People are Dying to Fix This…Literally
What are the ramifications of climate change, according to this new study? 100 million people will die as a result of climate change-related conditions, which range from drought and starvation to disease. The report draws a distinction between low and high emitting developing countries. Think Uganda vs. China. 85% of these projected deaths will be in low emitting developing countries, which are responsible for only a tiny fraction of green house gas emissions in the world. Only about 2% of these deaths will be in developed countries.
The report found a significant financial cost associated with climate change. In 2010 climate change had a net economic cost of $1.2 trillion or 1.6% of the global economy. If all other factors remain the same, which is never guaranteed, the total cost will almost double to 3.2% of the global GDP by 2030.
This report further clarifies the human and economic costs of delayed action on climate change.
Judaism’s commitment to the fundamental precepts of climate change is clear and, without question, our teachings call on us to actively seize every possible opportunity to reduce the damage we are doing to the climate. We are in the midst of Sukkot, the holiday where we traditionally leave our houses to sleep in temporary booths under the stars. This is the week our ancestors would gather the harvest and give thanks for the bounty of the earth. This is the time we reconnect with nature and contemplate our place within creation. With the teachings of the holiday in mind, we at the RAC encourage you to work to individually and collectively impact the carbon emissions rates in your local community.
About three weeks ago, I attended a conference hosted by the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Representatives of many faith groups and religions gathered to share efforts their respective communities had engaged in to green their communities. There was one statistic the organizers drilled home the entire day: The EPA has determined that 30% of the electricity used in houses of worship is wasted energy and could be conserved at little or no cost to the congregations. These savings could then be applied to making more expensive retrofits to further reduce energy consumption or even just to be used for other operating costs.
For information on how to green your congregation or how to benchmark your synagogue’s current energy consumption, call the RAC at (202)387-2800 and ask for me or email me directly. I will be happy to connect you with whatever resources you need to help green your synagogue.
Image Courtesy of TreeHugger.