JCPA on Sustainable Economies
The JCPA supports: substantial foreign aid and technical assistance to developing nations for environmental protection, sustainable economic development and family planning; U.S. ratification of international environmental treaties and provisions in trade agreements to protect the environment; efforts to address environmental degradation and resource shortages in regions where such developments might lead to either mass migration or armed conflict; incentives for the revitalization of cities through environmentally responsible "Brownfields" programs; policies based on pricing, taxation, and other incentives that lead to the reduction of the level of U.S. per capita consumption of energy, paper, metals, and other resources; land-use and transportation policies to contain urban sprawl, promote the redevelopment of cities, and protect open spaces; protection of agricultural lands and public health through programs to conserve soil, safeguard groundwater, regulate chemical and animal waste runoff from farms and livestock facilities; the promotion of organic and sustainable agricultural practices; the adoption of internal conservation and waste-reduction policies including recycling, the use of recycled and energy-efficient products, and the elimination of hazardous pesticides and cleaning supplies by all households and communal organizations.
Background: With world population expected to grow to between 7 and 11 billion in the middle of the next century (up from the current 6 billion) and several vital global natural resources already reaching their limits, the time is long overdue for the international community to address issues of global resource consumption and international equity.
While U.S. citizens consume enormous amounts of the world's resources, hundreds of millions of people worldwide lack access to clean water, sufficient food, safe shelter, and basic health care.
As we enter the 21st century, the U.S. is challenged both to reduce our level of resource consumption and to assist developing nations in stabilizing their populations while economically expanding in environmentally benign ways. Despite these grave challenges, Congress continues to reduce or deny funding for international family planning programs, foreign aid, and domestic conservation and development of alternative technologies. The organized Jewish community, with our partners from other religious and ethnic communities, will increasingly be called upon to articulate the moral imperative to adopt domestic and foreign policies which promote the development and use of environmentally clean technologies in the U.S. and abroad, to reduce dramatically overall consumption of natural resources, to stabilize world population, and to effect a more equitable distribution of wealth around the world.
Jewish Council for Public Affairs Agenda for 2000-2001
DEVELOPMENT, TRADE, AND THE ENVIRONMENT
The JCPA supports increased foreign aid for environmental protection, sustainable economic development, and family planning in developing countries.
The JCPA urges the Administration to take a leadership role in ensuring that international institutions, including the World Trade Organization and the World Bank, actively work to protect the global environment.
In October 1999, world population reached six billion. The population has doubled in less than 30 years, and is expected to rise to 12 billion in the middle of the 21st century. The projected increase in population will place unprecedented pressure on global ecological systems and basic natural resources already near or beyond the limit of sustainable use. The rapid adoption of low impact technologies, particularly in the developing world, is critical to the minimization of irreversible ecological damage, which is already underway in many places around the world. Population planning and economic aid to developing nations are a priority for the future well-being of all of Earth's inhabitants; therefore, the U.S. continues to undermine its own self-interest by not providing substantial aid to developing nations.
In December 1999, leaders and activists from 135 nations gathered in Seattle for the meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO has been widely criticized, both internally and externally, for not adopting measures which would advance environmental protection and protection of working women and men. The WTO consistently has ruled against environmental regulations, including those of both the United States and Europe, categorizing them as "barriers to trade." The debate over the desirability and practicality of international environmental and labor standards is likely to intensify.
ISRAEL'S ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGE
The JCPA calls on the Israeli government to address the rapidly deteriorating environmental conditions in Israel.
Pollution and the depletion of natural resources in Israel threaten public health, future economic viability, and regional stability. Most rivers and streams in Israel are polluted, and many municipalities have no sewage treatment. Water consumption already exceeds total available resources in Israel, and allocation of scare water resources remains a major issue in the Peace Process. A doubling of both electricity use and the number of cars on the road since 1990 has led to dangerous levels of air pollution now being blamed for increasing respiratory illness. Open space is disappearing at an alarming rate as suburban developments and new roads — including the controversial Trans-Israel Highway — are built. Minister of Environment Dalia Itzik is facing these daunting challenges with grossly insufficient resources, and existing transportation and development plans are likely to worsen the current situation. Though progress has been slow, the government has begun to tackle Israel's environmental challenges. A growing number of grassroots environmental groups are organizing in response to these circumstances, and Tel Aviv University has established Israel's first school of Environmental Studies. The organized Jewish community has an opportunity to help Israel benefit from the substantial environmental expertise of the U.S. — through continued support and further development of cooperative projects between the Israeli and U.S. governments and by involving American Jews in volunteering their environmental expertise to Israeli governments, NGOs, and businesses. The Palestinian Authority and neighboring countries are also called upon to remedy environmental challenges that impact the entire region.
Got something to say?
You must be logged in to post a comment.