Pelavin: Left unchecked, climate change could result in larger hurricanes, longer droughts, and increased coastal flooding. It is an issue that cannot and should not be ignored.
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Washington, DC, November 2, 2006 – In observance of the 2nd International Day of Climate Action on November 4, 2006, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Today, the Reform Jewish community joins together with other religious and secular communities around the world to observe the 2nd International Day of Climate Action. This day aims to spread awareness and promote action around the issue of Climate Change.
And sure action is urgently needed. Just this past week former chief World Bank economist, Sir Nicholas Stern published a report, through the British parliament entitled “The Economics of Climate Change” that predicted that climate change could cost the world the equivalent of 5 to 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if we continue to pollute our air through the burning of fossil fuels. This is just one in a number of significant reports and studies done about the effects of climate inaction. Left unchecked, climate change could result in larger hurricanes, longer droughts, and increased coastal flooding. It is an issue that cannot and should not be ignored.
Science tells us that the next decade is a crucial time for our climate; without action, the damage that we have already done will be irreversible. Luckily, we have not crossed that threshold yet. We have the technology today to significantly reduce our emissions, to prevent our children from having to face the costs of our ambivalence.
Our faith tells us that the Jewish community has a crucial role to play in this effort. It seems fitting that the International Day of Climate Action falls in the heart of autumn. As we look around at the colors and beauty of the changing seasons we must recommit ourselves to the Biblical mandate l’ovdah, u’l’shomrah, to serve, to till, to guard, to tend (Genesis 2:15). As the day suggests, this must be an international effort. Only together can each of the world’s diverse communities ensure our collective longevity, health, and sustainability.
The Jewish community has already been taking steps to create awareness around on this issue. The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life has devised a campaign that aims at getting individuals and congregations to change their incandescent light bulbs to compact florescent lights (CFL). These bulbs last up to ten times longer and emit a quarter of the carbon of regular incandescent bulbs. Although a small step, this campaign aims to educate and empower people to make a difference; if every American changed just one bulb it would be like taking 3.5 million cars off the road. (For more information about CFL campaign, visit http://www.coejl.org)
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the
Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.