Well over a thousand participants joined us live yesterday on our livecast, #SoundTheCall, to celebrate the 50th Earth Day. We had high hopes for the event, but as it turned out, they were significantly exceeded. What we were most delighted with is that it very clearly struck a chord with many people. We’ve had the strongest positive public response to this of anything we have done as an organization in recent memory.
To everyone who was involved in it – participants, attendees, speakers, singers, staff – huge huge thanks. If you were part of it or viewed it and would be willing to share your feedback by filling out this quick survey we would greatly appreciate that.
We scrambled for this, like lots of things in the world at the moment, and we’ve certainly never done anything remotely like it (people coming in live from 24 locations on three continents, plus two taped segments). In certain ways it was quite scrappy. But we think the reason people most loved it is that, in the end, it manifested Hazon’s values and vision in quite a deep and serious way.
People like David Gergen, Amy Larkin, and Bill McKibben were inspiring and strong, but the same was equally true of Naomi, Eli, and Lucy, three different teen leaders who are part of Hazon’s recently formed Jewish Youth Climate Movement. (If you’re a teen who wants to be involved in JYCM, or you know a teen who might be interested, email email@example.com and follow them on Instagram.) Plus: the music was great. The baby goats – as usual – were the stars of the show. And who knew that Mandy Patinkin could blow shofar so well – or that he keeps a shofar with him while in COVID isolation?
The video recording from the event is here. Feel free to watch it – and to pass it on.
We also encourage you to continue sharing #SoundTheCall on social media by posting “I #SoundTheCall for…” and then add your own sentence or video message about what needs to happen to build a healthier and more sustainable world. Please tag Hazon so we can share your posts. We will also continue posting highlights from yesterday on social media, so make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
But having said all this, what I most want to say is: every day is Earth Day. It just so happens that yesterday, not because of Earth Day but because of this pandemic, most of us did not drive, we did not fly, and we did not do many of the activities that contribute to climate change when things are “normal”. These certainly are not “normal” times, but they also offer us a chance to look closely at what is possible. To change our behaviors, and to rethink the daily actions we take as we think about how to mitigate climate change.
And the punchline for #SoundTheCall is the request that we each do three specific things to make the world a healthier and more sustainable place for all. This is the heart of the “Brit Hazon” – a Hazon covenant [or an agreement of vision] that we’re going to be talking about more as the year goes on.
- Make some additional personal behavior change in relation to living more sustainably. We have some great ideas here. But we each know the range of choices we have. We have to do this because, added together, individual choices have impact, and it’s just ethically right to try to walk the walk.
- Donate money or time or both to Hazon, and to other organizations working for a more sustainable world. (That includes the other 120 organizations that signed on to Sound the Call – a full list can be found here). Change happens when people invest in it.
- Amplify your voice – as a citizen, and in any organization of which you’re a part. In the fall we will relaunch the Hazon Seal of Sustainability, and your Jewish institution should be part of it. And please send emails or make calls to your Congress-person to demand a Green New Deal – spending money in the long-haul, and not just in an emergency, to build a healthier and more sustainable America. As part of Sound the Call more than 1500 individuals and 120 organizations signed onto a U.S. congressional letter supporting healthcare, environmental stewardship, and the future of sustainability in this country – you can read that letter here. Feel free to forward it further.
If you are interested in being one of the first people to learn more about the Brit Hazon when we’re ready to launch, add your name and email address here.
Finally: thank you again. Yesterday gave a sense of passion, vision, inclusion, hope. The shofar is a powerful symbol of Jewish life, and in its nuance it speaks particularly to this moment. In the Jewish calendar we are on the third week of counting the omer, the week of tiferet, of beauty and balance. May we be blessed to see the beauty that is all around us, and to live lives that are genuinely healthy and sustainable.
PS – More than a hundred people gave us donations in the last 48 hours, including 72 new donors. Thank you! If you’d like to make a donation, please click here.