World Peace Day Thoughts

The Peace Lanterns Festival at Gantry Plaza State Park.

Because of pandemic safety considerations, we agreed with NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to not host a Peace Lanterns Festival this year. Please instead accept these words of peace from our co-producers and partners. 

“On this UN International Day of Peace we HarborLAB volunteers reaffirm our  deeply held and scientifically validated guiding principle that peace relies on a healthy global environment. Unchecked climate chaos will bring water wars and refugee crises. Responsibly used science will bring water wealth, sustainable and cruelty-free food choices and energy options that lift us out of fossil fuel dependence. HarborLAB volunteers work toward peace by helping people, especially the young, to derive lessons from billions of years of evolution and to recognize that this legacy of a living world must be justly shared. 

We look forward to holding our Peace Lanterns Festival in person again at Gantry Plaza State Park as usual next year. As a STEM education organization, we note that such a return to health and normalcy will be achieved thanks to those who act with compassion and in accordance with evidence by masking and receiving vaccinations to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Erik Baard
Founder and Executive Director 
Co-Producer of the annual Peace Lanterns Festival

“On this year’s International Peace Day, I would like to bring your attention to the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Nuclear Weapons, which has been signed by 86 countries and ratified by 55 countries, and came into effect on January 22 this year. Though nations that possess nuclear weapons have not signed it, it is time to start eliminating nuclear weapons before they greatly damage our planet. If just one of the 13,000 nuclear weapons were used, even accidentally, it could explode with more power than up to 5,000 of the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In a spiritual sense, may we nurture our mind-eyes to see the preciousness of all lives regardless of our tastes,  likes and dislikes, friends and enemies, without discrimination.  May all beings be happy, well and peaceful.”

Rev. Toshikazu Kenjitsu Nakagaki, DMin
Founder and President
Heiwa Peace and Reconciliation Foundation of New York
Co-Producer of the annual Peace Lanterns Festival

“On this International Day of Peace, the 2.4 million residents of Queens renew our hope for an end to conflict and for the successful resolution of all issues that lead to conflict, including environmental crises such as global warming and health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Our borough’s diverse communities unite with the world in calling for all nations to work together in peace to build a more sustainable future.”

The Honorable Donovan Richards
Queens Borough President

“With a singular view of the United Nations from across the East River, Gantry Plaza State Park offers tranquil repose in quiet celebration of the value of our natural world. We thank the community and all our partners for appreciation of the critical importance of the environment to our health and overall peace of mind.”

Leslie Wright
NYC Regional Director
NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation