Preserve God's Creation... by Passing Climate Legislation
following post is the text of a speech that was presented on Monday to the office of Congressman David Dreier (R-CA) by Andrew Borer and Mark Gilbert. Both are
members of Temple Beth Israel in Pomona, Calif., who attended the RAC's Bernard and Audre Rapoport L'Taken Social Justice Seminar last weekend.
The decisions made by the politicians today will affect the world for generations to come. As Americans it is our responsibility to lead the way in this effort. America consumes almost 25% of the world's oil and produces about 25% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
We believe that a shift to green energy will create new jobs and be the engine that drives growth in our economy. By building renewable resource centers we can make the U.S. a lead producer of renewable energy. Future generations will be affected by the decisions made now. The "cap and trade" system requires polluters to buy or trade CO2 emission permits. If enacted, Companies will either purchase permits for their CO2 emissions or significantly reduce their emissions.
Our health and well being is reflected by the state of environment.
Climate change has already begun and the polar ice caps have begun
melting at an alarming rate. This has endangered animals in the oceans
because some cannot live in the warmer waters. The potential
consequences of climate change could be cataclysmic.
Judaism teaches us that we must be stewards of the environment. In the Torah it says "G-d took the human and placed him in the Garden of Eden, to work it and protect it." The Talmud teaches us the principle of Ba'al Tashchit - "do not destroy." We have the responsibility to preserve all of God's creation. In addition Judaism teaches a fundamental belief in Tikkun Olam, our responsibility to repair the world. This means that we have to take care of our world and in essence 'protect the garden.'
My friend and I are fortunate to be able to live in Congressman Dreier's District, which is in a beautiful area to hike, play sports, and be outdoors. On a good day, we are able to hike in the Claremont Wilderness Park and see Catalina Island. However, these clear days are few and far between. Unfortunately, our view of Catalina is often blurred by haze caused by the continuous release of pollutants, which occurs because of the burning of fossil fuels that also release greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere. I also enjoy fishing, but unfortunately, the increased temperatures in nearby waters have forced the fish I hope to catch to relocate. Water temperatures and the abundance of greenhouse gas emissions have caused the beauty and quality of our California environment to deteriorate and threaten the future health of our community and our planet.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act has the capabilities to cut greenhouse gas emission by the proposed 80%, to improve our air quality, and to diminish the effects of climate change. We are aware that Congressman Dreier did not vote for The American Clean Energy and Security Act. We are also aware of Congressman Dreier's past record of concern for the environment, and the recognition he has received from the Sierra Club for his work to improve our air quality. Congressman Dreier also cosponsored H.R. 2846, which encouraged the development of alternative energy and promoted a cleaner environment.
Climate legislation in H.R. 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act, advocates cap and trade, a system that appeals to our capitalist ideals. We believe that supporting future climate legislation is the next logical and plausible step in this process. We hope that in the future, Congressman Dreier will support climate and energy legislation building on his strong record of work for clean air and environmental quality.