An interfaith statement against climate change


Sunday, May 27, 2018

I participated in an interfaith demonstration at the State House in Boston in March for an exodus from fossil fuels. As a Jew, I was pleased that three rabbis were among the clergy who spoke from their traditions.

The rabbis shared the story of the Jewish observance of Passover, the story of the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt. We remember the 10 plagues before the pharaoh finally allowed our ancestors to escape their slavery.

Traditionally Jews gather for a Passover meal called a seder when we recite prayers, observe rituals, retell the story of Exodus, and eat special foods that symbolize our exodus. Most Jews remember with fondness when they were children loving the seder meal conducted by the head of the extended family. All the seders that I grew up with were full of family and excitement after many days of preparation.

At some point the leader of the seder would charge the children with finding the hidden matzo and being well rewarded of the find. It commonly went on until late in the evening with many children falling asleep at the table.

Other clergy at the Boston rally spoke from their own traditions.

Today we are all faced with contemporary plagues as we face climate change. The rabbis brought forth the plagues we now face of mass extinction in large part to our usage of fossil fuels. Floods, droughts, temperature extremes, sea levels rising, hurricanes, and massive forest fires have devastated communities around the globe.

The clergy representing “Exodus from Fossil Fuel: An Interfaith Witness for Climate Action” wrote a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker, saying that “As faith leaders, we feel a spiritual and moral obligation to express in the strongest possible terms our commitment to protecting the web of life.” They continue “We are fiercely dedicated to preserving a habitable world.”

The list of fossil fuel projects being built throughout the state will increase our dependence on fossil fuels in spite of recent studies that have made it clear that the commonwealth does not need new fossil fuel infrastructure to meet its energy needs.

The interfaith clergy group requested that Governor Baker “meet with a small group of concerned faith leaders to discuss the values that lead us to oppose construction of all new fossil fuel infrastructure in the Bay State.” They wrote “We would also like to share with you our vision of how Massachusetts can move quickly to 100 percent renewable energy in a way that provides jobs and healthier living for all the residents of our commonwealth.”

To date, the governor has not replied to their request. Please email, write or call Gov. Baker to work to move the commonwealth away from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable energy.

(Governor Baker; 617-725-4005; Room 280, Massachusetts State House, Boston, MA 02133)

Hattie Nestel is a longtime activist living in Athol. She is deeply concerned about anti-semitism.