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Posts Tagged ‘judaism & ecology’

By Yannai Kranzler

What an incredible time to live in: where the best thing a company can do for itself is convince us not only that a product is good, but that it is good for the world.

I just spent a week in New York with my family for the Jewish holidays. Upon arrival, I was greeted with eco-everything, everywhere. “This is what you can do about climate change!” shout radio commercials. “This is what I will do about climate change!” shout presidential candidates. “These apples were grown by local farmers in New York!” shout produce sections at the supermarket.

Even classic foes of the environmental movement are re-marketing themselves for an eco-conscious public. Hybrid SUV’s (and their hardly inspiring 14 miles per gallon) roam suburb streets. “Eco-Shaped” disposable bottles (30% less plastic!) are new homes for bottled spring and mineral water. I call under a year till we see the first solar-powered oil drill.

It’s these pseudo-eco-products that make me the most hopeful, because they signify how vital positive social impact is to today’s successful marketing plans. As in, even if a product really isn’t all that great by social standards, the company has to find some way to claim that it is. Imagine that doing good has become the parameter for being cool!

Hassidic rebbes tell us that even if we don’t feel close to God, if we want to feel close to God it’s still okay. And not only that, but if we want to want to feel close to God, then still, we’re okay. (They actually say that we can have nine degrees of wanting- wanting to want to want to want to want to want to want to want to want to be close to God and still be on a high level.)

The rules between person and person are a bit different than those between person and God, and we’ll have to get better to for things in the world to be better, but the message of the rebbes still applies:

The desires we have to improve are infinite fuel for our actions. Where those desires go, our intelligence, our ingenuity, our science and art, politics and business and learning and doing will most certainly follow.

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