Adopted by the 2021 Delegates Assembly

Sponsored by Jewish Community Relations Council of Silicon Valley, Jewish Community Relations Council of Portland, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Rochester, Union for Reform Judaism, and Rabbinical Assembly

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs has been a strong advocate for combating climate change, which is one of the greatest threats we face. A 2019 United Nations report warns of a looming ecological disaster that will endanger not only countless species, but ultimately humanity itself. Now more than ever, there is an urgency to renew and strengthen our commitment to address this global crisis. In the past five years, the climate crisis has substantially worsened. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, climate trends have moved substantially in the wrong direction:

Sustaining the environment is an important component of the Jewish value l’ovdah ul’shomrah, “to till it and tend it” (Gen. 2:15), and yishuvo shel olam, that we further God’s intention to maintain a habitable world. Responding to this challenge is equally motivated by the principle of pikuach nefesh, that one who saves a life, saves the entire world.

Recent events call out for action. Climate change is exacerbating existing racial and socioeconomic inequities. Climate hazards and natural disasters are harming marginalized, lowincome and vulnerable communities – particularly Communities of Color – at accelerating rates around the world. There is a growing number of climate refugees leaving regions increasingly uninhabitable due to flood, fire, drought, rising sea levels, and conflict over dwindling natural resources. Failure to address climate change now will have catastrophic and irreversible consequences.

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