On 6 June 1987 World Environment Day, we are shown at the UN a wonderful film: “A Thousand Cranes,” the moving story of the cooperation between American and Russian environmentalists to save a rare breed of Siberian cranes. The film was sponsored by Lufthansa which displays the graphic crane on all its planes, and which transported the eggs of the cranes between the two countries.
The film tells that the oriental children believe that if they make one thousand paper cranes, their life will be blessed with happiness. The picture is shown of a Japanese girl wounded at Hiroshima who made a little more than 100 cranes before her death. Her friends finished the thousand cranes and erected a monument to her.
The following morning when I woke up, a sad truth flashed through my mind: during the fortieth anniversary of the UN in 1985, American children sent me several boxes with a thousand paper cranes they had made, but I had understood their true message.
They were not only a happy birthday gift to the UN but also a personal message to me, asking me to my own thousand cranes for peace. Therefore, I seized a notebook and wrote on it: “one thousand cranes for peace”, to record in it, every day, my actions for peace and a better world. After a month I discovered to my dismay that I had taken only 60 actions for peace, i.e. a mere average if two a day, while I lived under the illusion that I worked for peace all the time!
It is as if a peasant would sow into the fields only two seeds a day! It would take me a year and a half to reach one thousand cranes of peace. My only consolation was that some of my cranes had reached people who in turn released their own cranes of peace. Some of them even started their own notebook, “One Thousand Cranes of Peace”, writing to congressmen, to newspapers or to other people—, joining a local peace group or the UN Association, promoting peace in their family, in their community, in their profession, through their religion or through many other means.
I sent one of my cranes to Lufthansa, suggesting that institutions and firms should also start their own One Thousand Cranes of Peace. Lufthansa could keep a record of it’s own, adding many more cranes to the one it released by sponsoring the remarkable film we saw. How wonderful it would be if all organizations, institutions, firms, religions, communities, cities, villages, associations, professions, families and last but not least 6.2 billion people of this planet one do at least one thousand cranes for peace during their life. It could change the course of history.
At the end of July 1987 I reached a total of 97 cranes for peace, and thereafter did not continue to keep track of them. But this great idea was revived on 11 June 1994 when my future second wife, Barbara Gaughen. After the death of my first beloved wife Margarita, pointed out to an audience om Santa Barbara that there remained exactly 2000 days to the first of January 2000. Anyone who would write down one idea a day would reach 2000 on that date!
Remembering the cranes of peace, I exclaimed: “I will do it!” I did and this time I did not give up. I reached 2500 ideas on January 2002 and continued until July 2002 when I reached a total of 5000! They are called Ideas and Dreams of a Better World. Many of them were implemented. They are available in eleven volumes of 5000 ideas each and an index. As of June 2002 4000 of them were on the Internet website: www.robertmuller.org The remaining 1000 will soon follow.
Please dear readers, write down your cranes for peace and a better world. They will bring much happiness.