Environment and Climate Change
The Reform Movement is committed to protecting the environment. From the pressing global crisis of climate change to advocacy on clean water and food justice, we are heirs to a tradition of stewardship and partnership in the ongoing work of Creation that goes back to Genesis.
The Reform Movement is committed to protecting the environment and ensuring a just, healthy, and safe future for generations to come. The science is clear: global climate change and pollution threaten our planet and endanger our communities. We have a sacred responsibility to care for the Earth and its inhabitants by advocating for sustainable policies addressing climate change, promoting clean air and water, and protecting wildlife. In doing this work, we must also ensure environmental justice, protecting those who have been disproportionately impacted by climate change and advocating for a just transition away from fossil fuels. Through our environmental advocacy, we carry on a Jewish tradition of stewardship and partnership in the ongoing work of Creation dating back to Genesis.
Why Should Jews Care
The Torah teaches that humankind was created on Earth, in part, to care for and protect G-d’s creation (Genesis 2:15). The Talmudic concept of bal tashchit, “do not destroy” was developed by the rabbis as an assertion of G-d’s holy ownership of the land. We show our commitment to Creation and to each other by preventing the destruction and degradation of our planet. As is said in a powerful Midrash, “Do not destroy My world, for if you do, there will be nobody after you to make it right again.” (Midrash Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:13). It is our responsibility to preserve, protect, and nourish our planet. We have the power to take action to create a healthy and just future for ourselves and generations to come.
In 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UNIPCC) released a report stating that the world’s annual carbon emissions need to drop by nearly half by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The 100% Clean Economy Act (H.R.5221) in the House and Clean Economy Act (S.3269) in the Senate provide a robust framework to move all sectors of the U.S. economy toward clean energy and achieve net-zero carbon pollution by 2050.
On June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would begin the process of exiting the Paris Climate Agreement. The withdrawal officially takes effect on November 4th, 2020. Although the President’s decision abdicates our national responsibility to address climate change, there are still steps we can take to try to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Related Press Releases
Reform Jewish Movement Responds to Shrinking Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments
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Engage Your Congregation
The Tu BiSh’vat celebrates our relationship with nature, but it's also a time to look at our impact on the world around us and commit to changing the way we interact with our environment.