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Welcome to the Temple Beth Shalom 5781 Earth Challenge! Taking the lead from IKAR, a progressive Jewish synagogue in L.A., our temple’s Green Team is encouraging all our congregants to rededicate ourselves to committing to Tikkun Olam during this coming year like never before: looking deeply into our planet’s challenges and working to make our Earth more habitable for all its creatures. Because, if you think about it, without a viable planet, none of the other social actions we can take will have a lasting impact. The weakest and most vulnerable among us are the first ones affected by climate change and the degradation of our planet. What’s more, decades of social activism will be destroyed by failing to act in a timely manner to save our environment.

What can be done? You may already feel like you are the choir, being preached to by well-meaning, if misguided fellow congregants. Or you may be compelled to throw your arms up in despair, daunted by the immensity of the task at hand. We feel that way sometimes too. Still, as Pirkei Avot reminds us, “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” And that work can be done in monthly challenges to create a year of change, a year of making our world, our planet, our gift from the Almighty, a better place to live. Join us!

October 2020

Organizing for Climate Action

Your individual actions to reduce emissions matter. But they won’t be enough. We need climate policies to systematically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep the only planet we have habitable for us and future generations. As Heschel wrote: “It is one thing to be for a cause, and another thing to be in a cause.” 

TORAH:

From the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism:

Genesis 2:15 emphasizes our responsibility to protect the integrity of the environment so that its diverse species, including humans, can thrive: "The human being was placed in the Garden of Eden to till it and to tend it." Similarly, Jewish tradition teaches us that human domain over nature does not include a license to abuse the environment. The Talmudic concept bal tashchit, "do not destroy," was developed by the rabbis into a universal doctrine that dramatically asserted God’s ownership of the land.

SCIENCE:

This report is the result of a consensus among scientists about the rapidly declining opportunity to limit warming to 1.5℃. Here’s a summary of the report from National Geographic. There is unanimous agreement among climate scientists that humans are causing climate change (you read that right, not a single climate scientist asserts that climate change is not human caused). Global warming makes all humanitarian issues more difficult. Hunger, homelessness, and poverty, as a few examples, are made far worse by the warming planet. 

CHALLENGE:

JOIN

VOLUNTEER

Pick a candidate who lists climate as a priority issue. Let them know that climate matters to you and you’d like to support them. 

LEARN and then ACT!

Contact your elected official to find out their views on climate change. Take this course on the Conference of Parties (COP) UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, offered by Texas Impact, a community of faith advocates. After you learn about the issues, take the actions they suggest, including contacting your elected officials.

Fri, May 14 2021 3 Sivan 5781