A “Green Sabbath Project” aiming to combat climate threats
A message from Jonathan Schorsch:
I would like to introduce you to my initiative, the Green Sabbath Project (www.greensabbathproject.net). In brief, the Green Sabbath Project sees a weekly green sabbath or earth day as a day on which we strive to minimize our environmental impact as much as possible — leaving things alone, “doing nothing” — based on the biblical command to “do no work of any kind,” which was elaborated in the rabbinic concept of the 39 types of forbidden labors. Whether commemorated as a secular, spiritual or religious act, a green sabbath stands as a weekly interruption of the suicidal economic fantasy of infinite growth, a weekly divestment from fossil fuels, a weekly investment in family and local community, and a weekly moment of rewilding. Green sabbaths are a recurring, ritualized time for programmatic individual and communal reflection on how we are undoing creation and a time for reviving our passion, energy and commitment for the work of environmental change needed during the rest of the week.
For a more programmatic introduction, please see my “The Sabbath in an Era of Climate Change” or “Green Spiritual Technologies: Putting the Anthropocene to Rest (One Day a Week).”
We have launched a series of weekly virtual green sabbath gatherings for Friday afternoons (EST). These loose-format, hour-long get-togethers serve as a transition from the work week to a day of rest, a weekly earth day. They offer an opportunity for reflection, meditation, readings, melodies, chants, videos, prayer, conversation, etc., led by a diverse group of spiritual leaders, environmentalists, activists, writers, and the like. Our schedule has included and will include Bayo Akomolafe, Bill McKibben, Mary-Jane Rubenstein, Cláudio Carvalhaes, Rabbi David Seidenberg, Norman Wirzba, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Christopher Key Chapple, Beth Norcross, Theodore Hiebert, Satish Kumar, Rabbi Ellen Bernstein, Carl Honoré, Dekila Chungyalpa, Tzeporah Berman, Daniel Christian Wahl, Ayanna Young, and Jeremy Benstein, among others. Please join us–register.
We have just established the Green Sabbath Network, an alliance of communities, organizations, businesses and congregations committed to bringing sustainable lifeways into the here and now. Our goal is to foster a mass movement of groups that support the radical (r)evolution needed to stave off environmental catastrophe and human decline. We invite you to have any relevant groups that you lead or are involved in join the Green Sabbath Network. Further background can be found in our (1) Vision and Mission Statement, (2) Core Principles and (3) Suggestions for Green Sabbath Activities, for which we have provided links below. These are also available at our website (www.greensabbathproject.net/green-sabbath). You might find these documents useful in helping convince your groups of the importance of joining the Green Sabbath Network.
We encourage groups to implement our suggested green sabbath activities whether they join our network or not. We plan to organize virtual workshops for Network members until we are able to organize in-person events. We also hope to raise funds to help support members’ green sabbath events (which we pray will be possible in-person again soon). Check the Network page on our site for updates.
We will be organizing a Global Green Sabbath weekend in connection with Earth Day — Friday, April 23 to Sunday, April 25. Our goal is to have as many organizations and congregations around the world as possible celebrate a green sabbath day that weekend.
To join the Green Sabbath Network, send us your group’s name, address, website, the name and email address of your Green Sabbath Network liaison. You can write us at info [at] greensabbathproject [dot] net.