Can Judaism save the planet?


Last week, The Washington Post‘s On Faith blog published a piece of mine inspired by the Hazon Food Conference. Specifically, I was inspired by the session “What Would Moses Drive?”

Entitled “Can Judaism save the planet?”, this piece presents one perspective that answers the question with a resounding “Yes!” We at least have the tools to do it. Judging from the number of people at the conference, and their passion and dynamic visions, we have the resources as well.

Check out the post–and feel free to comment here or on the site. One commenter brought up the argument that Moses may not have even existed. Does that change this argument? Or did that person, as one Facebook friend put it, totally miss the point? What do you think of the whole thing? New voices welcome. And thank you for reading!

Photo: The Jewish Climate Change Campaign Tour bus as photographed by your loyal blogger

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6 Responses to “Can Judaism save the planet?”

  1. Hannah Lee Says:

    Other posters on this blog have written about the importance of Shabbat and the Biblical laws about ‘shmittah’ and ‘leket’ in our understanding of the environment and our role as “shomrei ha’adamah” (Guardians of the Land). When I “met” Rabbi Shmuel through this blog, I asked him how could I reconcile using extra electricity on Shabbat– keeping lights on (even with a timer) and, especially, the ‘blech’ to warm food on Shabbat– with my commitment to protect the environment and he answered something like (I can’t find it in my files), it’s all in the balance. By observing Shabbat, we refrain from using our cars, the computer, the phone, so we do definitely save fuel and lessen our impact on the environment. If, in the process, we use a little electricity to make our Shabbat a comfortable and enjoyable one, well, it’s still in the sum total. That ‘teshuvah’ put my mind at ease. Thank you, again, Rabbi Shmuel!

  2. Rhea Yablon Kennedy Says:

    Hannah, thank you for that point. I sometimes wonder if we agonize too much over small, personal choices. There’s a lot more to the overall picture, and we make powerful choices that can make a difference over time — and maybe inspire others to do so, too.

  3. Richard Schwartz Says:

    Yes, absolutely, Jews can help save the planet and we MUST do all that we can to do so, as the world is currently heading toward an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming and other environmental threats.

    I think we can best respond by increasing awareness of the inconvenient truth that even Al Gore has been generally ignoring: the major impact that animal-based agriculture has on global, A UN FAO 2006 report indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars, planes and other means of transportation worldwide combined. And a recent cover article by two environmentalists in World Watch magazine argues that the livestock’ sector is responsible for over half of the human-caused greenhouse gases. Hence to avoid the impending climate disaster and shift our imperiled world to a sustainable path, a major societal shift to plant-based diets is essential.

    Such a shift would reduce the many other negative effects of animal-based diets: disease, increased hunger, water pollution, deforestation, soil erosion, rapid species extinction, desertification and many others.

    As to global climate change naysayers, we should ask them to please explain why the glaciers and polar ice caps are melting faster than climate scientists’ worst scenarios, why so many areas are experiencing such severe droughts, why there are more and larger wild fires, why this decade is the warmest on record and much more.

    In summary, by promoting plant-based diets we can do the most to help shift our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

  4. Saving Tips Says:

    As to world condition interchange naysayers, we should ask them to satisfy inform why the glaciers and antarctic ice caps are unfrozen faster than status scientists’ pessimum scenarios, why so numerous areas are experiencing specified terrible droughts, why there are author and large state fires, why this decennary is the warmest on accomplishment and more solon.

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