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Climate Change and Elections

Over the past few months, most of us have been inundated with television, internet, and paper advertisements in connection with the 2014 elections.  Certainly there are a variety of important issues, but unfortunately, even though the majority of Americans believe that climate change is real, a very minor percentage rank it as priority issue when making a decision how to vote (see http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/09/23/most-americans-believe-in-climate-change-but-give-it-low-priority/).  This is somewhat disheartening, and is an area where I believe Jewish environmentalists must take more action.  From the pulpit and in synagogue classrooms, certainly policy issue related to Israel, poverty, and other political issues are discussed.  There must be a greater emphasis in every synagogue in highlighting the consequences of climate change, including its impact on the most vulnerable among us.  Further, Israel will be severely impacted by climate change, including facing increase refugees fleeing areas that will be impacted by rising see levels and erratic weather events  (http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/New-Tech/Israel-surely-in-front-line-for-climate-refugees-says-expert-378896).  Recently, Israel showed support for a global agreement on climate change, with Israel’s Environmental Minister stating to the UN that “the holy scripts tell us that when G-d first created man, he showed him all the trees in the Garden of Eden, saying: ‘All I created – I created for you. Beware not to destroy my world, for if you do, there is no one to repair it after you.”’ (see http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/ADDRESS-TO-THE-UN-CLIMATE-SUMMIT-Israel-supports-a-new-global-agreement-on-climate-change-376234).  As Jews, we should remember these words when we go into the voting booth, not only because it is in line with what the Torah teaches, but because it is also in our own self-interest, the interest of America, and the interest of Israel.

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