It is time for a major effort for committed Jews, preferably joining with others, to apply Jewish values to help heal our imperiled planet.
Here are some issues to be considered:
The world is rapidly heading toward a climate catastrophe. Many climate experts think we are close to an irreversible tipping point when climate change will spin out of control, with disastrous consequences, unless very significant positive changes soon occur. My article: “Climate Change: An Existential Threat to Israel, the US, and the World,” published in the Jerusalem Post on May 2, 2017, can be read at: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Climate-change-An-existential-threat-to-Israel-the-US-and-the-world-489556
As I argue in my latest hard cover book, “Who Stole My Religion: Revitalising Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to help Heal Our Imperilled Planet,” Judaism has teachings on justice, peace, sharing, compassion, environmental sustainability, and much more, that can help heal our world, but many Jews, especially among the Orthodox, are supporting conservative politicians and policies inconsistent with basic Jewish values.I hope my book can help change this, and the entire text can be freely read at
3. An example of the above shift of many Jews to conservative positions is the strong support of President Trump in Israel and among most Orthodox Jews in the US, despite the fact that he and Congressional Republicans (1) are in denial about climate change, have made and approved appointees to key environmental positions, including the EPA, who are in denial about climate change, and have done all they can to eliminate or weaken regulations that aim to reduce greenhouse gases and other pollutants, (2) instead of trying to improve Obamacare, which provided health insurance to tens of millions of Americans, supported legislation that would take away health insurance from up to 32 million Americans and would increase premiums for others, (3) supported tax legislation that provides major tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and highly profitable corporations, despite this increasing the debt by up to $1.5 trillion, providing them with an excuse to carry out their long-term desire to weaken social security, medicare, medicaid, and environmental, health, and other programs that benefit most Americans. My article, “Why Israel Should Not Be Extolling President Trump,” published in the Jerusalem post on January 11, 2018, can be read at:http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Why-Israel-should-not-be-extolling-President-Trump-533541
4. While animal-based agriculture is a major contributor to climate change and the production and consumption of meat and other animal products violate fundamental Jewish mandates to preserve our health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources, help hungry people, and pursue peace and justice, the vast majority of Jews are not vegetarians or vegans. Much more about this is at www.JewishVeg.org/schwartz, where I have over 250 articles and the complete text of the 3rd edition of my book, “Judaism and Vegetarianism.”
How Can We Change the Above Problems?
Please review the above materials that you find of interest and please feel free to share them and to use them for talking points, letters to editors, and other ways to spread our basic messages.
Please contact you local rabbis, Jewish educators, and other influential Jews (and others, if you wish), and respectfully ask them to put the above issues on their agendas, give talks and classes about them, and increase awareness about them in other ways.
Consider writing letters to editors of your local Jewish and secular publications, building on points in the above publications. I am planning to soon post collections of letters I have sent to editors related to the issues mentioned in the first section of this message, so you can get ideas from them.
Use the material in the links above to help you become an expert on at least one or more aspects of the above issues and seek to give talks to local groups to help increase awareness.
This is just the beginning of strategy considerations so please let me know of suggestions you have. I can be contacted at VeggieRich@gmail.com. Remember: there is no Planet B. The world we are trying to save is the only one we have.