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A Global Gathering?

Could global millennium events tap into the worldwide yearning for a hopeful future? What can Earth Day 1990 tell us about the possibilities of ...

The symbolic power of the year 2000 provides a unique opportunity for the diverse millennial celebrations all over the globe to grow together and create a network devoted to real change.

As one of two international coordinators for Earth Day 1990, I learned first-hand how such a global network could be established. Nine months before Earth Day, armed only with telephones, fax machines, and the US Postal Service, we started sending environmentalists in various countries Denis Hayes' invitation to join “the biggest environmental event in human history.”

The initial response was very modest – a dozen grassroots groups from as many countries. We followed up with phone calls and faxes (few had e-mail). Eventually, a battery of volunteers joined us in making calls through the night to colleagues as soon as the sun was up in their part of the world.

The response was phenomenal. Over the months, the number of participating groups grew exponentially to include thousands of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and average citizens.

Earth Day was the inspiration for thousands of projects around the world that contributed to a better planet. For example, local governments in an area of the Philippines collaborated with local businesses to help clean up a river. A group from Africa printed our message, “Who says one person can't make a difference?” on homemade parchment.

Local groups saw that they were not alone in their struggles. People used the Earth Day newsletter to connect with other groups on other continents. The local activism got the attention of national governments that wanted to be a part of it. Instead of an order from the top down, this was a call to action from the ground up – from the people.

This grassroots movement swelled to become the largest peace and environmental event in history. On Earth Day 1990, more than 200 million people in 131 countries actively participated. Suddenly, environmentalism was back on the world political radar screens after more than a decade of neglect.

One of the key outcomes of all this activity was that the global environmental community began to link together in ways they never had before. These links were an important preparation for the Earth Summit two years later in Rio de Janeiro. Because many of these groups already knew each other, they were able to quickly go beyond a grand “let's-get-acquainted” session to make a major impact on the Earth Summit agenda.

Once again, momentum is building toward global celebrations that could help transform how we all live on the Earth. The millennium could again tap into the worldwide yearning to be part of bringing about a better world. The following are just a few of the many people and organizations who are preparing to fulfill that promise.


Mark Duboisis developing a network of people who want to connect with the Earth and with each other. Contact him at: Worldwise, 401 San Miguel, Sacramento, CA 95819; 916/456-9205; E-mail: bankreform@igc.apc.org


Global Networks and Events

The Millennium Institute
is collaborating with hundreds of organizations and communities around the world on millennium activities aimed at achieving a sustainable future. Their web site is the place to get the latest on what's happening. Here is a sampling of the Institute's major initiatives:

• The Millennium Alliance, a coalition of individuals and groups calling for peace, justice and sustainability.

• Threshold 21, a computer model that projects the effects of economic development plans on natural resources, the environment, quality of life, and national economies, for 50 years into the future.

• A World Millennium Observance planned for July 2000 in Reykjavik and nearby Thingvellir, Iceland, birthplace of one of the world's earliest democracies. Leaders from religion, education, media, government, and business will forge alliances and develop an agenda for a sustainable future. A ceremony will be held in which people will offer their millennium gifts. (See page 34.)

Contact Gerald Barney or Philip Bogdonoff, Millennium Institute, 1117 N. 19th St., Suite 900, Arlington, VA 22209 USA; 703/841-0048; Fax 703/841-0050; E-mail:
millennium@igc.apc.org; Web: www.millenniuminstitute.net/

EARTH DAY 2000
Denis Hayes, organizer of Earth Day 1970 and 1990, is planning an even larger and more powerful event for the year 2000. He hopes to enlist millions of people in 150 countries. The distinctive features of the campaign at this early stage are:

• the creation of a global environmental agenda demanding specific international actions and policies in fields such as energy, population, and toxics.

• a grassroots approach that facilitates organizers around the world working to produce local and national green campaigns compatible with their cultures and relevant to their most pressing problems.

• a commitment to empower thousands of environmental activists around the world with modern information technology.

The effort will be headquartered in Seattle, but Hayes plans to build a highly decentralized organization. The two-year campaign will formally kick off on Earth Day 1998.

Contact Denis Hayes, Bullitt Foundation, 1212 Minor Ave., Seattle, WA 98101 USA, 206/343-0807; Fax 206/343-0822; E-mail: dhayes@bullitt.org; Web:www.bullitt.orgor www.earthday.net(as of April 22, 1998)

The Millennium Project
is dedicated to research, learning, and dialogue that fosters a sustainable, compassionate, and creative future. Its 1997 publications include a guide for study, dialogue, and action called Global Consciousness Change: Indicators of an Emerging Paradigm and a book on harnessing the power of a global vision called Collective Consciousness and Cultural Healing.

Contact Duane Elgin, Millennium Project, PO Box 2449, San Anselmo, CA 94960 USA; Web: www.awakeningearth.org

Project Global 2000
is a partnership among UN agencies and non-governmental organizations designed to achieve wide-ranging participation in shaping global systems of peace, economic well-being, and ecological balance. Councils on Business and Employment, Communications, Education, Health, Religion, and Youth enable individuals from around the world to cooperate on objectives beyond the reach of individual organizations.

Contact Global Education Associates, 475 Riverside Dr., Suite 1848, New York, NY 10115 USA; 212/870-3290; Fax: 212/870-2729; E-mail: gea475@igc.apc.org; Web: www.globaleduc.org/

Biopolitics International Organization
is planning the first “Bios Olympiad, January 2000” in Athens, Greece. This will be a political and cultural event encompassing all possible achievements of humanity – physical, mental, and spiritual. BIO encourages a transition from an anthropocentric to a biocentric view of our life on Earth. Anyone may make a deposit into their ‘'Bank of Ideas'' on environmental issues (see web site below).

Contact Dr. Agni Vlavianos-Arvanitis, BIO, 10 Tim. Vassou Str., 115 21 Athens, GREECE; Tel: 30 1/64 32 419. E-mail: bio@leon.nrcps.ariadne-t.gr

The Great Millennium Peace Ride
is a global bicycle trek around the world. Starting from Vancouver, BC, in August 1998, approximately 500 bicyclists representing 197 countries will circle the globe together, educating for peace and sustainability along the way. They will arrive in Sydney, Australia on January 1, 2000.

Contact Jean-Francois Camson, The Great Millennium Peace Ride, PO Box 3686, Tucson, AZ 85722 USA; 502/798-1170; E-mail: gmprnet@ aol.com

Millennium Assembly/Millennium Forum
A special session of the UN's General Assembly – including heads of state and non-governmental organizations – will meet in 2000 to articulate a clear vision and action plan for the world. Modeled after similar summits such as The Women's Conference in Beijing and The Earth Summit in Rio, the Millennium Forum will integrate these visions and action plans into the first virtual Global Teach-In. A central topic will be how to implement the specific commitments (including Agenda 21) made during past summits.

Contact Jonathan Granoff, Lawyers Alliance for World Security, #612, 401 City Ave., Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 USA; 610/668-5470; Fax: 610/668-5455

Millennium People's Assembly
has been proposed to parallel the UN special assembly (see above) to give ordinary citizens a voice. Some organizers hope to establish a permanent people's assembly, with popularly elected national representatives who have no official ties to their respective governments.

Milenio
an international peace festival, will take place from December 27, 1999 to January 2, 2000 in Costa Rica, hosted by the University for Peace and the national government. The festival will combine a working peace conference with international music and dance, films, an interfaith service, and art to highlight successful peace actions. The goal is to globalize the grassroots movement for peace, justice, and sustainability. Milenio plans to reconvene every five years with an “Olympics for Peace.''

Contact Catherine Margarin, Milenio, 163 Fairmount St., San Francisco, CA 94131 USA; 415/206-0262; Fax: 415/206-9620; or 510/649-1937 (Attn.: Mary Granfors); E-mail: milenio@igc.apc.org; Web:

Millennium Symposium on Spirituality and Governance
will bring together spiritual and political leaders from both international and grassroots levels, with proposed satellite hookups to local meeting sites. The dialogue, which will take place on April 27-30, 2000 in Washington, DC, will seek spiritually-based solutions for social problems.

Contact Corinne McLaughlin, The Center for Visionary Leadership, 3408 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20016; 202/237-2800; Fax: 202/237-1399; E-mail: cvldc@visionarylead.org

Or Neale Donald Walsch, Recreation Foundation, PO Box 3547, Central Point, OR 97502; 541/734-7222; E-mail: recreating@ aol.com

Whidbey Institute
will host the “Chautauqua for the New Millennium: Earth, Spirit, and the Human Future” – three week-long interactive gatherings with leading thinkers and activists intended to provide tools for sustainable living. The chautauqua will be the last three weeks in July 1999, on Whidbey Island, WA. Organizations invited so far include The Institute for Deep Ecology, The Lindisfarne Association, the Center for Respect for the Environment, the Interfaith Center, and others.

Contact Kay Meier, Whidbey Institute, PO Box 57, Clinton, WA 98236 USA; 360/341-1884; E-mail: whidinst @whidbey.com; Web: www.whidbeyinstitute.org

Pole to Pole 2000
An expedition that will carry millennium gifts from people around the world from the North Pole to the South Pole. (See page 34)

Contact Martyn Williams, 1704-B, Llano St., Suite 137, Santa Fe, NM 87505; E-mail: martyn@trail.com

World Wildlife Fund
The World Wildlife Fund encourages individuals and communities to give millennium gifts. (See page 34.)

Contact WWF, Avenue du Mont-Blanc, CH-1196, Gland, SWITZERLAND; Tel: +41 22 364 91 11; Web: www.wwf.org


Peace

Abolition 2000
is a citizen's network to negotiate a treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons by the year 2000. With more than 860 organizations in 74 countries, the coalition is encouraging people to distribute and sign the Abolition Statement, urge local leaders to adopt the resolution, and promote the sunflower as a symbol of a world free of nuclear weapons.

Contact Abolition 2000, c/o Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 1187 Coast Village Rd., Suite 123, Santa Barbara, CA 93108 USA; 805/965-3443; Fax: 805/568-0466; E-mail: wagingpeace@napf.org; Web: www.abolition2000.org/

Appeal of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
Twenty Nobel Peace Prize winners have asked for support from all UN nations to declare 2000 the “Year of Education for Non-Violence” and the first decade of the millennium “The Decade for the Culture of Non-Violence.”

Contact Pierre Marchand, BP 20797, 60207 Compiegne Cedex 2, FRANCE; Fax: 33 3/ 44 86 3907; E-mail: partage@wanadoo.fr; Web: www.nobelweb.org/

World Peace 2000
So far, 12 nations have pledged support for World Peace Day, January 1, 2000, a global day of armistice.
Contact Bob Silverstein, 609/443-5786; E-mail: PforPEACE@aol.com

The One Day Foundation
started by a group of high school students in 1994, is working to make January 1, 2000 One Day in Peace. They are working with the United Nations General Assembly and Youth Assembly in 1998 to create a global youth movement that will inspire youth to become active participants in shaping the future.

Contact Benjamin Quinto, One Day Foundation, Inc., PO Box 1052, Sedona, AZ 86339 USA; 800/580-9350; Fax: 520/204-1216; E-mail: oneday@ sedona.net


Religion

Invocations for a New Millennium
is collecting visions, prayers, and reflections from 1,000 spiritual, political, cultural and indigenous leaders from around the world to welcome humanity's entrance into the next millennium. The result will be a sequel to the book, Earth Prayers, one of the most widely used sources of inspiration and wisdom at spiritual, social, and environmental gatherings.

Contact Elizabeth Roberts or Elias Amidon, Invocations for a New Millennium, 1314 Eighth St., Boulder, CO 80302 USA; 303/939-8398; Fax: 303/447-2253

Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions
is cooperating with the Millennium Institute to encourage a convergence of purpose among the world's religions and to invite them to create projects in service to the world. It is broadening and deepening a process begun in 1893 at the World Columbian Exposition, and celebrated again at a 1993 Parliament of the World's Religions, both in Chicago. The 1999 conference will be held the first week of December in Cape Town, South Africa.

Contact Laurie Estes, CPWR, PO Box 1630, Chicago, IL 60690 USA; 312/629-2990;
Fax: 312/629-2991; E-mail: spiritcpwr@aol.com. Further information may be found at Millennium Institute's web site: www.cpwr.org

Jubilee 2000
Religious groups are calling for the abolition of outstanding Third World debt. (See page 22.)

Contact Ann Pettifor, PO Box 100, London, SE1 7RT UK; 44 171/620-4444; Fax: 44 171/620 0719; E-mail: j2000@gn.apc.org


Media

The Millennium Celebration
worldwide broadcast expects to reach the largest television audience of all time – roughly 2.5 billion viewers. It will begin at midnight, December 31, 1999, and continue around the world for 24 hours through January 1, 2000, coordinating televised celebrations from around the globe. Producer Hal Uplinger is known for the broadcast of “Live Aid,'' a 1985 concert that raised $127 million for African famine relief. The broadcast will celebrate world heroes/heroines of the past 1,000 years.

Contact Jennifer Langlois, Uplinger Enterprises, 930 Third St., Suite 303, Santa Monica, CA 90403 USA; 310/829-7886

Talk 2000
is an interactive electronic magazine providing a global town-hall discussion on the new millennium and its potential. Talk 2000's web site links major organizations, books, and ideas on the millennium.

Contact Jay Gary, PO Box 1777, Colorado Springs, CO 80901 USA; 719/636-2000; E-mail: talk2000@rmii.com


Youth

War Child/Fleet 2000
is a charity and sailing voyage for youth from all nations. The fleet will depart from London in June 2000 during the London Millennium Maritime Festival and complete a circumnavigation of the globe in September 2002. The plan is for 12 ships underwritten by 12 cities to link world youth and cultures.

Contact Fleet 2000 Ltd., 57, South Lambeth Road, London SW8 IRH, England; Tel: 44 0/171 793 1882; War Child, 7/12 Greenland St., London NWI 0ND, England; Tel: 44 0/171 916 9276; E-mail:
mir@warchild.demon.co.uk

Peace Child International
will host a Children's Earth Summit on the eve of the millennium (October 1999), climaxing their worldwide education program on sustainability imperatives and technologies.

Contact David Woolcombe, Peace Child International, Buntingford, The White House, Herts SG9 9AH UK; 44 176/327 4459; Fax: 44 176/327 4460; E-mail: 100640.3551@compuserve.com;

Catalyst
is planning “Rethinking the Millennium,” a three-day event that encourages youth to work for a sustainable future. (See page 21.)

Contact Catalyst, 1718 P St. NW, #305, Washington DC 20036 USA; Tel./Fax: 202/986-3230; E-mail: catalyst@igc.org;


National and regional programs

The White House Millennium Program
will celebrate the accomplishments of “America,'' via television commercials and by connecting libraries and classrooms to the Internet. The program will encourage the idea of leaving “millennium gifts'' for future generations. The First Lady will award the title “Millennium Community'' for the most imaginative programs.

Contact The White House Millennium Program, 708 Jackson Place, Washington DC 20503 USA; E-mail: millennium@ whitehouse.gov;

Millennium Council
is making plans for Canada's national observance of the millennium.

Contact David Wolfson, national coordinator, Toronto; Web: www.2000.ca

Millennium Foundation of Canada
encourages individuals, schools, and community groups to create special projects and legacies to mark the year 2000, among them ‘'wills for the Earth'' – financial bequests to environmental organizations.

Contact The Millennium Foundation of Canada, 330 E. Seventh Ave., Suite 104, Vancouver, BC V5T 4K5 CANADA, 604/708-3474; E-mail: nvbentum@cyberstore.ca; Web: www.millennia.org

Commission of Britain
The UK government has designated a part of the national lottery proceeds to fund major capital building projects such as The Earth Centre in Yorkshire and Bikeways for the Millennium, a 6,500-mile network of bikepaths utilizing old rail lines, canal towpaths, and other derelict lands. The Millennium Commission also plans a festival at Greenwich.

Contact Bikeways for the Millennium at Sustrans, 35 King St., Bristol, UK BS1 4DZ.

Contact The Millennium Commission at Portland House, Stag Place, London SW1E 5EZ, England; 01 71/880-2001; Fax: 880-2000;


Kathy Ries, Rick Feher, Mark Dubois, Craig Bond, Julie Didion, Scott Morris, and Tracy Rysavy collaborated in researching and writing this article.

 

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