Our featured teacher, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, has been leading the way on climate change for years through the work of his organization, The Shalom Center. If you haven’t already, it is time to join him, and Bill McKibben’s 350.org, to help move our society toward a sustainable relationship with the earth.
VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH RABBI ARTHUR WASKOW
Rabbi Arthur Waskow teaches about the organic connection between humanity and the earth in Judaism, and the Jewish roots of environmental justice.
Rabbi Waskow founded and directs The Shalom Center, a prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, and American life that brings Jewish and other spiritual thought and practice to bear on seeking peace, pursuing justice, healing the earth, and celebrating community. Since the late 60's, Rabbi Waskow has been one of the leading creators of theory, practice, and institutions for the movement for Jewish renewal. Among his seminal works:
It's Time to Move on Global Warming—Mike Comins responds to Arthur waskow
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes that "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal" and that "observed changes are unprecedented." It's time to act now, writes Rabbi Mike Comins.
Last week the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its fifth report on global climate change. (See full report here.) A total of 209 Lead Authors and 50 Review Editors from 39 countries and more than 600 Contributing Authors from 32 countries took part. Their conclusion: “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.” Climate change is real. The reports findings are conservative; they have omitted the most extreme predictions and the research has all been peer-reviewed.
Our featured teacher, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, has been leading the way on climate change for years through the work of his organization, The Shalom Center. If you haven’t already, it is time to join him, and Bill McKibben’s 350.org, to help move our society into a sustainable relationship with the earth.
Global temperatures have risen less than predicted in the last fifteen years, a good thing. Hopefully, we have more time to reverse the trend. But skeptics take this fact out of context, wishfully thinking that we can radically change the composition of the atmosphere without consequences, or that humans are powerless to effect climate change. That’s why the report’s conclusion is not only that the temperature is rising, but that humans are the main factor behind it. “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”
The earth, as the research around James Lovelock’s Gaia hypotheses indicates, is a living organism. There are likely compensatory mechanisms at work that we do not understand today. Early climate models were thwarted when increasing heat led to more clouds which reflected sunlight back into space. But global warming continues. The report claims that the current slowdown is temporary, and theorizes as to the causes. The overall trend is clear.
Critics like to ignore that global warming does not progress in a linear fashion. When a glacier or an ice shelf melts, it begins slowly, but as the newly exposed water or rock absorbs sunlight rather than reflect it back like the snow, the pace picks up exponentially. The oceans have absorbed huge amounts of greenhouse gases, but cannot do so indefinitely. The North American and Russian tundra is packed with greenhouse gases. It has already begun to melt. A small rise in temperature and massive amounts of methane will be released, which will cause a spike in the warming. How serious a spike we can only predict without the kind of certainty we would like to have. But to think that it won’t happen is simply wrong.
There is more scientific consensus on global warming than most issues. There are critics of chemo-therapy, but we don’t hear about them because the economic interests of a major industry are not threatened, and there is no right/left ideological divide to be cultivated by Fox News and the blogosphere. How many of us would reject the scientific consensus if we were deciding on an immediate matter that would affect our health and quality of life, like chemo-therapy? For our children’s children, climate change is an immediate matter of health and quality of life.
Let’s be clear. We’re not trying to save the earth. The earth will keep going regardless. We are out to save our way of life, so that future generations may prosper as we have.
It is time to act.
Rabbi Lawrence Troster, one of the leading thinkers on Judaism and the environment, speaks about climate change as a moral challenge and explores the Jewish duty to work for eco-justice.
Rabbi Troster is a nationally recognized religious-environmental scholar and leader. A co-founder of the GreenFaith Fellowship Program, through which he trained over 40 Fellows from around the country, he has also worked as the Rabbinic Fellow of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL), an Adjunct Lecturer at the Jewish Theological Seminary, a Steinhardt Fellow at the Center for Life and Learning, a Program Officer at the Jewish Life Network, and as a rabbi of congregations in Toronto and New Jersey. He is on the editorial board of Conservative Judaism and he has published and lectured widely on theology, environmentalism, liturgy, bioethics, modern cosmology and Judaism. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Welcome to the TorahTrek eJournal! Here you will find videos, interviews, articles, photos, and educational materials on the interconnections between Judaism, wilderness, spiritual practice and sustainability. Our goal is to support the spiritual/ethical lives of individuals, enliven and strengthen the Jewish community, and promote a sustainable society living in balance with the earth. Explore the eJournal by clicking on the topics below. Please share these resources with your friends!