You’re not required to complete the task, but neither can you desist from it.
– Pirkei Avot 2:16
The word brit means “covenant.” (And the word hazon means “vision.”)
The Brit Hazon is our opportunity to make a personal commitment to do better – to take a stand and take action – as we manifest our vision of a more sustainable and equitable world for all. We are in a global climate crisis and Jewish tradition compels us to respond. We must envision the world we wish to create and we must see ourselves as part of the solution.
We invite you to participate in the Brit Hazon and commit to one of the following behavior changes for a six-week period. Click on the commitments below to read more about them. When you decide on the commitment you want to make, select “actions to [commitment]” for a list of specific actions you can take for the next six weeks to achieve it. At that point, you’ll select 1-3 actions and commit to the Brit Hazon. If after seeing the actions for a particular commitment you decide you want to choose a different commitment, just come back to this page. Join a growing community of people taking action to create a healthier and more sustainable world for all!
The Brit Hazon Commitments:
Industrial production of meat and dairy is one of the largest contributors to climate change today. From the crops produced to feed these animals that degrade soil health and create a dependency on chemical inputs derived from petroleum products, to the enormous amounts of greenhouse gases produced by these creatures, to the swaths of rains forests that are clear cut for the grazing of cattle, industrial farming of animals is destroying ecosystems and directly causing a rise in global temperatures. Transitioning to a plant-rich diet can significantly reduce the impact you have on planet Earth.
Around the world, almost a third of all food produced is not eaten. Not only is this a waste of resources like water, fertilizer, labor, and land but the methane released as this food decomposes accounts for almost 8% of all global emissions. While we might not individually be able to address systemic waste issues we can control how much food we buy, how much we let go to waste and what we do with that waste – compost anyone?
Refrigeration and transportation exhaust are two major causes of greenhouse gas emissions around the world, and much of those emissions come from moving food across the globe. By choosing to grow your own produce and/or buy from local vendors, you support your local economy (increasing the quality of life for everyone in town) and lower your carbon footprint!
The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but we consume 30% of the world’s resources and create 30% of the world’s waste. If everyone in the world consumed at this rate, we would need 4 planets to sustain our habits. And, the volume of waste we are creating has doubled in the last 30 years! By buying less stuff we can significantly decrease our environmental footprint while freeing up our resources for more of what really matters.
The over consumption of single-use plastics and other single-use items like packaging is connected to all of the top 10 contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. By choosing to reduce our consumption of single-use items and more responsibly disposing of them, we decrease the resource demand on our Earth and also prevent harmful waste from entering our water system and harming delicate ecosystems.
Our rampant use of electricity from non-renewable sources not only taxes our aging infrastructure around the world but also produces significant amounts of toxic pollution contributing to a rise in global temperatures. By reducing the amount of energy we use by adjusting our thermostats, hanging our clothes to dry, or enjoying Shabbat, we significantly decrease our carbon footprint.
Once you have completed one commitment after six weeks, consider signing up for another one. You can partake in the Shmita Challenge by aiming to complete all six commitments before Rosh Hashanah 2021 (the start of the next Shmita year)! Sign up for one six-week commitment and complete it; then come back and sign up for another; and repeat.