Tag Archives: Energy

#ActOnClimate: One Year of the Climate Action Plan

On June 25, 2013, President Obama announced his Climate Action Plan, aimed at reducing our nation’s impact on the environment and curbing climate change. So where are we now, one year later?

In September, the Administration rolled out a proposed rule for carbon emissions limits for new power plants and just earlier this month, a proposal for existing power plants. Despite some push back, the Obama Administration and the EPA have held true to their promise from one year ago to respond to the most dire effects of climate change by developing regulations to mitigate our impact, shaping methods to make our nation more resilient and better able to adapt to our changing world, and demonstrating leadership in the international arena. We know all too well that while the United States is one of the largest emitters in the world, more vulnerable countries suffer the greatest impacts.

That is not to say that the United States is not also feeling the effects of climate disruption. In the recently released 2014 National Climate Assessment report, a team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee conducted an extensive review of how climate change poses severe challenges in every region and every sector of the United States. The report concluded that we are not immune to the effects of climate change, and while once considered a “distant threat,” we are feeling the effects now.

How does climate change affect you? Why do you #ActOnClimate? On twitter, facebook or your social media outlet of choice, post a picture or a story about why you personally care about our changing climate:

I will #ActOnClimate to…

I #ActOnClimate because… Read more…

Teva Seminar participants

Ten Teva Tidbits: Reflecting on the Teva Seminar

“Baruch atah (a strong breath out), eloheynu ruach ha-olam, a-sher kid-shanu b’mitz-votav vitzi-vanu la-asok b-divray torah. Blessed are You, Breath of Life, Spirit of the Universe, who sanctifies us with Your Mitzvot and commands us to engage in the study of Torah.” – Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Last week I had the pleasure and privilege of presenting at and attending the Teva Seminar on Jewish Outdoor, Food and Environmental Education at the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center in Falls Village, CT. Isolated in the grounds of this Jewish, environmental haven, I shared time with and learned from some of the most interesting voices in the Jewish environmental movement. Between the nearly two dozen sessions I attended throughout the week, and the time I spent with Jewish environmental leaders, it would be impossible to share every lesson and insight in this single blog post. Instead, I have Ten Teva Tidbits to impart below: Read more…

CO2 pic

Reform Jewish Movement Responds to Proposed Carbon Pollution Standards

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency rolled out a new proposal to set the first ever carbon pollution standards for existing power plants in our nation’s history. Last June, President Obama announced his Climate Action Plan aimed at addressing the devastation of climate change. Under that plan, President Obama has called on the EPA to establish carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants.

Carbon emissions are leading contributors to climate change and air pollution, and power plants are our nation’s largest stationary source of carbon pollution. By the administration’s estimate, today’s proposed standards, when implemented, will curb carbon pollution from the power sector by 30% by the year 2030, significantly reducing detrimental impacts to the environment and human health.

In response to today’s proposal, Barbara Weinstein, Associate Director of the RAC, issued a statement in support of the new carbon pollution standards, saying: Read more…

Teva logo

Attend the Teva Seminar on Jewish Environmentalism!

Are you interested in heightening your synagogue’s efforts in greening and environmentalism? Do you want to learn more and acquire the necessary skills and tools to educate your congregation about recycling, conserving energy and gardening? Mark your calendar and register for…

The Teva Seminar on Jewish Outdoor, Food and Environmental Education
June 9-13 at the
Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center

The Teva Seminar is the premier annual professional development opportunity in the field of JOFEE: Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education. Now in its 20th year, this four-day, hands-on training program is designed for educators, camp counselors, community leaders, and anyone who is seeking training in the emerging field of Jewish experiential, environmental education. Participation in the Teva Seminar will help you enhance your work in this field, whether you are a looking to build a garden and gardening curriculum in your congregation or heightened your community’s environmental advocacy efforts. Read more…

Rabbi Everett Gendler

A Heavenly Earth Day

By Rabbi Everett Gendler

Thirty six years ago, when Jimmy Carter was president, he established a number of regional Solar Energy Centers to encourage the use of sun-fueled electricity.  Attracted to the idea of plugging our temple Eternal Light directly into the sun, I and several members of Temple Emanuel, Lowell, MA, investigated the feasibility of converting our Ner Tamid to solar power.

Its symbolic appropriateness is evident.  Non-polluting, not in danger of imminent depletion, it seemed perfectly suited as a pure symbol of illumination and eternity.  We obtained two solar panels, storage batteries for hours of darkness and periods of heavy cloud cover, and at the dark of the year, during Hanukkah, 1978, we celebrated its installation.  People appreciated its symbolic value, and in December, 1991, we celebrated its Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

During my remaining years as rabbi of the temple, the light ever so gently kept nudging me:  Why only a symbol?  Why not real production of more usable electricity for your temple?  The question was not easily answered.  Succeeding U. S. administrations did not maintain the solar energy centers, and the necessary technical information was hard to obtain.  Even though the Light was included in a Union of Concerned Scientists-Real Goods book, Renewables Are Ready, published in 1995, by then I was retiring from the temple, and so it remained symbolic, not pragmatic. Read more…

Map of Climate Change in the US

It’s Time to Act Now: Climate Change is No Longer a “Distant Threat”

Summers are getting longer and hotter across the country. Rainfall has become more intense, increasing the threat of coastal flooding. Droughts throughout the country are contributing to dry conditions that are driving wildfires. Cold waves have reached the lowest levels on record (since 1985). All of these trends are due to changes in our climate and the global warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human activities.

Yesterday, as part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Global Change Research Program released the Third National Climate Assessment. The report further confirms that climate change is human-induced and affecting every region in the country. On the report’s interactive website, globalchange.gov, you can better understand the specifics of how our global climate is changing, the observed and the projected effects of climate change in the United States and the ways in which we can best mitigate the most devastating effects and adapt to our changing world.

Further, the National Climate Assessment allows you to see specifically how climate change poses severe challenges to the environmental, social and economic systems of every region in our nation. How is your state, town or community at risk? How will climate change affect health, agriculture, energy, water and transportation? Read more…

Map of Keystone pipeline

Keystone XL Decision Delayed…Again.

To approve the Keystone XL pipeline or not to approve the Keystone XL pipeline? That is the question. And yet, there remains no answer, because as announced last Friday, the Obama administration will be delaying its decision again.

As you may recall, the Keystone XL pipeline is a proposed extension of the existing Keystone pipeline system, designed to transport crude oil from Hardisty, Alberta to Steel City, Nebraska. The first proposal was in 2008 and over the last 6 years, it has become a hot-button issue for politicians, landowners, environmentalists and the energy industry in both the U.S. and Canada.

Early this year, the State Department released a report indicating that the pipeline would not have a significantly negative impact on the environment. It seemed that this report would catalyze President Obama’s decision to approve the pipeline. However, after a public comment period that yielded a staggering 2.5 million responses, and a 90-day period for interagency comments that was supposed to end May 7th, the process is not nearing an end. In February, a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling posed concern that might, yet again, change the route of the pipeline. Read more…

Rabbi Stone

Noah: It’s Time for Righteous Anger About the Silent Genocide of Species

By Rabbi Warren Stone

This piece was originally published in The Huffington Post on April 22, 2014

I once was hiking in the Sahara desert and arrived at a mountaintop Berber village. A little boy approached me and opened his palm to show me something he had found in a cave in the upper reaches of the desert: to my wonder, it was a fossilized shell completely crystallized within. It had survived hundreds of millions of years since the time that this desert was an ocean. I keep that shell on my rabbi’s desk. I show it to children to remind them of the Noah story and how we are on this earth to protect all life — the interconnected life of every other species and our own.

The recently released film Noah likewise is a call to all viewers to tread gently on the earth and to treat our environment with care, raising a moral parallel between the flood and the continuing onslaught of climate change on our earth. One of the most powerful moments in the film for me as a rabbi was when all the world’s species were racing toward the ark. Each group of animals came with its own kind, from slithering reptiles, to amphibians and larger mammals and ultimately Noah and his family, representing the last people on earth. Witnessing this unity represents to me what we must do — people of different backgrounds must all move swiftly. Together, we must make of our daily actions and choices an ark. Read more…