What is the "Green New Deal"? To start with, here is a graphic description:
[This visual summary was shaped by Alanna Kleinman, rabbinical student and an Ira Silverman Memorial Intern at The Shalom Center.]
There are at least two ways in which ancient biblical traditions point toward support for the Green New Deal and its youthful energizers, the Sunrise Movement.
Before I explain those two ways, let me first share two next steps forward:
1) All around the country, the Sunrise Movement is carrying out a “teaching tour” about the Green New Deal, with town halls in many cities. To access places where a Town Hall is scheduked, please click to https://www.sunrisemovement.org/tour
2) The Shalom Center is weaving a four-session Webinar on how to bring the best of spiritual wisdom into our own commitment to lift up life and justice. That is our way of turning the hearts of the Elders to the hearts of the Youngers. For details on how to join in doing that, please click to
Now – how can a 3000-year-old tradition speak to our climate crisis today?
First, the biblical moment of transformation — the one we have just remembered at Passover – is about the Resistance against Pharaoh. And Pharaoh is described as a tyrant who not only subjugates and murders human beings but also through his stubbornness, cruelty, and obsessive addiction to his own power brings many “plagues” upon his own country. These plagues are all ecological disasters. Because of them, people thirst, hunger, and die.
We learn that social injustice –- subjugating people -- and ecological insanity –- attempting to subjugate Earth, our common home -- are deeply intertwined. Today we face Corporate Carbon Pharaohs who despoil Earth, endanger the entire planetary web of life, and in the process bring flood, fire, drought, disease -- and Death – upon the peoples of the world. And today we see a Rising Resistance.
Secondly: Whence comes this Resistance? The very last passage of the last of the Hebrew Prophets, Malachi 3: 23-24, speaks for God Who is the Interbreathing Spirit of all life: “I will send you Elijah the Prophet to turn the hearts of the parents to the children and the hearts of the children to the parents, lest I come and smite the Earth with utter destruction.”
It is the Youth and the Elders working together, with love for each other, that must prevent the utter destruction of Earth.
And according to Malachi, what is the destruction that endangers us all? “The day is coming that will burn like a furnace. But those who revere My Interbreathing Name [YHWH] will find a remedy in the wings, the rays, of a sun of justice.” (Malachi 3: 19-21)
Dare we say that the day is hard upon us of global scorching, the burning of our planet like a furnace? And that the remedy is solar energy and the wind created by those flapping solar wings?
Dare we say that the young people who by the hundreds sat-in on Speaker Pelosi’s office when she pooh-poohed the Green New Deal are the “children” to whom the “parents” must turn our hearts?
Dare we say that the ancient biblical message teaches that social justice and ecological sanity -- compassion and sharing among human beings and among humankind and all the other life-forms of our planet – is necessary for our lives to flourish in our own generation?
The policy positions that join social justice and eco-justice are encoded in the Green New Deal.
The town hall will feature a number of political, movement, and community leaders as speakers. This community forum in Philly will enhance the network of local leaders for the GND and set the vision for a GND in Philadelphia. The far right has been waging an all out attack on the GND at the federal level, but through events like town halls we can show that we have the grassroots support on our side, and vision for what the GND would mean for Philadelphia.
Participants will reflect on the pain of living through the climate crisis, the fury at the fossil fuel billionaires and political elites who have failed us, the hope of finally having an opportunity to solve the crisis, and the resolve to see that opportunity all the way through to governing power.
Speakers will include political leaders who are championing the effort for the Green New Deal in City Hall and local community leaders who are leading the way to the transition to a society that works for all of us and protects the air we breathe, water we drink, and places we call home.
And to put you in a hope-filled mood for the Green New Deal town meeting, you can enjoy a light-hearted yet instructive glimpse into the future of “how we faced down our modern pharaohs to save ourselves and Planet Earth.” Watch this video in which Congresswoman AOC sketches – literally sketches! -- that possible future history:
Remember: The Shalom Center is weaving a four-session Webinar on how to bring the best of spiritual wisdom into our own commitment to lift up life and justice. That is our way of turning the hearts of the Elders to the hearts of the Youngers. For details on how to join in doing that, please click to