October 6, 2010
By Jessica Haller, CIO for Hazon and Director of the Jewish Climate Change Campaign
The vendor is calling, offering his hot roasted peanuts. The time is over 5000 years ago, and the place is central Mesopotamia. Noah’s contemporaries smell the peanuts and their mouths water. As they walk by, each takes a peanut, just one, just to taste. They aren’t really stealing, after all, it’s just a peanut. They continue to walk and as they pass the orchard, the just-ripe fruits also call to them, and they take an apple, just one, not really stealing. At the grain store, a few grains, just a taste. After a few days the peanut vendor is left with hulls, the orchard owner with bare trees. Years of not really stealing a little, a taste, a bite, and the erosion of morals is so great, according to Midrash, that God decides to start over.
On the weekend of 10/10, the weekend that the 350.org Global Work Party plans a day to celebrate climate solutions, we read of the consequences of collective disregard for other people and the land in the story of Noah and the flood. Small, seemingly insignificant actions lead to the flood. 350.org believes small steps can lead us toward global transformation for the better, and they hope 10/10 will see thousands of people digging community gardens and installing solar panels because those efforts can make a difference.
Many on our planet today know this theory of change to be true. Last year 350.org “counted 5200 simultaneous rallies and demonstrations in 181 countries.” CNN called the day the “most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history.” It is the people organizing a new CSA, buying the most energy-efficient appliances, painting a roof white, installing a solar panel, or cleaning up a stream, who know that their work is part of a greater movement washing over the globe like a giant sea – a sea change.
Joining the movement is easy. In NYC, Hazon and COEJL are teaming up with StopOil! to paint roofs white in Harlem. 350.org has over 5000 events planned for this year in over 180 countries, you can join one or start your own event on the 350.org website.
Join an action, just one, bring a friend, and if as they walk by your contemporaries each join in, in their own small way, we may witness small steps across the planet bringing on a flood or a sea change.