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From the Tropical to the Political Forest

From the Tropical to the Political Forest

Devin Goldman is a participant in the RAC's Machon Kaplan summer program for college students. He is a student at Rutgers University and an intern here at the Religious Action Center.

In the past three weeks of my work and studies in Washington I have witnessed a multitude of public demonstrations and rallies held for a variety of causes such as health care reform, clean energy legislation, and aid to civilians in Darfur

Ever since my teen tour in Costa Rica, my concern for the conservation of the tropical rain forest's biodiversity has given me the desire to keep up to date on the public policies geared towards pollution and environmental protection. Coincidentally, The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454), one of the most comprehensive energy bills in legislative history, was recently passed by the House of Representatives during my internship in Washington. 

It has always been the responsibility of the Jewish people to live in harmony with nature and the task of being the stewards of nature is one of the most important tasks given to us by God. The Talmud stresses the importance of planting a tree and many rabbis regard such an act to be one of the most sacred actions that one can take. The role of water was prominent in many of God's miracles such as the Egyptian river's protection of Moses as a baby when he was at the mercy of its flow and the parting of the Read Sea. It was water that purified the once tainted, unlawful land while sparing Noah and his ark. 

Since 1965, the Union for Reform Judaism has fought for legislation that protects our air and water from pollution and industrial waste. In 1991, the URJ passed a comprehensive energy resolution calling upon the federal and state U.S. governments and Canada to "protect ecologically sensitive areas rich in biodiversity, create new protected wilderness areas, ensure the protection of our air, water, and natural resources, institute community recycling programs, and recognize that environmental hazards disproportionately affect poor and minority communities." 

Today, tropical rainforests in the world disappear at a rate of one acre per second. The fact that the world's poor and minorities communities are the most vulnerable to air and water pollution generated by the United States, which exports millions of tons of hazardous and non-hazardous waste to developing nations each year, makes the preservation of natural resources all the more important to us as Jews. 

The American Clean Energy and Security Act has already passed the House of Representatives and will now be considered by the Senate. We will need to make our voices heard when they consider this important bill, so sign up for the RAC Environment list to keep track of the latest updates and receive timely alerts so you can help protect the environment.

We must urge our nation to move forward on the path to renewable energy
and less waste. The Reform Jewish community should set an example for
the public and live a more conservative and environmentally friendly
lifestyle. 

To learn more, visit the Reform Movement's central portal for green resources.

Published: 7/07/2009

Categories: Social Justice, Uncategorized
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