Resolution on Climate Change and Environmental Concerns

Posted on: Tuesday March 26, 2019

The rabbis teach:

תן דעתך שלא תקלקל ותחריב את עולמי, שאם קלקלת אין מי שיתקן אחריך.

Pay attention that you do not corrupt and destroy My world: if you corrupt it, there is no one to repair it after you. (Kohelet Rabbah)

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly has been proactive on environmental issues and has passed numerous resolutions over the past three decades in support of environmental protection (1991, 1994 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2016, and  2017) and even adopted guidelines for its own events; and  

Whereas the National Climate Assessment (issued by 13 federal agencies of the United States government) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (a group of scientists convened by the United Nations) October 2018 Report  warned of the dire consequences of climate change and its impact on the environment if urgent action is not taken immediately, including droughts, famines, wildfires, and rising sea levels threatening to erode cities such as Charleston, Miami, and New York, for which the United States is unprepared.

Whereas the IPCC report revealed that we have only 12 years left to take urgent action if we hope to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which we risk catastrophic drought, floods, extreme heat, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people;

Whereas the severity of climate change can be lessened by transitioning to the usage of renewable sources of energy and improving energy efficiency;

Whereas dependence on volatile sources of energy destabilizes the world order and,

Whereas climate change is a serious threat to Israel because the Middle East is vulnerable to, and increasingly experiencing more, drought and,

Whereas Hazon has developed a Seal of Sustainability for Jewish institutions to engage in sustainability initiatives through education, action, and advocacy;

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly urge its members to deepen their commitment to combating climate change individually and institutionally;

Be it further resolved that Rabbinical Assembly members adopt the guidelines of the RA on environmental sustainability in food service, conduct energy audits of their institutions, and encourage their constituents to do the same in their homes;

Be it further resolved that the Environment Subcommittee of the Social Justice Commission be charged with creating a comprehensive report to the RA on environmental issues, which will then be published and made accessible to our members.   

Be it further resolved that Rabbinical Assembly members pursue the Hazon Seal of Sustainability for their own institutions and for other communal institutions

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly work in coalition with other groups such as Interfaith Power and Light, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) and GreenFaith to advocate for the use of renewable sources of energy and purchasing energy in bulk for all religious institutions in a given community.