In the following video, from the Vayehi Or Workshop, Nigel Savage, founder of Hazon, discusses Hazon, Jews, food and Climate Change. Nigel and Hazon have been working with JCI on the Seven Year Plan for the Jewish People on Climate Change and Sustainability, and in this piece, Nigel offers some hopeful and practical tips towards how the Seven Year Plan can be most effective. Enjoy! (And feel welcome, as always, to leave your comments and feedback).
Archive for the ‘Jewish Environmentalism’ Category
Posted in Climate Change, food, Jewish Environmentalism, Religion and Climate Change, Taking Action, tagged alliance for religions and conservation, Climate Change, diaspora, Global Warming, hazon, israel, Jewish Climate Initiative, jewish people, nigel savage, seven year plan, sustainability on April 30, 2009 | 1 Comment »
“For the Jewish community to make a difference on environmental issues, we need brutal honesty to begin with. Jews are now roughly 0.2% of the world’s population; less than the margin of error on the Indian census. If all the Jews in the world recycle their newspapers it will make… pretty much no difference whatsoever. Nor if we put a solar-powered ner tamid in every synagogue, nor, more radically, if every Jew in the world swapped their existing car for a hybrid.”
“Our home planet Earth is undergoing rapid and sustained destruction of its eco-systems… Muslims comprise at least one fifth of the human community and they can contribute much to the thinking that is vital to re-evaluate the future direction of the human community and save its home for itself and other life forms.”
What a difference one fifth of the world could make!
And us Jews? We sure are a little nation, but as history tells us, we have tremendous power to inspire ethical behavior, mobilize social change and spearhead the technology with which to bring that change about.
If our species is to control the ecological crises that we face today, then we’d best focus where we each can help, and filter out where we cannot.
I recently led a session at Green Up Your Campus, a program of Derech Hateva/Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel for gap-year students in Israel beginning college next year, on Sustainability’s “Three R’s,” Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
To introduce the discussion, each member of the group was to list one area of “green” living that they did not want to incorporate into their personal lives, or something they’d much rather not give up in the name of fixing the world.
I spoke about loving new books. The smell, their look on home’s bookshelf, the crispness of new book covers. One girl mentioned long showers. Someone else said he could never give up on driving.
And then we began to analyze: If I really love new books, maybe I can lend them to someone who doesn’t. Perhaps even to the guy who loves driving. And he can give me rides, because I don’t care that much about driving. The long showers girl can be ultra-conservative with water when she washes dishes. Or she can engage in something of a Kyoto Protocol on Hygiene- trading “Shower-water” credits with friends.
Common sense might imply that the more we negate our “Footprint” on the world the better off the world will be. But “Ecology” tells us about ecosystems-relationships between species, many to most of which we are a part. And as any good relationship goes, all sides must contribute of themselves- of what makes them individual- in order for the whole to thrive.
At Jewish Climate Initiative (JCI), we are working to develop the Jewish voice- to channel our collective passion and individual ingenuities to impact our fellow humans, to view our climate of change as an opportunity that begs us to live in a conscious harmony with the universe, its creations and resources.
We invite you to visit us at www.jewishclimateinitiative.org and learn more. The whole climate change thing is pretty terrifying- but we’re an optimistic People, and do not believe we’re given challenges we cannot handle. And if we tackle this one creatively and with a hopeful spirit, it is going to a have a happy ending, and many proud and better people to show for it.
Why a Jewish Climate Initiative? Surely climate change is a global problem? Isn’t everyone today concerned about it?
We spent quite a few late nights and Espressos debating these questions ourselves.
Our answer is that yes, many people are, and we applaud and support their efforts.
But the scale and urgency of the problem requires everyone to play their part. We have barely begun to imagine, let alone make, the immense shifts in individual behavior, government policy and ethical consciousness that will be necessary if we are to avoid dangerous climate change.
We believe that the Jewish people has a large, unique and until now, untapped contribution to make, through its combination of ethical wisdom, scientific and business know-how and activist passion.
Jewish Climate Initiative aims to be a catalyst to mobilize these strengths for the good of our children and of the planet.
Part of what makes our response distinctive lies in recognizing the holistic nature of the climate change crisis. The challenge of global warming requires a marriage of moral and spiritual vision with scientific and entrepreneurial innovation. Neither well-meaning ethical exhortations nor purely technical solutions will be sufficient by themselves.
One of the many things we believe faith-inspired approaches to climate change can offer is hope. Hope is a scarce resource in the current climate change discourse. Al Gore observes in “An Inconvenient Truth” that many have passed straight from denial that climate change is a problem to despair that we can do anything about it, without passing through an intermediate stage of hope.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks argues that hope is a distinctively (though not exclusively) religious virtue. It is not the same as optimism. Optimism is the belief that things will get better. Hope is the belief that together we can make them better.
We hope that you’ll send us your thoughts, responses and suggestions so that together we can help make things better for our children and grandchildren.