God Said to Noah: An Old/ New Song to Avert a New Flood

Hanukkah, Bali, and Climate Crisis: Because the Earth is Holy

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow | 11/8/2007


[This statement has been signed by a variety of religious leaders and activists, including Rabbis Arthur Waskow& Jeff Sultar of The Shalom Center]

From December 3 to 14, 2007 international representatives and heads of state will meet in Bali, Indonesia to address the historic challenge of setting new parameters on human activity in preparation for the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. Their mandate will be to lay the groundwork for a new treaty to limit and prevent further unbridled greenhouse gas emissions into the planet’s atmosphere in order to prevent the unimaginable becoming the inevitable. People of good will in over 50 countries will be actively supporting the UNconference, especially on December 8.

The communities of faith have become increasingly involved in what is rapidly becoming one of the principal spiritual and moral issues of our times. Now they are being summoned to speak out by the convergence of this historic gathering together with the mounting earth crisis reflected in the escalating melting of the ice masses, the rising seas and the worldwide droughts threatening the earth’s food and water supply, especially among the poor.

Can we transcend our religious differences to speak with one voice in the name of the God of creation and on behalf of humankind and of all living beings? What unites us all is our common belief in the sacredness of life.

This could be a restorative moment when together we address our own nation’s responsibility as one of the major contributors to this crisis and also call upon our leaders to courageously lead us by actively participating in the Bali conference. We must be insistent in calling for an international Protocol that will build on the Kyoto Agreements and go beyond them as the increasing crisis demands. At the same time, we ourselves must take strong actions for the earth, both as individuals and communities.(www.climatecrisiscoalition.org for ideas.)

Can we, first of all, call upon people of faith to make the period leading up to December a time of intensive individual and communal prayer for the courage on the part of world leaders — including our own — to make the Bali conference strong, fruitful and transformative?

Second, can we make the weekend of December 7, 8 and 9 a time to express these sentiments in our temples, mosques, synagogues, churches and other sacred places through sermons, worship services, prayers, litanies, parish bulletins and public events? (Some of the religious traditions are already celebrating sacred feasts on the weekend.)

The communities of believers and their leaders are being summoned by this sacred and perilous moment to transform it into a time of renewed hope. Our God and our beautiful earth home will settle for nothing less.

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