Extended interviews with some of the people in the episode are also available online at PBS:
Jewish: Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, leader of Adath Shalom synagogue in Washington D.C., a congregation that has become a model for green energy initiatives.
Christian: Reverend Sally Bingham, founder of Interfaith Power and Light.
Muslim: Sarah Jawaid director of Green Muslims, a relatively new organization seeking to re-connect with Islamic teachings about caring for the environment.
Also mentioned in the PBS segment (to give both sides of the issue) is an anti-ecology video called Resisting the Green Dragon, put out by a bunch of extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalists. I link to them here only because I think we need to know our enemy. "Know what to answer the unbeliever," says the Talmud. In this case, the "unbelief" is outright denial that climate change exists or that we are responsible for taking care of God's Creation. The group also claims that developing green energy is oppressive to the poor -- a stance that I find absurd. Their full video is not free to view online, but believe me, the 12-minute preview is all you need to get the gist. UGH!!! (See comments area below for instructions on how to access it.)
|Chinese Jade Dragon carving|
Unfortunately, right-wing Christians are not the only ones with their heads in the sand. I have run across a lot of climate change denial in the Jewish community as well, especially among the Orthodox, who tend to lean to the Right politically. I have more than once been told by fellow Hasidim that global warming is a hoax invented by Al Gore. One of the reasons I founded this blog was to reach out to my fellow religious Jews and say, "Learning Torah includes ecology, too -- if 'the Earth is the Lord's' (Psalm 24:1), then we are offending God by polluting and destroying it."
And so, for my part in Earth Day today, here is the link to my short video "Saving Our Imperiled Planet: Part 1, Earth and Torah, which deals with why Jews today are often so disconnected from nature and the environment, and my own journey toward reconnecting with the Earth. (although this video is more about animals than global warming per se, feedlots and factory farms do contribute a lot of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.) There are both historical and spiritual reasons for this disconnect from nature in the Jewish community, as well as the very practical reason that most Orthodox Jews nowadays live in urban environments where there is little contact with the outdoors.
I encourage you to check out all these links, and give some serious thought today as to how you are relating to nature within your own spiritual practice. Let's make every day Earth Day!