The environment has become a great priority due to all the damage we have generated to our planet. The ozone, global warming, all the air and water pollution is killing our earth. We need to have an active role in the caring of the earth now more than ever.
Simple actions that can help the planet heal, are part of our responsibility as well. Actions like learning to recycle, having shorter showers in the mornings, turning off the lights you are not using, having a garden, picking up your trash when you are out. All small but very significant actions that can help our home planet get better.
Israeli have dedicated their knowledge to helping with technology and scientific developments, searching for better and more sustainable ways of making the earth a better place. Some have worked on improving water irrigation, others in solar energy as a sustainable source of energy, others in developing softwares for a greener planet. Yosef Meystel mentions Solaredge as an example invention for the care of the environment. Our young professionals and scientists have in their hands the answers and ideas to making our planet live better and longer.
Some of the jewish teachings also tell us that we have a great responsibility with our environment, here are a list of some, we can all be related to and feel motivated to start having a more active role in the caring for our planet earth. Teach your young ones, they too can start to help in the planet becoming greener every day.
- One of the most fundamental beliefs in judaism is that the universe was created by God and he has ownership over it, it’s not ours to do with it as we please, and in this case to destroy it. We must take care of the place that has been lent to us in the most respectful way. We should understand that like our body and soul, the earth belongs to God and we should take responsibility in taking care of it, if we love and respect God.
- The Creation made by God is sufficient, it has an order and it is structured, it has a harmony of its own. It serves God and we need to respect that, all our actions should be directed to serve that order and structure (Psalm 148). God’s wisdom for the creation of the universe and of men itself with the concept of serving through it and creating a community that lives in harmony and is committed to helping instead of destroying is another idea jewish tradition loves to share.
- The book of Creations, teaches us to see ourselves as beings that are connected to the earth’s rhythms, this means not only to try to understand it scientifically but to also cherish the place we have the fortune to live in. If we fulfill the commandments of loving and fearing God, we will have a better understanding of the reasons why we should care for the environment. When we are studying the Book of Creation, we should admire and reverence the Creation, and desire to take care of it with all our love.
- The Halakhah has clear laws that prohibit wasteful consumptions, when we are not careful of how we use resources, leaving lights on when they are not used, using more water than needed with long showers, not organizing your recycling habits, we are not considering the use of resources in a good way. Always think before over consuming and creating more waste.
- The tradition says we are obligated to preserve life, we should not harm ourselves, others or the creation of God. We need to understand the impact that our actions have now and in the future. Always remember the community good is more important that the personal desires. All creatures are made by God, so all animals, plants and humans should be treated with love and respect. Prayer for the good of all the beautiful creatures made by God help us be more conscious of the blessings we have been given.
- The concept in jewish tradition of Tzedek, which teaches the importance of equity, justice and righteousness as a value we all should have is another way of understanding why we need to take care of the environment, creating a balance of resources and not wasting excessively.
- The creation was made by God, however we have damaged great part of it. Jewish environmentalists, like to talk about the Tikkun ‘olam, (repair of the earth) This is an activity we have the responsibility to do, since we are the only ones who can. Only us and God can help the world heal and become the paradise presented by God in Garden of Eden.
All these teachings have one very important goal, to help all of our community understand the reasons why the environment needs to be cared for. Why we should help with daily actions as well as develop new ways of making our planet sustainable and better.