Theme Ride Thursday: World Day of Peace, January 1

In 1967, Pope Paul VI dedicated January 1 as World Day of Peace. It’s a timeless reminder of our duty to nurture, build, and protect tranquility.

“The world must be educated to love Peace, to build it up and defend it.” ~Pope Paul VI

For over 50 years, the world has marked World Day of Peace, a symbol of hope that gains even greater relevance in today’s troubled world. With headlines dominated by conflict in the Middle East and Ukraine, and global anger on the rise, the call for peace is louder than ever.

Napoleon Hill’s words remind us of the power within us: “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Our beliefs shape our reality, leading to a crucial question: Can you picture a world filled with peace? John Lennon’s classic song “Imagine” captures this beautifully:

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamerBut I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine, John Lennon, 76 rpm, 3:07
“Imagine” is the quintessential cool-down song, providing a moment of reflection as you close out your ride. The lyrics encourage us to imagine a world of peace, without materialism, borders, or religion—three factors often at the root of global destabilization and friction.

Every year on January 1, the Holy Father marks the World Day of Peace with a special message inviting all people to reflect on the important work of building peace around the globe. The theme for 2024 is Artificial Intelligence and Peace. In his message, the Pope warns of the risks of AI for peace.

“We have a duty to broaden our gaze and to direct techno-scientific research towards the pursuit of peace and the common good, in the service of the integral development of individuals and communities….

The most advanced technological applications should not be employed to facilitate the violent resolution of conflicts, but rather to pave the way for peace.”
~Pope Francis

The ICA “Peace” bucket playlist currently has about 110 songs. Some songs have peace in the title, while others sing about freedom and harmony like The Beatles’ “Come Together.” It contains other great tracks such as “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace)” by George Harrison; a handful from Michael Franti & Spearhead, including “Show Me Your Peace Sign”; and John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change.” Members can follow that playlist below.

Here are a few of our favorite songs from this playlist.

One Day, Matisyahu, 69 rpm, 3:27
The song expresses hope for an end to violence and a prayer for a new era of peace and understanding. Use it as a climb, building resistance in and out of the saddle as the song progresses.

Peace Train, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, 82 rpm, 4:11
An appropriate entrée to your peace-themed ride. Or, use it for a working flat, holding steady or building resistance gradually over the 4 minutes. The healing power of this song has endured through time.

One Love/People Get Ready, Bob Marley & The Wailers, 76 bpm, 2:52
One love is an expression of unity and inclusion. Use it as a short, fast climb. It can also serve as a recovery song.

Nothing More (feat. Lily Costner), The Alternate Routes, 88 bpm, 3:20
A gentle warm-up or moderate flat. The lyrics are thought-provoking:

We are love, we are one,
we are how we treat each other when the day is done.
We are peace, we are war,
we are how we treat each other and nothing more.

What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye, 202 bpm, 3:53
A perfect warm-up song at 100 rpm. The song is a plea for peace:

Father, father
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer

For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some loving here today.

Love Train, O’Jays, 123 bpm, 2:58
The smooth harmonies made this an enduring get-together peace song, good for climbing at 62 rpm.

One, U2, 181 bpm 4:36
“One” is a love song, but its pleas for connection and understanding eventually go worldwide (“Brothers and sisters, we got to carry each other”). U2’s later live performances upped the ante, with a taped intro from Nelson Mandela. This track is the perfect warm-up; you can also use it as a moderate higher-cadence effort at 91 rpm.

Many more ways to celebrate peace

The United Nations has designated September 21 as the International Day of Peace, providing an additional opportunity for a ride centered on peace if you’re already planning a New Year’s theme for January 1. However, let’s not confine the desire for peace to just these two days—you can host a peace-themed ride any day of the year. The songs in this bucket playlist transcend specific dates and themes; they are equally suitable for fundraising events dedicated to social justice or world peace. Or, if you’re moved to respond to the weight of unsettling current events with a message of peace, you don’t need a whole ride dedicated to it. Check out this playlist for a couple of songs to set the tone at the beginning and end of your next ride.

If you have any other songs for the bucket playlist below that we have missed, let us know in the comments.


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