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.

Description

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 God’s creation (Genesis 2:15). The Talmudic concept of bal tashchit, “do not destroy,” was developed by the rabbis as an assertion of God’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. 

Take Action

Tell Congress: Prioritize Climate Action and Environmental Justice

Urge your members of Congress to support legislation that puts us on the path to a clean energy economy, restores American leadership on climate action, safeguards the natural world, advances environmental justice, and facilitates a just transition away from fossil fuels.

Urge Congress to Support Environmental Justice for All

For decades, environmental justice leaders have advocated for equal protection from environmental hazards, equal access to environmental benefits, and meaningful involvement in environmental decision-making processes. The Environmental Justice for All Act (S.872/H.R. 2021) would take landmark steps to realize that vision.

What's New

"Take care not to spoil or destroy My world:" Why We Need Bold Action to Address Climate Change

October 21, 2021
Today, we stand at a critical crossroads in the climate crisis. The reconciliation bill is a historic, watershed approach, uniting the success of American families, the American economy, and environmental protection and climate crisis amelioration. We must take care not to destroy or spoil God's creation. We still have time to prevent the worst aspects of the climate crisis.

Related Press Releases

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Learn more about the position of the Reform Movement on these key issues, and read the formal resolutions by URJ and CCAR.

URJ Resolutions Resolutions From Our Partners 

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learning books

Engage Your Congregation

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Brit Olam Environmental Justice

Brit Olam Cohort: Environmental Justice

Our Brit Olam work encompasses multiple ways to join a network of congregations working together toward a common goal. 

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Create a "Green Team"

One congregation shares how a dedicated, hands-on team is guiding its sustainability efforts and working to reduce the synagogue’s carbon footprint.

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Closeup of peoples hands as they pick up trash in a park

Plan Your Own Mitzvah Day

Plan a congregational Mitzvah Day that includes clean-up projects or other projects related to environmental justice. This guide outlines the planning process.

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Host a Tu BiShvat Seder

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.