Learn About Climate Change
Climate change is one of the most serious challenges facing the world today. Fortunately, we already have the technology and the knowledge to help protect the health and economic well-being of current and future generations.
Our tradition teaches that Adam and Eve were asked to "till and to tend" the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 2:15). We are told that God literally took Adam and Eve by the hand, declaring, "Look at my works! See how beautiful they are—how excellent! For your sake I created them all. See to it that you do not spoil and destroy My world; for if you do, there will be no one else to repair it after you." (Midrash Kohelet Rabbah, 1 on Ecclesiastes 7:13) Despite this admonition, man-made carbon emissions threaten to irreparably alter the Earth. As partners in God's creation, it is our obligation to address this impact by practicing "Tikkun Olam," literally, repairing the world.
In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ("IPCC") concluded that climate change is "unequivocal" and that human beings are more than likely causing it.2 Abundant data supports this conclusion. Carbon dioxide concentrations are higher than they have been in more than half-a-million years, with carbon dioxide levels increasing more than 30 percent since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Twelve of the last thirteen years are among the warmest since temperature has been recorded. Global temperature has increased by more than 1 degree Fahrenheit during the same period.
Effects of these changes are already visible. Across the globe, we are witnessing melting glaciers, shifting ranges of plants and animals, extended droughts, and the earlier onset of spring. With continued warming, we can expect more extreme heat and drought, rising sea levels, and higher-intensity tropical storms. These trends threaten our coastal property and resources, the livability of our cities in summer, and the productivity of our farms, forests and fisheries.
We can’t avoid all the consequences of global warming, but committing ourselves to action today can help us fulfill our mandate to protect creation.