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7 Ways Jews Can Slow the Climate Crisis

January 23, 2020 | by Mark Miller

“Sorry I can’t be at Aunt Gertie’s funeral. I’ll be at home not contributing to global pollution in her honor.”

JEWLARIOUS SATIRE – The great majority of scientists agree that human action is enabling a climate crisis. That’s right, we’re all enablers. As if we Jews don’t have enough guilt already. It’s been proven that carbon pollution from fossil fuels is heating our planet, throwing its natural systems out of balance. The results? Hotter temperatures, more powerful storms, and rising seas, threatening the health and lives of today’s families and those of generations to come. To combat this, many countries have already begun the shift from dirty fossil fuels to affordable clean energy sources like wind and solar. They are ready to leave fossil fuels behind and create a sustainable future together. And, good news, fellow enablers – the tools and technology to do it are here today.

Jews, who have often lead the way in scientific thinking and innovation, well understand that the choice is ours, that we can solve this crisis and power our lives and economies without destroying our planet. But time is of the essence; we must act now. And we are acting now. Here are ten current, most effective ways we Jews can use to slow the climate crisis. Feel free to suggest others. Please. I ask so little of you.

  1. Manischewitz-Powered Vehicles – Limiting the use of fossil fuels such as oil, carbon and natural gas andreplacing them with renewable and cleaner sources of energy. Israel’s Sabra Auto Works, in conjunction with Manischewitz Wine Company, is developing a consumer automobile that will be powered solely by Manischewitz wine. You’ll be able to choose Concord for a sweet and balanced ride, Cherry for a full-bodied journey, or Elderberry for a hearty excursion bursting with the aroma of the open road. The cars will be kosher and, when they reach the end of their lifespans, biodegradable.

  2. Stop driving gasoline-powered vehicles! Okay, maybe you’re not 100% sold on a wine-powered Toyota. But there’s still an effective, auto-related action we Jews can take to help the climate – get rid of our cars completely! In a study of actions on climate change according to their impact, going car-free was the number-one most effective action an individual could take. And I know what you’re thinking – don’t I need my car for work, dates, taking the kids to the beach, etc.? Need? No. Want? Yes. But as my childhood rabbi, Rabbi Heshy Fluggenbaum so eloquently stated, “If we can put a man on the moon, you can learn to get along without a poison-spewing vehicle.” (I may be paraphrasing him just a bit.)

  3. Captive Audiences for Jewish-Themed Musicals – People need to exercise their rights as citizens and consumers by putting pressure on their governments and on companies to make the changes that are urgently needed. Jews who march into boardrooms and force board members to witness their recreations of scenes from “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Hello, Dolly” can soon gain a captive audience to whom to make their demands for, say, getting rid of financial instruments related to the fossil fuel industry, avoiding fossil fuel stocks, or divesting themselves of banks that invest in high-emission industries. And maybe then, they can one day look forward to an increasingly clear “Sunrise, Sunset”.

  4. Go solar – Make the switch! Switching to commonly used renewables, like solar, geothermal, bioenergy, hydropower and onshore wind, will be on par with or cheaper than fossil fuels. What Member of the Tribe doesn’t enjoy saving money? Okay, sure, this one guy in North Dakota, Solomon Spankowitz, is not at all into the thrifty lifestyle, but Sol’s always been a maverick. For the rest of us, though, if it’s better for our wallets and better for the planet, doesn’t it make sense? Allow me to answer for you. Yes.

  5. Stop eating meat – Okay, yes, this goes against everything our Jewish mothers told us while growing up, but check this out: the meat industry appears to be affecting global warming. How? Cow burps and ruder sounds from their processing food releases a buttload of methane, a greenhouse gas. Also, we feed cows with other sources of food, which is quite costly and inefficient. Not to mention the fact that all this requires lots of water plus fertilizers that release greenhouse gasses, and endless land, which requires clearing forests, which in turn adds more carbon emissions. Not convinced? What, is the planet “chopped livah”. Notice how I changed the spelling on that for you? I am saving the planet just by my new writing style!

  6. Stop flying – 1.6 tons of carbon dioxide can be released during a typical transatlantic round-trip flight. That’s nearly as much as the average yearly emissions of just one person in India. While our scientists continue to figure out how to create commercial flights that run on solar energy, we Jews can use this carbon footprint statistic to our advantage and get out of unpleasant family gatherings, high school and college reunions, funerals, and so on. “Sorry I can’t be at Aunt Gertie’s funeral, but I’ll be at home not contributing to global pollution in her honor. I’m sure she’d understand.” Added benefit: avoiding plane crashes, hijacking, long lines, long layovers, airplane food, airplane illnesses, airplane crying babies. Suddenly, stopping flying is making increasingly more sense, no?

  7. Stop shopping – Or, at least stop shopping the same way you’ve been shopping. In other words, shop differently. Meaning be aware of the carbon footprint that everything we buy has, either in how it’s produced or how it’s transported. Imported food has a higher carbon footprint due to the energy and fuel expended in its international transport. It has more “food miles” than local produce. Buy food that’s local and seasonal; avoid food that’s imported. Better still, grow your own. Be the Jewish version of Johnny Appleseed – Moishe Melonseed.

Well, hopefully this will inspire us all to do more to slow the climate crisis. Stay tuned for further installments of how we Jews can help slow the budget crisis, the poverty crisis, the disease crisis, the crime crisis, and so on. Then, we’ll have dessert and take a shvitz. I’ve got it all planned out.


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