Sometimes, it's easy to forget that, as depressing as world news can be sometimes — with so many hotspots for conflict and violence — that we can take action to try and help stop it. It might not always be effective, but by celebrating and promoting peace, we can collectively take a small step forward toward progress and justice.
Today, September 21, is the International Day of Peace. "Peace Day" was established in 1981 by a unanimous UN resolution, sponsored by Costa Rica and the United Kingdom.
As the #InternationalDayOfPeace website notes, "Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace."
The resolution calls for a "day of global ceasefire and non-violence."
But let's also note that humans are not the only ones who benefit from non-violence.
First, when it comes to human conflict, wildlife often suffer the consequences.
As PBS reported earlier this year, "During times of war, wild animals are more likely to be hunted or displaced from their natural habitat by humans seeking shelter. Rates of ivory poaching goes up and animal reproduction declines."
Moving Giants knows this all too well, as the 200 elephants that will be moved to Mozambique as part of our translocation initiative will be part of a re-wilding effort, to replace the animals that were virtually wiped out in that country's 15-year civil war.
John Daskin, a Yale a conservation ecologist who studied Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, told PBS that, "“Everything that you normally think of on an African Savannah — elephants, buffaloes, zebra, wildebeest and a bunch of antelope species — was in this park, which lost well over 95 percent of its wildlife during this time.”
Second, the spirit of Sustainable Development Goal 16 — Peace and Justice (#SDG16) — could and should be extended to other species. African elephants are being killed at what some estimate is a rate of 96 a day. And tomorrow, September 22, is noteworthy on that it is also both World Rhino Day (#WorldRhinoDay) and Elephant Appreciation Day (#ElephantAppreciationDay) -- two days to celebrate species that are consistently being slain for their horns and tusks respectively. The International Day of Peace should certainly be extended to include them.
One of the world's most steadfast and vocal leaders for peace among all species is Dr. Jane Goodall, who has made a recent tradition of releasing a video message every year on the International Day of Peace. In "Dr. Jane Goodall's Message for #PeaceDay 2018" released this morning, she notes that, "We can move towards a world where we live in harmony with nature."