President Obama speaks

New Year’s Resolution: Being More “Green” in 5774

As I sat in Rosh Hashanah services last Thursday morning and my mind slowly shifted away from the words of my Rabbi and congregation, I started to think about my year past. What were some of my most significant achievements? What do I wish I had done differently? Every year, when the high holidays come around, I’m sure we all do a little soul searching and think about how we can improve how we treat each other, treat ourselves and treat the world in the coming year.

In June, President Obama introduced his Climate Action Plan as a direct response to reports that 2012 was a year of record-setting global warming, rising sea levels and increasing depletion of Arctic Sea ice. The Climate Action Plan lays out achievable goals towards significant progress. Obama will use his executive power to direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate the carbon dioxide emissions of the nation’s power plants and stimulate increased investment in clean energy technology.

President Obama is taking action to improve our nation’s impact on the environment. Now, how can we do our part? In the Talmud, we read about the concept of bal tashchit , “do not destroy,” which in essence teaches us that human beings are not to take advantage of the position God has bestowed upon us as masters of the world by thoughtlessly wasting our resources.

We all can do our part to reduce our impact on the planet. Perhaps, in this High Holy Day season of reflection and repentance, we can consider making small changes to our everyday behavior in the coming year. Bring your own bags to the supermarket and avoid the use of plastic, carry a water bottle or reusable coffee mug, unplug our chargers and appliances when not in use, reduce consumption of meat, or opt for public transportation and carpooling. We’ve heard these tips over and over again, but perhaps this is year to finally implement these behavioral changes into our everyday routines.

So, when you are sitting in Yom Kippur services this Saturday morning and your mind starts to wander, take a second to think about the changes you can make this year to join President Obama in finally responding to the crisis that is our environmental degradation. I know I will.

Check out more resources on the RAC’s environmental issues page and these tips from the Union for Reform Judaism on being more environmentally friendly in your own life or in your communities.

Image Courtesy of the Washington Post

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Sophie Golomb

About Sophie Golomb

Sophie Golomb is a 2013-2014 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the RAC. She graduated in 2013 from Brandeis University and is originally from Brooklyn, NY where she is a member of Brooklyn Heights Synagogue.

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