Jewish Climate Initiative: Marrying Religion and Environment Sustainability

As the sea level rises, pollution increases, and the world keeps getting hotter, the need to effectively manage climate change becomes paramount. Various organizations have been formed and initiatives born, all pointing out to the same goal: make the environment more sustainable and delay the planet’s decay for the sake of posterity. One of the most popular campaigns today is the Jewish Climate Initiative.

What Is It?

The Jewish Climate Initiative Campaign was founded on November 2009 in England. It’s currently one of the many components falling under the Alliance of Religions and Conservation ( ARC ), a non-profit UK organization that has a twofold approach to climate change. One, it promotes sustainability and love for the environment, and two, it does so through the help of the many religions all over the world.

Each major religions was then appointed to draft their seven-year action plan and presented it officially in England. One of the major objectives of the initiative right now is to have 600,000 Jewish people pledge to its principles. (The number 600,000 is said to be mentioned in one of the special Jewish prayers.)

How It Can Impact Jews

A very important question that needs to be answered is this: how can this initiative be impactful to the Jewish communities? For many people, climate change is a global concern and issue . It covers politics as different governments all around the world are responsible for creating laws and policies that introduce and/or enhance energy conservation and efficiency, as well as determine penalties to those who violate these.

It is also associated with sociology, as humans are naturally governed by the rules of majority. If a group of people start becoming indifferent toward taking care of Mother Earth, it’s not surprising that others will develop the same set of values. Our ever-changing needs have also driven us to this point. Climate change was a gradual process that began as early as the Industrial Revolution, as people demanded more efficient machineries and methods of manufacturing to create more supplies.

Correlating religion and climate change, on the other hand, may be something not immediately fathomed by many individuals, even by those who are practicing the religion. That is the real challenge of the Initiative more than how to actually promote environmental sustainability.

Nevertheless, the campaign has brought to life a number of very important tenets to help the Jewish community understand and appreciate the initiative.

First, it teaches communities sustainable ways that are deemed acceptable and recommended by the religious laws they’re living in. Second, it bridges the gap between religious and social teachings–that is, environment protection and conservation is also outlined in the Torah and many of the Jewish teachings. Third, it aims to unite Jews from all around the world and eliminate or at least greatly reduce Anti-semitism. Most of all, it cultivates the simple but fundamental idea that the little changes made can already have a huge and significant impact when performed by many.

Religion can play a grand role in the whole environmental scheme of things. The JCI is proof.