March 20, 2001, will provide the first celebration of Earth Day in the New Millennium. Beginning in 1970 in San Francisco, the city named after St. Francis, it obtained the support of United Nations Secretary General U Thant in 1971 and has continued there each year. Participation now includes many parts of the world.
On Earth Day we invite people worldwide to join in silent prayer when we ring the UN Peace Bell. This occurs at the moment Spring begins - Nature's symbol of new life and renewal. This is the perfect day to inspire actions for peace, justice and the care of Earth - with loving words, programs and inspiring music.
The first Earth Day in the New Millennium offers the greatest opportunity in history to end humanity's long record of fear and fighting. While differences will continue, they can be greatly reduced by one great day of Earth On Earth Day, March 20, 2001, the Peace Bell at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City will ring at exactly 8:31 A. M. EST, marking the beginning of Spring. This will be followed by two minutes of silent prayer or meditation. Bells will ring simultaneously in many parts of the world. The UN Peace Bell will ring in Vienna, Austria at precisely 2:31 P.M. (local time).
The Spring Equinox is a special moment of God's Creation when day and night are equal all over the world. The beginning of Spring symbolizes a new beginning -- and our planet needs a new beginning. It's the perfect time for global dedication to the stewardship of our planet - to peace, justice and the care of Earth.
New technology and global communications now make it possible to spread good ideas and actions worldwide. Now is the time to mobilize the whole world in a Moral Equivalent of War that will reduce and eventually eliminate the hate, fear and ignorance that causes injustice, strife, poverty and pollution.
You, more than anyone, can get the needed attention to make this a new beginning in the new millennium. We must put the past behind us: humble ourselves, repent of past sins and clear the way for vigorous actions to rejuvenate our planet and invigorate its people. Here is a chance for people of faith to prove the value of their belief in a future life by what they do in this life.
Your Holiness, many of my friends and me are praying that you will publicly call on the world to celebrate this year's Earth Day. A strong statement by you that you request people of all creeds and cultures to join in observance of Earth Day on March 20, would obtain the attention needed.
With deep respect for your life and work,