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The Importance of Jewish Climate Change Advocacy

By Al Gore

I’m writing to tell you how excited I am by the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life’s plans for the Jewish Energy Covenant Campaign, how ready I am to help, and how much I encourage all of you who have been a part of COEJL’s mission to do all you can for the success of the most important project you’ve undertaken.

It couldn’t come at a more critical moment. As someone who works to follow developments all over the world, I believe that decisions on global warming and energy that will be made in coming months by Congress, the White House and the world’s governments will shape conditions of life on planet Earth for centuries to come. The stakes are truly that consequential.

Our Congress is moving to do what it can. It won’t be enough. You must continue to press them to act boldly. However, the boldness, diversity and creativity of citizen action is the key to overcoming the special interests, inertia and cynicism. Because you are moved to act from spiritual and moral conviction, your efforts are crucial for the future of our children and grandchildren.

That’s why I’m so very excited by COEJL’s Covenant Campaign and some of its particular projects. I am so happy to see that this initiative will draw upon the new leadership of younger men and women who see in the legacy of Judaism’s teachings on stewardship a source of renewal of their Jewish faith as well as, through their environmentalism, a service to civilization universally. The campaign is very creative in encouraging diverse communities to enact their own distinctive initiatives.

Policy won’t do the job alone. We’ve got to discover all over again how to work together in our nation. The Jewish community has an absolutely unique capacity for communal action that can resonate throughout American society. If you can bring together all four major branches of Jewish life — national organizations and community-relations councils, established organizations and fresh initiatives, elders and children, and all kinds of synagogues and Jews across the spectrum — that’s what will have a real impact.

The Jewish community always has told me that the core of its advocacy comes from the heart of what it means to be Jewish. I’ve never appreciated this more than in this moment, on this issue, when the world needs the witness of moral passion, depth, and authenticity of your work. This is what I understand to be the significance of a campaign undertaken “in covenant,” which then radiates outwards for the common good of God’s climate that embraces us all.

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Al Gore served as a U.S. vice president, senator and congressman for 24 years. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work advocating for action on climate change, Gore founded and serves as the chairman of the Climate Reality Project. He worked as a reporter at The Tennessean and he is the author of numerous books, including the bestsellers Earth in the Balance, An Inconvenient Truth, The Assault on Reason, and Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis. A co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, a partnership that is focused on a new approach to sustainable investing, Gore also serves on the board of directors of Apple and as a senior adviser to Google. He completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University.

The Jewish Energy Guide presents a comprehensive Jewish approach to the challenges of energy security and climate change and offers a blueprint for the Jewish community to achieve a 14% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by September of 2014, which is the next Shmittah, or sabbatical, year in the Jewish calendar.

The Jewish Energy Guide is part of COEJL’s Jewish Energy Network, a collaborative effort with Jewcology’s Year of Action to engage Jews in energy action and advocacy.The guide was created in partnership with the Green Zionist Alliance.

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