Warming to the Idea

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With the convergence of the Shmita and our High Holiday introspection of what we can do better in the coming year, we should be more focused than ever about the danger of global warming’s ominous momentum. 

On Sept. 21, if all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather from all over the world to participate in the People’s Climate March through Manhattan. The event, expected to be the largest-ever demonstration in support of action to stop global warming, has been timed to send a clear message to the United Nations Climate Summit taking place on Sept. 23.
 
There is another number related to the march that stands out for us: 100.
 
That is the estimated number of Jewish organizations participating in the march — out of more than 1,000 total groups involved. Participants come from across the denominational spectrum as well as from nonprofits like Hillel, Habonim Dror and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. 
 
Philadelphia will be well-represented, with an estimated 3,000-plus traveling to the march, including event sponsors like the Reconstructionist synagogue Kol Tzedek and the Orthodox Mekor HaBracha.
 
For these and many other Jewish participants, the timing of the march has an added layer of significance. It comes just days before Rosh Hashanah and the renewed emphasis of the Shmita ritual, which dictates that every seven years, Earth is given its own Shabbat by letting farmlands lie fallow.
 
With the convergence of the Shmita and our High Holiday introspection of what we could have done better in 5774 — and what we can do better in 5775 — we should be more focused than ever about the clear and present danger of global warming’s ominous momentum. 
 
We should also be more prepared than ever to do what is necessary to reverse that momentum. There will be strength in numbers on Sept. 21, and hopefully those present will be part of a catalyst not unlike what transformed women’s suffrage and civil rights. 
 
The participating organizations and individuals — and the rest of us who should be doing all we can to convince lawmakers to draft and pass emissions legislation — can take heart from an unlikely source.
 
According to a report in USA Today, at least 150 corporations around the world — including ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical and Microsoft — have already begun creating business plans that assume a tax on their carbon footprint. 
 
When petrochemical companies and MoveOn.org are on the same page, there is the real possibility that we have finally reached a tipping point.
 
Let’s make our new year, 5775, a date that will resonate like 1920 and 1964. Let’s finally heed the word of God from Ecclesiastes 7:13: “See to it that you do not spoil and destroy My world; for if you do, there will be no one else to repair it.” 

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