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Thursday, September 22, 2011

EarthView on International Day of Peace

Thirty years ago, the nations of the world -- through the United Nations General Assembly -- voted to designate September 21 of each year as the International Day of Peace. For the past seven years, the day has been celebrated in EarthView's home base of Bridgewater. The recognition of the day has included religious and educational organizations in vigils, parades, concerts, and the annual rededication of a multi-lingual Peace Pole near the center of the town.

The pole is located between the First Parish Church (41° 59' 18" N; 70° 58' 26" W) and the University campus, and carries the message "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in about a dozen languages, each chosen because of particular connection to the community and region. Native speakers of the languages often assist in the ceremony.

Since the Geography Department at Bridgewater State University (then College) acquired EarthView in 2008, the giant globe has also been part of the festivities, being placed on a platform above the pews in the enormous and historic sanctuary of First Parish Church, Unitarian-Universalist. People marveled at the globe, which was a tremendous reminder of the importance of cooperation on a planet that all humans share and of the fact that the planet did not originally come with political boundaries. Dr. Domingo and Dr. Hayes-Bohanan were often on hand to answer questions about EarthView and the planet itself. Dr. Hayes-Bohanan even spent an entire night under EarthView's shadow!
Photo: Tony Esposito
Many visitors expressed a desire, however, to enter EarthView, which after all was designed specifically for this purpose. The entire EarthView Team therefore worked with the Peace Celebration Committee to set up EarthView as part of a five-day series of events. On Wednesday morning, therefore, the actual day designated by the United Nations, EarthView was set up in the Kelly Gym at BSU for the general public to view it, and even to enter it. Several university staff members who had not previously seen EarthView were delighted to have the opportunity, as were about a dozen students in a local home-schooling network.

Track the 50/50 team.
EarthView also had a very special visit from the three remarkable members of Project 50/50, who have dedicated themselves to a lives of full-time service to others. Each week, the team visits a different state of the U.S. to raise awareness of local human needs, and to assist directly in addressing those needs. In this way, Shay, Shane, Rob, and their border collie Zuzu are learning geography every day, and putting that learning to use in the service of others.

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