10/10/10 is a globally acknowledged date to help bring awareness to the significance of climate change. It is all too appropriate that Shabbat Noah falls out on the same weekend. Our Shabbat and day of action is in participation with the 350.org campaign, an international effort that’s building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis.
August 23, 2010
By Dr. Mirele Goldsmith, environmental psychologist and sustainability consultant.
Noah was 600 years old when God told him to build the ark. How the hell did he do it?
We really don’t know. The Torah doesn’t say how Noah built the ark. It just says that God told Noah he had 7 days to get it done. And he did.
What’s the message for us today? Why have we chosen the Shabbat when we read the story of Noah as the day to commit ourselves to take action on climate change? Because if Noah could do it, so can we.
Noah couldn’t stop the flood. He could only get ready to survive it. But we still have a chance to limit global warming. Scientists say that we need to cut global warming emissions by 50 percent. And they know how we can do it. The Union of Concerned Scientists says that we need to do 3 things: Stop wasting energy; get more energy from clean, renewable sources like the sun and the wind; and plant more trees to store heat-trapping carbon in forests and soil.
Getting these 3 things done is going to take action on every level. Government and industry need to a lot more than they’re doing. But each of us can also do something. Reduce your energy use by unplugging something in your house. Sign up to buy electricity from renewable sources. Plant a tree at home or in your local park. Get your office, school, or synagogue to do something too. Let your political leaders know you want them to support strong policies on climate change.
Unlike Noah, we don’t have a firm deadline. We don’t really know how much time we have to respond to climate change. What we do know is that the sooner we act, the better off we’ll be.
So let’s make Global Healing Shabbat our deadline. Whatever you decide to do about climate change, make a commitment to do it in the next 8 weeks. Find a way to mark Global Healing Shabbat with your friends and family. Join in the Global Work Party, organized by 350.org, on Sunday, October 10.
What gave Noah the strength to build the ark? Maybe it was love for his family. Maybe it was a sense of responsibility. Maybe it was fear. Each of us has our own reason to take action on climate change. Think about yours, and find the strength to do something about climate change.
Dr. Mirele B. Goldsmith is an environmental psychologist and sustainability consultant. www.greenstridesconsulting.com