Position of the Reform Movement on the Environment

As heirs to a tradition of stewardship that goes back to Genesis and teaches us to be partners in the ongoing work of Creation, we cannot accept the escalating destruction of our environment and its effect on human health and livelihood. It is our sacred duty to alleviate environmental degradation and the human suffering it causes instead of despoiling our air, land, and water.

For more than 40 years, the Reform Movement has been committed to protecting the environment. Relevant Union for Reform Judaism Resolutions include:

In 1991, the URJ passed a comprehensive resolution on the environment calling on the governments of the U.S. and Canada to protect endangered species; protect and create new wilderness areas; ensure clean air and water; and prevent environmental injustice to poor and minority communities. The same year saw passage of a New North American Energy Strategy, a Resolution supporting energy efficiency and conservation, developing of non-nuclear energy alternatives, and opposing expansion of offshore oil drilling.

The 2009 Resolution on Climate Change and Energy ties together many of these concerns in a comprehensive statement on the need for all congregations and institutions of the Reform Movement to take action to protect our environment from the emerging threat of climate change through local actions and advocacy. You can read more about positions specifically focusing on climate change and energy here.

In 2017 the Reform movement passed the Resolution on Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change, reiterating its support for fighting climate change. Through the resolution, the movement also pledged to work on supporting adaptation measures and relief efforts for those impacted by natural disasters exacerbated by climate change.

The Rosh Hashanah sermon "Guardians of the Earth," presented by Rabbi Rabbi Mark Kaiserman of Temple Emanu-El of West Essex, Livingston, New Jersey is also a great resource.

Other Resolutions

Resolution on Toxic Substances (1984)
Resolution on Environment (1990)
Resolution on Environment (1992)
Resolution on Opposing the Practice of Environmental Racism (1996)
Resolution on Protecting and Restoring the Ecological Integrity of Headwaters Forest (1998)
Resolution on Protecting Ancient Forest Ecosystems (2001)

Resolution on Protecting the Environment (1983)
Resolution on Environment (1992)
Resolution on Global Warming (2007)