Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Noah's Ark and Greenpeace

This is quite an amusing publicity stunt.
Mount Ararat, Turkey:
Horses carry wood for the construction of a new Noah's ark, planned by Greenpeace as a means of warning world leaders and pushing them to act to counter global warming.
(Funny what it takes for people to turn to the Bible!)


Anonymous said...

Rav Alex, how come there's little if any talk about climate change and the environment in religious circles?
in australia (and probably the rest of the west) climate change is constantly on the front page. i reckon it's relevant from a religious perspective, in terms of responsibility to future generations, if G-d would let the earth die, etc.
So why isn't it on the religious agenda?

Alex Israel said...

How are you?
All I can say is that it SHOULD be on the religious agenda. (The truth is that the world community is really only waking up to things this year... i.e. central governments and newspapers etc.) We have a strong "environmental" foundation in Judaism.
See ch.2 in Bereshit where man is commanded "le'ovda uleshomra" - which we should understand as a divine mandate for man to preserve the world.
Then, of course there is "Bal Tashchit.
Also, see the Ibn Ezra on parashat kedoshim and Ki Tetze where he talks about the need to preserve the species in the world.
Then theer is teh issue fo "venishmartem meod lenafshoteichem" which should caution us to be worried about depleting ozone etc.
Why does the Jewish world talk about the environment less? So first, i don't know if we do.
Second, Maybe we have a tendency to worry about our narrow Jewish concerens rather than wider universal ones. Sometimes, the feeling is that we "have enough problems of our own to deal with."
Third, possibly it is simply something that governments rather than small communities need to attack.

Having said all that, I do think that it should be more on the agenda. In general we should be talking about the mitzvot listed above mre, and specifically issues including: recycling Sheimot ... or rather parsha sheets etc. recycling in general, obssessive plastic use (disposables etc. and alternative energy supplies. All these should be

Anonymous said...

right on Rav. i think i agree with your second idea, that we jews often focus more on our own problems to the detriment of more universal ones.
for example, in all my years as a chanich of bnei akiva melbourne i've never seen a tochnit, or tzedaka drive, or anything about the environment (except for a half hearted dvar torah every tu bishvat). to me this just feels like we're missing this very literal instance of tikun olam, and as you say le'ovda uleshomra.
i'll stop whinging about this and start working on it.

and recycling sheimot would be great, in terms of the discussion it could generate in a yeshiva.

also, about governments having the responsibility and the means to deal with climate change- i can't imagine many governments being willing to make the kinds of decisions necessary (because of the economic effects) unless there's a big show of public support for those changes. especially a country with as many other problems as Israel.

oh, and i'm very well, thanks for asking.