By Geoffrey Barron, Barbara Diskin, and Jan W. Greenberg
In Spring 2023, a group of us met at Micah to talk about a tough subject: climate change. To examine climate change is to encounter forces that seem overwhelming: our whole society built on fossil fuels, the power and influence of the big oil companies, the weather itself running amuck. How do you go about changing the weather?
It’s hard to think about or see anything we can do. But walking away? That’s like seeing a slow-motion crash about to happen and turning one’s back.
When something is hard to think about, it helps to talk it through in the company of like minds and good listeners, seeking insight and fresh ideas. So that’s what we did at our initial meeting: we shared thoughts and information, listened to one another, and came away energized and more hopeful.
Slowing climate change is not an on/ off switch. There is much to be done—and quickly. But a recent UN report suggests that whatever we can do will help lessen the damage. There are myriad ways to contribute as individuals: concrete actions such as composting; asking a neighbor their thoughts about climate change and listening well so they have a chance to hear themselves think, helping to elect political candidates who take the issue seriously, and using our personal investments to encourage movement away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.
At the meeting, everyone got a chance to think about what they want to do next. We also brainstormed ways to make Micah itself a “greener” place – by using fewer resources and cutting down on waste, for example, by using dishes and utensils that can be washed in the efficient Temple Micah dishwasher instead of disposables, and by having the choir sing from iPads instead of printing music for each Shabbat service.
We want to explore how Micah’s youth might be involved. Future meetings might also feature guest speakers, or deeper dialogue on how we might collaborate with national Jewish and other organizations in larger campaigns tackling climate change.
Climate change will be a part of our lives from now on. Its impact on our families, our finances, our communities, and our world will only grow. Let’s take it on together.
This article originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of the Vine.