What is the concept of Eco-Judaism? How might this represent the current view of how we see climate/environmental issues? Should all belief systems should have a credo or thought relating to...

What is the concept of Eco-Judaism? How might this represent the current view of how we see climate/environmental issues? Should all belief systems should have a credo or thought relating to environmental concerns? Why or why not?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Eco-Judaism teaches that the earth was made by and belongs to God. God only distributed the land among humans, allowing them to be temporary residents. While mankind's relationship with the earth is only temporary, God's relationship with the earth is continual. Hence, we worship God by being good stewards of the earth. Our need to protect the earth and all of its animal species is most evident in the story of Noah found in Genesis. Noah was commanded by God to build an arc in preparation for a flood that would cover the whole earth and to bring on board seven of each clean animal and two of each unclean animal, showing us that not only is it important to protect animals, it is also important to maintain the earth's biodiversity (7:2, NASB; Eco Faith, "Judaism"). Biblical passages can also be found condemning such things as destroying the earth, causing extinction, and not being mindful of pollution ("Judaism").

Eco-Jewish beliefs certainly echo environmentalists' concerns today. In fact, it has been reported that this month 300 rabbis signed a "Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis," petitioning for "vigorous action to prevent worsening climate disruption, to seek eco-social justice, and to shape a world of shared sustainable abundance" (The Huffington Post, Rabbi Waskow, "300+ Rabbis Sign Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis"). They did so in response Pope Francis's own encyclical to the Church and world to address the "climate crisis in the context of worsening concentrations of wealth and power and worsening degradations of poverty" (Waskow).

Beyond the Pope and rabbis taking action, the world's governments will again be meeting at the UN summit in Paris this December to try and reach "sweeping accord" in policies to "limit greenhouse-gas emissions" (The New York Times, Yardley & Goodstein, "Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change").

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