Tag Archives: Environment
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…

Green Seal Certified

SWA(G)K: Sealed with A (Green) Kiss

By Barbara Lerman-Golomb

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, but what about the Green Seal (of approval)? As a consumer you have the right to know that the products you buy and the places where you eat, sleep and work are safe for your health and for the environment. Green Seal is an international not-for-profit that works with companies to develop sustainability standards for their products and services and offers third-party certification for those that meet the criteria. For the consumer, it’s a tool to help you find truly green products. Green Seal began in 1989 ̶ at the time there were no other environmental certification programs in the U.S. Read more…

Earth Day Every Day!

Happy Earth Day 2014! What will you do this year to protect our planet?

Join the RAC in commemorating Earth Day with an online information session on how to successfully create a green “culture” in your congregation. How do we make our environmental efforts an integral part of the culture of our congregational communities? How do we align our actions with our Jewish beliefs of environmental stewardship? Our synagogues have the potential to model environmental behavior and inspire individual action and advocacy. Join expert rabbis and staff from the RAC and GreenFaith in discussing how our congregations can foster a “culture” of environmentalism that goes beyond independent greening initiatives.

Join: “Earth Day Every Day: Creating a Green Culture in your Congregation” – Thursday April 24, 3:00pm ET Read more…

“Earth Day Every Day: Creating a Green Culture in your Congregation”

Earth Day is just around the corner! What will you do this year to protect our planet?

Join the RAC in commemorating Earth Day with an online information session on how to successfully create a green “culture” in your congregation. How do we make our environmental efforts an integral part of the culture of our congregational communities? How do we align our actions with our Jewish beliefs of environmental stewardship? Our synagogues have the potential to model environmental behavior and inspire individual action and advocacy. Join expert rabbis and staff from the RAC in discussing how our congregations can foster a “culture” of environmentalism that goes beyond independent greening initiatives.

Join: “Earth Day Every Day: Creating a Green Culture in your Congregation” – Thursday April 24, 3:00pm ET Read more…

Seder plate

A Tomato on the Seder Plate?

Passover is holiday full of symbolism. We eat the bitter herbs to remind us of the bitterness of slavery. We dip parsley in saltwater to recall the tears of our ancestors in Egypt. The charoset is meant to resemble the mortar the Israelites were forced to use while building structures for Pharaoh and their Egyptian oppressors. These traditional symbols have paved the way for contemporary symbolism, allowing modern Jews to use the Seder plate as a place for social or political expression.

In recent years, placing an orange on a Seder plate has become a statement with various interpretations. Introduced by Jewish feminist and scholar, Susannah Heschel, the orange has come to represent the inclusion of women and LGBT people in the Jewish tradition. In general, the orange is meant to symbolize the rejection of the notion that “a woman, [gay person or other historically marginalized person] belongs on the bimah as much as an orange belongs on the seder plate.”

This year, I invite you to include another item on your Seder plate, a symbol of food justice. Read more…

Jewish envrionmental heart

The “10 Human Plagues” on Our Environment

Each year on Passover, we recall the pleas of Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh demanding, “Let my people go!” And when Pharaoh refuses, Moses warns that God will smite Egypt with a series of plagues: water turns to blood, frogs overrun the land, lice infest the people and animals, wild beasts storm the cities, pestilence kills the domestic animals, painful boils afflict the Egyptians, hail descends from the sky, locust devour crops and greenery, darkness envelops the land and finally, the firstborn children of the all of the Egyptians are slain. How do we understand these 10 plagues in the context of our modern world? What “plagues” us now? More intensely over the last few years, there have been extreme weather events and natural disasters at the hand of climate change. These are perhaps the most devastating “plagues” of our time. If we do not act now to protect our environment, we will see the modern plagues of climate disruption.

Consider these “10 Human Plagues” on our environment: Read more…

UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: “S.O.S. to the world”*

We know that each one of us, to varying degrees, has an impact on the environment and contribute to the global concern of climate change. And while each one of us is also deeply affected by climate change, that impact is felt differently throughout the world.

This past Sunday, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the second installment of their fifth climate report. The IPCC, which is sponsored by the United Nations and represents the brightest minds in climate science, released the first installment of this report back in September. In that first report, the IPCC concluded that it is “extremely likely,” (a measure of 95-100% likely) that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed global warming since the mid-20th century. Being that our impact is the primary problem, we must be part of the solution.

This latest report draws attention to the very real and very observable effects of climate change, particularly delving into how climate change is anticipated to affect individual regions and continents. This report invites us to consider how climate change does not just have consequences for our natural world but also detrimental societal effects. All over the world, the health and well-being of the most vulnerable and poorest of nations are disproportionately affected by the threat of climate change. Read more…

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