Environmental Quotes :
What is your single most important goal as a Jewish environmentalist?
My goals are to reveal the ecological connections between our policies and lifestyles and the fate of the planet; to create social connections between individuals and groups working for a sustainable world; and to reveal and create connections between Jewish sources and the answers to a sustainable world for coming generations.
—Jeremy Benstein, deputy director, Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership
My goal is for all to recognize that the earth is filled with the presence of God. If we remember this when we walk by the way, when we lie down and when we rise up; if we could act with God’s household in mind at home, at work, in our communities, when we shop and when we travel, we would fulfill the biblical imperative to be shomrei adamah, keepers of the earth. The rest is commentary.
—Ellen Bernstein, founder, Shomrei Adamah
We all know that if we kill the ecosystem, we kill ourselves. But that bit of logic hasn’t stopped our assault on the planet. It’s easy to rationalize most any behavior when the consequences are 50 years down the road. But would you harm the ones you know and love? That’s why we each need to develop a personal relationship with the natural world.
—Mike Comins, founder, TorahTrek
As a farmer, I am responsible for growing the safest, best tasting and healthiest produce possible. As a Jewish farmer, I feel responsible for educating Jewish communities about their local food systems. If people know where their food comes from and establish relationships with local growers, this will enable them to support organic farming practices with their hearts and their dollars. These sustainable practices are essential to Jewish heritage, which deeply values the intersection of food and tradition.
—Emily Jane Freed, assistant production manager,
Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo
Whether or not there was an active environmental movement, I would feel the need to keep the land around me as pure and simple as it was meant to be. My goal in making farmstead kosher cheeses is twofold: to make cheeses as good as the best nonkosher cheeses and to prove that the best way to do so is by working in harmony with the land.
—Alan J. Glustoff, founder, 5 Spoke Creamery
Jews must understand the relationship between global warming and pollution caused by consuming industrialized cattle. The problem is not theirs alone, but their problem is blanketed in a myth that kosher meat is not a problem. The message is simple: Industrialized meat is not kosher, however the animal is killed.
—Roberta Kalechofsky, writer, animal rights activist
This concept called “the environment” is a launch pad for the little Jewish voice inside of me: It needs to interact with the world, to separate right from wrong and to fight to support the planet that supports us. My goal is to be a cheerleader to other little voices out there.
—Karin Kloosterman, founder, Green Prophet
I have spent 30 years living in Israel’s Arava Valley. For many people, the desert is a wasteland that must be conquered, but for me, the Arava is a unique ecosystem, home to indigenous species that will disappear forever if we do not work to protect them. We have already lost many of the plants and animals we read about in the Bible. If we want the Land of Israel to be there for future generations, we must not only develop it, but nurture and protect it.
— David Lehrer, director, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura
As individuals, we act as global citizens to protect the environment for future generations. We recycle, buy organic, support local farmers, conserve energy, visit national parks. Through my work as a Jewish environmentalist, I hope that as each Jew makes the choice to live sustainably and protect the natural world, they feel connected to the mission of the Jewish people and empowered by our ancient tradition.
—Liore Milgrom-Elcott, project manager, Coalition on the Environment in Jewish Life’s Climate Change Campaign
The rich biodiversity in Israel, coupled with its small size, Zionist imperative for development and the detachment of the new immigrant population from the physical landscape creates a seemingly impossible goal for successful conservation. Educational efforts are critical, along with a nonpartisan approach to environmental legislation that continues to keep up with the needs of an expanding population with increasing demands on the ecosystem.
—Russell Rothman, cochairman, American Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel
My task is to empower young Jews as environmental leaders, to give them a sense of possibility and urgency and to help them find their role as teachers, organic farmers, radical rabbis, community organizers, environmental lawyers and subversive Jews whose blessings invoke a repaired world.
—Shamu Sadeh, director, Adamah
As a Jewish environmentalist, my goal is to increase awareness of the tremendous environmental damage that animal-based diets cause. A 2006 U.N. study indicated that the production of animal foods emits more greenhouse gases than all the cars and other means of transportation worldwide combined. And the number of farmed animals is projected to double by 2050.
—Richard Schwartz, president, Jewish Vegetarians of North America
All of us who love Israel have an obligation to preserve its natural beauty and wonders. As development increases and the country becomes increasingly urbanized, this challenge becomes greater and more complex. It would be unthinkable to compromise our ability to hike in the Golan or Upper Galilee, experience the desert as in biblical times or be dazzled by the incredible variety of tropical fish that live on the shores of Eilat. And for Israelis, having open space, parks and recreational areas is essential to their quality of life. Anyone who agrees with these objectives is a Jewish environmentalist.
—Leon Sokol, cochairman, American Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel
My goal as a Jewish environmentalist is to leave the Land of Israel healthier than it was when I moved here 28 years ago so that my children and grandchildren can have the same landscapes, natural resources, environmental exposures and quality of life that I have enjoyed.
—Alon Tal, professor, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev