The Green Menorah is both a tree made up of branches and a Tree made up of Light, as the Torah describes the Temple Menorah (Exodus 25: 31-39.)
It is the symbol of a covenant among Jewish communities and congregations to renew the miracle of Hanukkah in our own generation: Using one day's oil to meet eight days' needs: doing our part so that by 2020, US oil consumption is cut by seven-eighths.
We invite you to join in this covenant to heal our planet and our human race from the climate crisis of global scorching.
There are two aspects of the Covenant: hands-on action by congregations and congregants to reduce actual CO2 emissions on their own and to infuse their own celebrations of Jewish festivals, life-cycle events, prayers, and education with eco-consciousness; and advocacy for change in public policy.
Just as the Menorah at the Holy Temple was rooted in the image of a tree, its branches and buds, so we need to renew the sense that our earth calls on us to light the Planetary Menorah by reducing our use of oil.
The SEVEN BRANCHES of the Green Menorah symbolize earthy actions in our own congregations and households. The SEVEN LIGHTS in the Green Menorah symbolize seven actions to light up change in public policy beyond our own homes.
To save our planet, crops, water supply, & coastlines from the ravages of climate crisis & global scorching, The Shalom Center urges these seven directions of PERSONAL & POLICY change at all governmental levels, corporate and labor-union decisions, and household / congregational action. To work for these policy changes, write Office@theshalomcenter.org or Shalom Center, 6711 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia PA 19119.
1. Making carbon pay the real costs of its effect on climate:
Personal change: households set 5% of our annual coal, oil, & gasoline costs as tzedakah ("charitable" contributions) to support sustainable-energy activism.
Public policy: requiring energy producers to pay for the carbon emissions their products will cause, through a carbon tax, carbon caps, or a combination.
2. Paying for low-carbon energy sources:
For households, buying energy-conserving appliances, joining wind-energy plans, etc.
Public policy: ending subsidies to such carbon-producing sources of energy as coal, oil, and corn-based ethanol; constantly increasing subsidies for such non-carbon-emitting sources of energy as wind, solar, switch-grass.
Greening our own new homes and congregations, and retrogreening our present buildings.
Public policy: enacting strong building-code regulations for new buildings and for retrogreening old ones.
As households and congregations, car-pooling, walking, or biking to congregations, jobs, etc.
Public policy: ending subsidies to conventional autos, highways, and airplanes; strictly limiting emissions from autos and airplanes; raising subsidies to bikes, rail, walking, and to holding long-distance meetings by teleconference.
5. Land use:
Personal choices of urban-style high-density living (whether in actual cities or in suburbs)
Policy: subsidize and invest in urban recreation, workplaces, etc. vs. sprawl and low-density housing.
In Jewish life, infusing festivals, life-cycle markers (especially intergenerational markers like bar/bat mitzvah & confirmation), prayer, and Torah-study with concern for the earth and climate.
In public policy, subsidizing scientific climate-crisis analysis; climate-centered educational projects throughout school years from pre-K through grad school; support for art, literature, music, dance, film, games, etc. that address climate crisis.
7. Shabbat and restful time:
In our individual and congregational practice, strongly encouraging -- even more than before -- setting aside restful time and making minimal use of carbon-emitting energy for the time of Shabbat itself, as a wise and sacred Jewish practice.
In public policy, requiring paid leave and holiday time for parental care and neighborhood-centered celebration.