Photography Courtesy of the International Tea Sippers Society
Can sipping a cup of tea help create world peace? The organizers of the “Sip for Peace” campaign certainly think so. With the motto, “World Peace One Cup at a Time,” they may very well be right. Babette Donaldson, founder of the International Tea Sippers Society (ITSS), thinks of their upcoming project as tea activism. “We’re pairing tea sipping with a belief that we can eventually end all war,” says Babette. Inspired to counter the current cultural and political divides, she designed a way to mobilize the global tea community with daily, virtual “Sip-Ins” during January, their annual month-of-tea celebration. This will include thousands of tea drinkers sharing the simple practice of visualizing a very different world for our future.
During January 2018, Sip for Peace will send a series of daily e-mails featuring 31 different tea-growing regions along with peace-inspiring reflections by authors and educators in the tea industry. Sip-Ins can be individual participants or groups using teatimes to visualize our world without war. The experience can be a quiet meditation or a party. “In the spirit of John Lennon’s lyrics,” says Babette, “We will imagine all the people living life in peace.” In addition to the e-mail campaign, ITSS will provide social media groups with the hashtag #Sip4Peace, downloadable materials, and suggestions for ways to use the materials—just guidelines, no rules, and no fee. As Babette says, “We can’t charge for world peace. This is about creating a meaningful experience for our global community.” She shares a story and another musical inspiration about an international tea gathering that ended with a karaoke night singing the ’80s classic song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, “We Are the World.” “Tea people already enjoy a large network built on respect for our unique differences,” she explains. Her belief is that the tea community has a vital role to play, translating the experience of tea into the language of peace.