April 24, 2014. Through our rituals, the Jewish people are deeply tied to the Earth and its cycles. Our holidays are fixed to seasons. On Sukkot we mark the harvest and sleep in view of stars, on tu b’shevat we celebrate trees, and on Passover, which ended yesterday, we put a green vegetable on our seder plate to mark the arrival of Spring.
Fittingly, yesterday’s conclusion of Passover fell on Earth Day, a reminder – like the karpas of Passover – of our connection to the planet and its ecosystem. We celebrate the renewal of the Earth, but through our actions, we threaten its future. Without good stewardship of the environment, as is our responsibility, future springs will bring a diminished world as seas and temperatures rise.
At the JCPA, we know that it is our religious and moral responsibility to take action. Earlier this year, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) gained attention for circulating a petition encouraging President Obama and Pope Francis to discuss climate change. And we do not act alone. We joined an interfaith coalition of groups who wrote to President Obama on behalf of the religious community that, “global climate change presents an unprecedented threat to the integrity of life on Earth and a challenge to values that bind us as human beings.”
The risks of climate change are real and serious, and it is in our power to stop them if we act nationally and individually. COEJL and the JCPA will continue to work with national and religious leaders to protect the Earth. Will you join us?