Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
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Chanukah and Climate Change
More on the connections between our Chanukah celebrations and our current energy and environmental challenges.

Every time we burn oil and coal, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, trapping heat from the sun's radiation and warming our planet. If no action is taken to reduce these greenhouse gas emissions, it is predicted that by 2100 the earth's average temperature may rise as much at 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and the global sea may rise by as much as 34 inches. Melting glaciers, severe weather patterns (such as hurricanes, tropical storms, heat waves and drought), an increase in the spread of disease and disruption of habitats and extinction of species will become a worsening problem.

We also know that our changing climate is an issue of justice: those who are already poor are most likely to suffer the consequences of global climate change, pollution and environmental degradation. For instance, subsistence farmers are most vulnerable to changing rain patterns, which may make their land infertile; slum-dwellers in coastal areas are most vulnerable to chronic flooding. Because those of us in the world's wealthiest nations are most responsible for global climate change, it is in our hands to act, to preserve life for all the earth's children.

Chanukah calls us to consider how we can conserve our natural resources, so that they, like the oil in the Chanukah story, will last to meet our needs. How can we, as individuals and as participants in the resource-hungry western world, ensure that we are sound stewards of the earth and that we use our resources to meet the needs of all who dwell on this planet without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs"?

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