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Brit Olam Environmental and Climate Justice

Environmental and Climate Justice

Climate and environmental justice is one of the most complex, interconnected, and important issues facing the world todayIt is an ethical, political, public health, and – above all – social justice issue. Changes in personal practices and systemic policy change are both necessary to fully address the magnitude of climate and environmental justice.

The journey to a world with clean air, land and water and with minimal impacts from climate change is one that we all must take on together. Together, we can help restore Earth and protect the environment and our natural beauty and resources for generations to come. 

 

Jewish Values

  • Environmental Justice as a Reform Jewish Value - Judaism is an earth-based tradition. Our origins as a Jewish people and the stories in the Hebrew Bible are inextricably connected with the natural world, especially the seasonal and lunar cycles and our relationship to the land.

Action Opportunities

  • A Framework for Action - Each person and each community is at a different place on the journey to create climate and environmental justice. While some are seasoned activists who have been doing this work for decades, others might just be dipping their toes in the water. Whether you are beginning or continuing this work in your congregation or community, these steps provide a basic framework to help guide successful justice work.
  • Putting a Price on Carbon - This resource will explain the Reform Movement's position on carbon pricing (applying market pressures to the energy market) and offer guidance for your community. 

Educational Opportunities

Climate and environmental justice is an umbrella category to talk about the effects of long-term environmental destruction on all people, species, and the planet itself, as well as the disparities in how these effects impact different communities because of societal injustice.

  • Climate Change - The evidence and impact of climate change extends beyond rising global temperatures; these impacts include sea level rise, melting glaciers, droughts, floods, and increasingly severe natural disasters such as the California wildfires or Hurricanes Maria (2017), Harvey (2017) and Florence (2018).
  • Climate Justice - Not all countries bear equal responsibility for climate change. Though the United States is home to only 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. has emitted almost one-third of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions since the start of the Industrial Revolution. 
  • Environmental Justice - One of the most consequential environmental justice issues is the pollution of our natural resources, including water, air, and land.

Building Partnerships

Working with partners inside and outside our community is crucial to any successful movement. Especially in climate and environmental justice, different populations and communities have different concerns and experience different impact around climate solutions. 

Below are some specific communities you can reach out to in order to build relationships and partnerships.

  • Communities of Color
  • Low-income Communities  
  • Indigenous Communities 
  • Faith Communities

Additional stakeholders are communities that rely on fossil fuel industry jobs, such as communities near coal mines or oil rigs. A key component of climate work is ensuring that these communities can have economic opportunities to support themselves, including job retraining, mine restoration, and a place in the new green economy. Learn more about environmental and climate justice partnerships here.