Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Everything Is Connected

by Andy Oram

Climate disaster is the crisis of our era, challenging us technically, politically, and economically--as well as a crisis of social justice and a refugee crisis. But less often noted is that climate disaster is a spiritual crisis. It forces us to ask what our life's purpose is, how to stay emotionally centered in the face of destruction, and how to make the thousands of years of our religious traditions relevant in a situation never envisioned by those who fashioned these traditions.

The Third Jewish Climate Action Conference: Everything Is Connected taking place online April 25, 12:00-8:00 PM EDT, offers a holistic and comprehensive view of the work that the climate demands of us today--as much as one can get in just eight hours. This free event covers advocacy (with special events by and for young people), soil and agriculture, decarbonizing, and resilience and weaves together youth, environmental justice, and anti-racism while focusing on action steps. Speakers come from leading Jewish organizations in addition to a wide range of environmental and groups and experts.

Everyone's attention has understandably been consumed by the COVID-19 pandemic this past yer. But the pandemic offers us so many spiritual and ethical lessons that it might well be seen as a divine rebuke: the lesson that invisible trends can erupt into life-threatening threats amazingly fast, that all of us are equally important and must be protected regardless of social and economic status, that prompt and radical responses are possible if we have the will to act, and more.

People often ask what they can do, as individuals or members of modest-sized organizations such as synagogues, to make a difference. Effective action to save the climate, and to create a socially just environment, does require large-scale, global work. But individual efforts make a difference. By treating our land, our food, and our buildings as sacred contributions to a better world and raising up environmental justice, we free ourselves somewhat from our dependence on activities that put carbon into the atmosphere. We also strengthen our ability to demand progress from institutions and other people.

At the Third Jewish Climate Action Conference, you'll connect with fellow activists in an event designed to be as educational as it is spiritually uplifting. Through dozens of workshops, you'll learn how you can improve our use of the soil, whether in your own garden or in agribusiness. Synagogue members can start to set achievable goals and organize within their congregations for greener buildings and grounds. Wind power, sustainable investment, local activism--all these topics are explored. Join climate activists from across the country on Sunday April 25, as well as the pre-conference workshops!