Chief Rabbi: ‘We must act on horrifying situation of climate change’

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Chief Rabbi: ‘We must act on horrifying situation of climate change’

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis tells 'Carbon Zero' event that we must all act individually and collectively ahead of the COP26 summit this month.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis speaking at the 'Carbon Zero' event
Chief Rabbi Mirvis speaking at the 'Carbon Zero' event

The Chief Rabbi has warned that climate change “threatens our world” and future generations ahead of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow this month.

Speaking at a joint EcoSynagogue and Board of Deputies event called ‘Carbon Zero, If Not Now When?’ at the Jewish Museum on Sunday, Chief Rabbi Mirvis urged both individual and collective action to tackle climate breakdown.

He told the event: “No one is an island, no one can say this has got nothing to do with me – we have to bear the responsibility individually and collectively for this horrifying situation which threatens our world and which threatens our grandchildren and our great grandchildren.

“All of us together must play our part in guaranteeing that we fulfil our religious obligation to do what we can.”

Rabbi Mark Goldsmith, Rabbi Tanya Sakhnovich, Marie van der Zyl, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, and Rabbi David Mason at the event. Photo: ©Susanna Fields

As part of the event there was an expert panel discussing the subject, featuring Jonathan Waxman, an entrepreneur and Dr Michal Nachmany, an international climate policy and governance expert with background in law, finance, and multinational project management.

The co-chair of EcoSyangogue, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg said: “Judaism tells us that we shall teach our children, but there won’t be Torah to teach our children if there isn’t a world in which they can live.”

Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies, which recently passed a resolution declaring a climate emergency, added that it was “one of the most important subjects not just for the Jewish community, not even just for humanity but for the entire planet.”

“It threatens to upend life as we know it, that our impact on the environment has led to deterioration of climate control – but we can all still make a difference, it’s not too late,” she said.

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