I spend a considerable amount of my waking hours pondering climate change. I am constantly thinking about the effects of a 2, 3 or 4 degree rise in temperature, what a six-metre sea-level rise will look like and whether the planet really will only be able to hold one billion people by the end of the century. I envy those who are oblivious to this threat. I read books, listen to lectures and attend action meetings in the hope of somehow making a difference and harbour a (not-so-) secret wish to be the inventor of the silver bullet solution to save the planet (and make me an eternal heroine).
It is of little comfort that over the past few weeks I have found myself consumed by other worries. The ridiculousness of having to justify Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorists, the utterly unfair portrayal of the situation by the media and the ease at which the world slides into anti-semitism, along with atrocities in Iraq and Syria, have consumed so much of my attention that I have little time to fret over climate change. And it isn’t surprising. Common sense and social psychology teach us that immediate, personal threats have a greater impact than distant impersonal ones.
Having said that, the events in the Middle East don’t actually make the climate change problem disappear and so I am not about to give up the cause altogether. Actually the two are not linked at all. Quite separate and unrelated actually. One has got absolutely nothing to do with the other. Or has it?
The Green Party, who might be best known for their policies on ecological sustainability and environmental protection are becoming almost as well known, especially amongst the Jewish Community, for their Anti-Israel Pro-Hamas stance. I realize it is childish to believe that people (or political parties) are all bad or all good and I know it is possible to strongly agree and strongly disagree with the same person at different times. However, I do believe that this association creates an image problem, which goes something like Environmentalism = Green Party = anti-Israel = anti-semitic. I do not mean to offend by suggesting that people take such a simplistic approach but heuristics are a common tactic for dealing with information overload.
It is unfortunate that the Greens may not only have lost the Jewish vote but also have turned many Jews away from the whole environmental movement. It is worth noting that there is a new political party – the “Save the Planet” Party who have a single policy – to restore a safe climate. They recognize that the green movement has been hijacked by the left and believe it is an issue that needs to be taken seriously across the whole political spectrum. I am not writing this to promote a particular political party but to emphasise that climate change will not discriminate according to race or religion and so those who claim to concern themselves with climate change should be careful to avoid linking it to other political agendas if they want to produce effective climate policy acceptable to all.
After writing this piece I came across similar sentiments on the “Jews Down Under” website and am posting the link here as it makes interesting reading.