Archive for March 11th, 2008

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.

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