I misreported the "Cruz tweet." It was a fake, broadly circulated on social media to hundreds of thousands of people. I apologize. He never promised to believe in "climate change" if Texas frose over. T
But this past week, Texas froze. All over. Dozens died, maybe hundreds. Can we expect Senator Cruz to change, even thoigh he didn't promise to?
No, because his false and stubborn denial of climate crisis was not the product of stupidity or ignorance. It was the product of vicious corruption. It was the product of selling himself, body and soul, to the Carbon Pharaohs who brought this Plague upon Texas.
If the years they and he imposed servitude to Coal and Oil had instead been used to emplace solar-energy co-ops, those years would have saved lives and limbs of Texans “lost” when Global Scorching, Weather Weirding, poured unprecedented cold and snow on Texas. Those lives and limbs and futures were not “lost,” like a stray quarter fallen on the ground by accident. Not “lost” but robbed, killed, destroyed, by the Greed of Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Banking, and their toady senators and governors.
Did Cruz care? Not hardly. His money paid for a swift trip to Cancun, Mexico, because his own house was “freezing.”
What can we do? The Shalom Center is supporting a campaign initiated (just before the Texas Freeze) by Solar United Neighbors (SUN) for a federal program to fund the solarization of 30 million American homes.
There are two major ways in which Jewish and other faith communities can build this effort:
- Synagogues, churches, mosques, temples, and other congregations can direct their energy to organizing neighbor-based or congregant-based solar co-ops, just as they organize adult-study groups, tikkun-olam projects, and special observances of festivals. In other words, they can define solar co-ops as a religious expression or even a mitzvah -- an obligation, in order to save Earth and Humanity from climate chaos, save neighhborhoods from economic despair, and provide local resilience through co-ops already on the ground if disaster strikes.
- Congregations and their support denominations, clergy organizations, interfaith and multireligious organizations can organize to support the “30 Million Solar Homes” campaign. To prevent the Big Freeze in Texas, the Big Wildfire in California, unprecedented floods in the Midwest, climate chaos everywhere.
This approach is urged on us by the needs of today: the planetary need to shift from burning fossil fuels to drawing on energy from the sun, the neighborly need to meet the economic and spiritual needs of neighborhoods made desperate by the absence of jobs and the absence of a future.
And let us respond to a teaching of hope from a crisis long ago that speaks even more boldly to a crisis of today: the astounding ancient words of the Prophet Malachi, spoken about 2500 years ago:
"Here! The day is coming
That will flame like a furnace, “
Says the Infinite YHWH / Yahhhh,
The Breath of Life --...
“Yet for those of you who revere My Name,
Yes! My Name, Yahhhh, the Interbreath of Life!
a sun of justice will arise
with healing in its wings / its rays.”
(Malachi 3: 19-20)
We indeed see the "solar energy" of the sun's rays as the healing of unbearable heating of Earth into a furnace. We see the solar solution as a sacred remedy -- not all we need to do, but crucial. Please write us at Solar@theshalomcenter.org if you want specific resources to work on this campaign in your own community.
For us, this did not begin overnight. The Shalom Center -- for reasons economic, ecological, and spiritual -- has been working with SUN for six years, and as a result The Shalom Center inspired and organized the creation of the Northwest Philadelphia Solar Co-op.
Several months ago, we began urging a national program that would support solar and wind co-ops in every sort of neighborhood – farm and rural as well as big-city and suburban. We saw this partly as a way of dissolving some of the bitter hostility to the concept of renewable energy, just as the reality of Obamacare dissolved much of he original bitter opposition to the idea.
Bill McKibben was excited by the proposal, and praised it in his New Yorker column. Then we discovered that SUN was developing a very similar proposal for national legislation.
In our Hanukkah 2020 webinar (for the festival of conserving energy – one day’s worth of olive oil that served the sacred need for eight days) we reported the first stages of the SUN program. Beginning at a Tu B’Shvat webinar, we have worked closely with the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) on what became SUN’s “30 Million Solar Homes” campaign.
Last week, The Shalom Center started calling and emailing a number of Jewish groups to support the “30 Million” program. COEJL, the Jewish Climate Action Network (JCAN) of Boston, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, have already responded -- not only signing on but also ready to do the work of organizing. “Dayenu” agreed to sign as a symbol of support. We will keep working to bring more Jewish and multireligious support.
Moreover, we and COEJL have proposed the creation of a “Faith Collaborative” to work with SUN within the broad coalition.
Again: We see this as a major priority. Please write us at Solar@theshalomcenter.org if you want specific resources to work on this in your own community. And if you wish to help The Shalom Center do this work of prophetic organizing, please click on the “Contribute” banner in the left margin of this page.
Shalom, salaam, paz, peace, namaste! -- Arthur