Wednesday, January 3, 2007

A Rabbi Urges People of Faith to Unite around Climate Issues

Here is an excerpt from an essay by Rabbi Warren G. Stone published on

In a world where matters of faith seem so often and so tragically to divide us, there is no issue that aligns us more deeply than our shared dependence upon and sacred responsibility to this tiny planet, enfolded within its fragile atmosphere, spinning in the vastness of time and space. I experienced this shared conviction most profoundly, when in 1997, I served as the Jewish NGO representative at the United Nations climate talks in Kyoto, Japan. I met with Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist leaders from around the world. We spoke at Kyoto’s largest Buddhist Temple, and all concurred that our human actions, our sins, have damaged the environment. Each speaking from the voice of his or her own authentic spiritual tradition, we affirmed our religious responsibility to act. Amidst Buddhist chanting, I blew the shofar, a ram’s horn, the blast of sound that has been Judaism’s ancient call to action since the days we wandered, searching for our way, in the desert.
I carried this profound experience back to my own country and my own community. Here, too, I found that faith traditions can readily unite on issues of climate change.

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