Darkness, and light – from the United Nations

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 | Erev Chanukah


Dear All,

First: a huge thank you to every single person who has supported us in 2020. A record number of people supported us on Giving Tuesday. I and we appreciate it. This year we survived, we thrived, we’ve touched people’s lives. And we hope to catapult into 2021 and beyond. If you want to be a stakeholder in Hazon, please click here to give a year-end gift.

Second: practically the last thing I did, pre-Covid, was attend a superb Tu B’Shvat gathering in Seattle, organized by Lisa Colton and Rabbi Josh Weisman and a bunch of their friends.  Now with them and with a growing number of partners we’re happy to announce the launch of The Big Bold Jewish Climate Fest, over Tu B’Shvat in late January – one week after the inauguration. Go to the website for info or – better yet – to propose sessions you’d like to deliver.

Third: Campus at Camp looks like it’s happening. Registration closes tomorrow. If you want to join us, click here.

The remainder of this email I give over to António Guterres – the Secretary General of the UN. He gave a speech at Columbia University last week which we should all read, or watch. It explains better than I can why Hazon exist and why – despite the fact that we none of us have enough time or money or knowledge – we all of us, in 2021, need to start to allocate a little bit more time, and a little bit more money, to raising the Jewish community’s game in relation to environmental sustainability. As we dig out from Covid, as organizations lengthen their planning cycles – this is what we need to move up our to do list.

“Chag urim sameach” to one and all. It means “happy festival of lights.” May the world’s natural resources last eight times longer than our current trajectory. May our clothes and objects be fewer, better, and more durable. And may we bring light to everyone around us. Ok – now here’s the Secretary General…

Dear friends,

I thank Columbia University for hosting this gathering — and I welcome those joining online around the world.

We meet in this unusual way as we enter the last month of this most unusual year.

We are facing a devastating pandemic, new heights of global heating, new lows of ecological degradation and new setbacks in our work towards global goals for more equitable, inclusive and sustainable development.

To put it simply, the state of the planet is broken.

Dear friends,

Humanity is waging war on nature.

This is suicidal.

Nature always strikes back — and it is already doing so with growing force and fury.

Biodiversity is collapsing.  One million species are at risk of extinction.

Ecosystems are disappearing before our eyes.

Deserts are spreading.

Wetlands are being lost.

Every year, we lose 10 million hectares of forests.

Oceans are overfished — and choking with plastic waste.  The carbon dioxide they absorb is acidifying the seas.

Coral reefs are bleached and dying.

Air and water pollution are killing 9 million people annually – more than six times the current toll of the pandemic.

And with people and livestock encroaching further into animal habitats and disrupting wild spaces, we could see more viruses and other disease-causing agents jump from animals to humans.

Let’s not forget that 75 per cent of new and emerging human infectious diseases are zoonotic.

Today, two new authoritative reports from the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme spell out how close we are to climate catastrophe. … Read the full speech here.

And from me – Nigel – if you made it this far: Happy Chanukah, Shabbat Shalom, Merry Christmas, and wishing you a healthy and more sustainable new year.




Thank you! Together we raised $70k+, reached 45k+ miles, saved 18k+ kilograms of car emissions, and prioritized health, community, and nature during the 2020 Vision Rides. Stayed tuned for future initiatives for B’nai Mitzvahs, “Ride in a Box,” and more!

The 2020 Virtual Israel Ride was a success with over 200 virtual riders joining for 7 days of immersive virtual programs. Watch highlights here. We’ve raised over $170K to support Hazon and the Arava Institute. Register now for the 2021 Israel Ride, Oct. 19-26, 2021. (Psst! Use promo code HANUKKAH for $50 off.)

The Climate Crisis & The Jewish People: From “Why” to “What and How…,” Read the first ever Peoplehood Papers on the topic of climate, created by Hazon and The Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education.

Settle. Observe. Renew. Join Rabbi Robin Damsky for a Personal Journey through Chanukah and the Solstice Mondays December 14, 21, and 28 from 7:30 – 8:30 pm EST. RSVP for free to join.

The Z3 Conference is going online (December 10-17), and you are invited! On December 15, join Hakhel for a panel discussion on “Building the Jewish People, One community at a Time.”

Take action for renewable energy this Chanukah with the Jewish Earth Alliance.

Goodbye Phone, Hello World features 60 bite-size, device-free activities scientifically proven to promote true happiness. Learn more here.

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