BOSTON – Following an international scientific body’s grim prediction for the future of Planet Earth, Jewish scientists and researchers in the Boston area and the North Shore shared their thoughts on the dire forecast.
On Aug. 9, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a part of the UN, released its latest findings in the Sixth Assessment Report, which stated that it is likely that global warming will increase by 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius in the coming decades. The report linked this to global warming caused by humans, principally through the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, and cited already-record temperatures and extreme weather events that may become more dramatic.
How did Ekar Farm go from being a small urban farm project on the Denver Academy of Torah’s campus to a front runner in the fight for food justice and action around climate change? Executive Director Sue Salinger says it is one of the many results of a global pandemic.
Denver’s two-acre Jewish communal farm and garden, which was based on a charity model of food production, began more than a dozen years ago. Today, said Salinger, “Ekar Farm is at an inflection point. At the start, we grew food and donated food. Now, we’re at the center of trying to understand the root causes of food and environmental injustice.”
Putnam, CT – About 100 area residents and guests of the local Jewish community gathered outdoors at Congregation B’nai Shalom on Sunday afternoon, inspired by Rosh Hashanah— the Jewish New Year–to call for climate justice and stop construction of the nearby proposed Killingly Energy Center gas power plant. A dozen environmental justice groups, including the Sierra Club Connecticut Chapter, Windham-Willimantic NAACP, and No More Dirty Power Killingly, as well as sixteen rabbis and five regional synagogues endorsed this event, with speakers calling for state officials to withhold permitting for the Killingly plant and to support federal laws and funding for clean renewable energy.
In early September, much of the political world was focused on U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s, D-W.Va, seeming intransigence about passing the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package being debated this week in Congress. On Sept. 12, he made the rounds on Sunday morning shows. Meanwhile in Phoenix that morning, approximately 40 people stood outside another moderate Democratic senator’s office, asking her to be bold.
Shofars sounded in downtown Newark last Tuesday afternoon, as Jewish climate activists gathered near Penn Station, and near the offices of Senator Cory Booker, to call on the senator to “hear the clarion call for climate action and act now to ensure a swift transition to a clean energy future.”
“I hate seeing beautiful sunsets that are caused by fires on the other side of the country,” Rabbi Elliot Tepperman of Montclair’s Congregation B’nai Keshet said. “I hate that teenagers think they will not have a world that is safe to live in.
When 70 climate activists stood outside Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s West Los Angeles field offices 10 days ago and blew a shofar, it wasn’t their way of wishing their senator an early Happy Jewish New Year.
One clue? One of their protest signs read, “Sho-far, Not Sho-good.”
The activists were organized by a climate action group called Dayenu — loosely speaking, Hebrew for “Enough!”— part of a campaign that is blowing the ritual ram’s horn across the country to urge Congress to pass President Biden’s $3.5-trillion “Build Back Better” budget bill focused in part on reducing carbon emissions.
About two dozen local activists gathered at a rally organized by Milwaukee Jews for Climate Action outside Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s Milwaukee office to call on her to stay strong against climate change.
“We want to thank Sen. Baldwin for what she’s done,” said Rabbi Michal Woll, speaking at the foot of The Clark Building, 633 W. Wisconsin Ave., on Aug. 19, 2021. “But it’s our understanding that she’s under a lot of pressure to start polluting.”
Dayenu Circle of Jewish Silicon Valley and other local faith groups gathered for a boisterous protest Wednesday at San Jose City Hall, calling for legislators to take serious national action on climate change.
Representatives from a host of religions — including Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Unitarians, Catholics and several denominations of Protestant Christianity — brought forth song, prayer, mantras and sacred religious instruments to make “holy noise,” imploring California’s senators, Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, to return to Washington after summer recess and fight for an economic recovery bill that includes climate action.
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) – Climate activists gathered in Springfield on Tuesday to rally outside Congressman Richard Neal’s office. Several grassroots groups calling on the representative to “seal the deal” as Congress negotiates the infrastructure bill and budget reconciliation. While the plan brings large investments to roads, electric grids and more, activists said more needs to be done for broader items including climate solutions, jobs, and childcare.
Like the Hindu faith, the Jewish faith is among the oldest continuous religions, born when people lived in nature, not in cities. Some of Judaism’s major holidays are based on ancient harvest festivals: wheat and barley in late spring, olives and grapes in autumn. We even have a New Year of the Trees, one of my favorite holidays. The blossoming of the almond tree, the first tree to bloom in Israel, signals its start. I planted an almond tree in my garden here in San Jose just to wonder at its beauty in bloom.
Over millennia, life continued, following Earth’s natural rhythms: rain in its season, dry warmth in its. People, like the wildlife around them, lived within the boundaries of Earth’s cycles. In the past century, however, human technology began to overtake nature. Our dominance of nature became pronounced in the past 50 years. As we caused the natural world to become out of sync and detrimental to life, environmental organizations, both secular and religious, grew to counter the problems. In the past few years, one environmental crisis—more threatening than any other—loomed as existential: climate change.
The Jewish community had no organization devoted solely to solving the climate-change crisis. Two years ago, Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, who worked for 20-plus years in social justice organizations, realized that many of the issues she worked on would be ameliorated by tackling climate change. So she started Dayenu: a Jewish Call for Climate Action.