become icons: Neil Young, U2, The Tragically Hip, David Suzuki, Al Gore. It seemed like only the real ‘big wigs’ were speaking out and raising awareness. For many years I felt alone with my struggles to enlighten those around me.

NOW!!! You would have to try really, really hard to avoid the swelling of voices ready to take action to ensure the survival of our home… the Earth! Earthday celebrations and tree planting initiatives are becoming more and more popular every year. In the last three years millions of individuals from around the world have united to celebrate Earth Hour as we look for ways to support global ‘green’ energies.

The most recent global peace initiative to take place began on October, 02, 2009… just a few weeks ago. This date is known globally as the International Day of Nonviolence and was thus selected as the kick-off date for the World March For Peace (

This three month long event will see a large group of people ‘the team walkers’ walking around the world… just like the title suggests. Now – it would take over a year (or even two) to walk continuously around the globe, so I’m thinking that the march will be broken down into smaller segments in order to accomplish their goal. Beginning at the most easterly part of the world, New Zealand, the team walkers will navigate through 100 countries to reach their final destination in Argentina. Thousands of events are schedule throughout the world including marches, festivals, exhibits, concerts, forums, conferences and many other cultural and educational events.

A Facebook friend of mine, from British Columbia, thought that this would interest me… and it did. Soon, I was visiting websites and sending out emails asking for information about how Canadians are supporting this effort. Soon, after that, on October 02, I found myself in Kitchener, Ontario to participate in the kick-off event for this world tour.

Marchers were to meet at a downtown café… and I’m glad that we did – I was starving after having left straight from work without any food. A few people were busy moving tables and hanging up posters while I enjoyed a vegetarian pizza (with eggplant) cooked on homestyle pizza bread.

Soon, a small choir consisting of about ten young adults started off the evening. It had been a while since I had heard Elvis Costello’s song ‘What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?’ ( I thought that they were really great!

Since my photos can’t lie, I won’t try to say that there were many people in attendance. In fact, there were only about three people who showed up especially for this event… including me. There were about seven organizers, the choir, another musician, the three participants and one guy who just happened to drop into the café for his dinner. This fact didn’t bother me at all. We were there and that was all that mattered!

About half an hour later our March For Peace began. Our walk was simply a symbolic effort to show support for this global action.

Our walk lasted for about fifteen minutes as we circled around a few blocks in Kitchener’s downtown core.

One of the co-ordinators told me that he was so happy that the choir had decided to join our walk or else we might have looked a little foolish with only six people walking around with a banner.

When we returned to the café, the choir entertained us with a few more songs.

Then the stage was cleared away for another musician. He played his violin and flute for us for the rest of the evening. While he continued to fill this space with delightful melodies, the rest of us created artwork for a very special quilt.

The idea, as I understood it, is that people from around the world would be creating peaceful art on small squares of fabric that would later all be joined to create on massive quilt at the end of ‘the team walkers’ journey in Argentina.

Of course, I had to participate!

We were to use bright and colourful permanent markers to create our artworks.

Just a few minutes later, my design was complete. I figured that this would be an interesting way to introduce my website (with all its links) to many other people so I signed it with ‘’.

Many people from the choir also created artwork for this global quilt. Here are a few of the designs…

The woman who was in charge of the quilt station was also recording greetings of support (in digital video format) that would later be shared with ‘the team walkers’. I thought that this was a brilliant idea… to let the world know that Canada is aware of their effort and that we support them. In my greeting I recited the following poem…

Be peaceful
Be kind
Cuz we can’t rewind

Our actions of today
Are building the histories of tomorrow
Let’s try to build a world
With a little less sorrow

Here is a link to the one-minute video that was created from events from this evening:

There were many, many events happening around the world on this day in support of this global effort.

In Kenya, hundreds of people rallied together and spent part of this day marching for peace.

In Paris, over one thousand people showed up to march for peace. Candles were lit and organizers shaped the crowd to form the international symbol for nonviolence. Quite spectacular! This symbol kind-of looks like a ‘yin & yang’ symbol with an eye in the middle.

This is a link to an online news report from Southern Lucena:

The article shows a picture and talks about the fact that a world record was created on this day in support of this World March For Peace. Students of Lucena numbered over 10 000 and they created the largest human peace symbol in the world! This is a link to the video that shows the construction of this peace symbol:

And, finally, this is a link that shows what happened in Milan, on this same day: Thousands of people all joining in to sing one song that has been opening eyes and healing hearts for close to four decades.

“You may say I’m a dreamer… But, I’m not the only one… I hope someday you’ll join us… and the world will live as one” Thanks John!!!


PS – There is one more event planned for Canada (and the world) to participate in to support this World March For Peace. It is scheduled for November 19, 2009 and it will take place in both Kitchener and Waterloo. There is a walk planned between these two cities – about 4 km – as well as a concert. I am offering a ride to anyone in London – maximum four people – who would like to share a ride to and from this event. If interested, please contact me –

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