What's on Our Mind 1-29-2021

What's On Our Mind

President Joe Biden announced this week that he has taken executive action to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad. This includes rejoining the Paris Agreement and an immediate review of harmful rollbacks of standards that protect our air, water, and communities. His much-needed, bold environmental plans will help to preserve our planet for years to come.

He is also designating climate considerations as an essential element of U.S. foreign policy and national security. Biden's Civilian Climate Corps Initiative will put a new generation of Americans to work conserving and restoring public lands and waters, including increasing reforestation.

Biden’s sweeping plan to restore our environment comes at a time when the Jewish community is celebrating Tu b'Shevat, the lesser-known Jewish holiday dedicated to preserving the environment. During these modern times of climate change, this ancient holiday has new  significance. It calls upon us to reconnect to the land and the natural world.

Whether the Earth becomes one degree hotter seems insignificant to the average person. But what an extra degree actually means is environmental chaos, lives in danger, and families uprooted. The Paris Climate Agreement, which we have thankfully now rejoined, is the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate change agreement. We are all in this together.

Biden this week offered us hope that real action will be taken by our country to stop the devastation of climate change and other environmental damage. Tu b'Shevat has always heralded the coming of spring — a time of hope and rebirth. That time can’t come soon enough for most of us stuck inside during the deep throws of winter and the isolation of the COVID pandemic. 

The promise of brighter, longer, and warmer days of Spring will be a welcome relief from the dark days of Winter. Hopefully more people will have received their COVID shots and our lives will begin to return to normal.

Biden has officially put the U.S.’s focus back on protecting and improving the environment, part of his vision of Tikun Olam.