Jewish Journal


April 22, 2009

Planet Earth: ‘I’m with stupid’



I drive a Honda Civic, never leave the lights on and use natural air conditioning (sweating out the warm days and then flushing in cool air at night). Earth Day bores me. I doubt it inspires many others, especially those needing it, to think and live in a more eco-friendly manner.

I don’t have it all figured out, but Daryl Cagle‘s cartoon is spot on.

As they say, once this planet is gone, it’s gone for good. And yet many people are too busy picking their noses to pay attention to what is going on around them.

The religious components to this are numerous. Quite simply: We are stewards of what God has given. In this vein, Rabbi David Saperstein, the head of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center and the newly crowned most-influential rabbi, released this statement:

“As Jews, we are deeply committed to stewardship as a moral principle; we are commanded in the Book of Genesis “to till and to tend” our Earth and are called throughout our text to care for our Earth and all its inhabitants. We in the Reform Movement have made great strides toward living out this value in the last year, launching our online Greening Reform Judaism resource in February and strengthening our advocacy work on the state, local, and national levels.

“Our commitment is reflected in a resolution, adopted this morning by the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, that expresses our belief as people of faith that it is unacceptable to remain wedded to polluting sources of energy that threaten our environment, our economy, and our health.”

One country that could really get this message—besides the obvious: China, India, the United States—is Israel, where the Jordan has become so polluted that Christians no longer get baptized in its water and the Yarkon River is so parasitic it kills. Mark Gold, president of L.A.-based Heal the Bay, gives the Jewish state some advice after visiting for the first time.

Money quote: “Success won’t come easily, but nothing ever does in Israel.”

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