Resolution on Living Sustainably

Posted on: Tuesday March 24, 2020

Whereas the Torah describes the foundation of our creation and mission as being to sustain the earth – "לעבדה ולשמרה" – “to work it and protect it (Gen. 2:15).”

And whereas we are tasked with creating a habitable world for all God’s creation – "יישוב העולם”. As the prophet Isaiah taught, God did not create the world to descend into chaos. God created it to be a habitation. "לא תהו בראה, לשבת יצרה" (Isa. 45:18).

And whereas we are in a global emergency that is already irrevocably jeopardizing the future of humankind and thousands of other life-forms on this astonishingly unique and awe-inspiring planet.

And whereas the resources upon which we rely are being depleted through extraction and consumption at a pace faster than the earth is able to replenish them.

And whereas, threatened by climate disruption, we must seek to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible (the urgency being guided by the consensus of the science community) and no later than 2050, and assist nature in the re-absorption of greenhouse gases.

And whereas society must turn from a linear economy to a circular one designing what would otherwise be “waste” into resources for the next iteration of manufacturing.

And whereas we must do all this both with urgency and in just and equitable ways,

Therefore, be it resolved that all of us, both individuals and institutions, must:

1. Advocate for sustainable practices in business and government, with benchmarks sufficient to meet science-informed goals, in order to motivate those in power to turn our economy, laws and society toward a sustainable future.

2. Inform ourselves about sustainability issues, and keep abreast of the latest and most just, efficient, affordable and replicable responses

3. Talk with family, friends, colleagues and co-workers about these efforts, about the necessity and ways of living sustainably.

4. Make all our decisions that align with the goals of sustainability, creating our own sustainability “credo,” articulating our values and ideal practices so that our behavior matches nature’s and society’s needs. 

5. Advocate for the designation of funds and lay and professional leaders within each of our Conservative/Masorti Movement institutions to a designated sustainability portfolio

6. Create appropriate bodies to work with the Social Justice Commission of the Rabbinical Assembly that can readily guide the implementation of these tasks for our movement, translating the impetus toward living sustainably from paper to reality, from intent to action

  • Advocate, support, promote, create the means for a movement-wide summit on sustainability which will be charged with developing sustainability guidelines and benchmarks for the next 5 years
  • Develop and incorporate texts, teachings and values of Jewish environmentalism in the curricula of our formal and informal education for everyone, with new commentary and insights that encourage and inspire modern application
  • Aid the Rabbinical Assembly in developing educational materials and practical guides for organizational members of the movement to promote sustainability during the next Shemittah year.