Resolution Adopted by the CCAR


Adopted by the 101st Annual Convention of
the Central Conference of American Rabbis
Seattle, Washington, June 1990

WHEREAS in the Garden of Eden God said to humanity, "See My works, how beautiful and praiseworthy they are. Everything I have created has been created for your sake. Think of this, and do not corrupt or destroy My world; for if you corrupt it, there will be no one to set it right after you" (Ecclesiastes Rabbah, Chapter 7, Section 13), and

WHEREAS we are heirs of Bal Tashchit , an environmental ethic that ever commands us to preserve and not to destroy God's world, and

WHEREAS economic, industrial, and governmental forces have combined to create an international society blinded to such an environmental ethic, to the point that has come to threaten our physical security.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Central Conference of American Rabbis:

l. Reaffirm its commitment to previous resolutions addressing specific threats to the environment and human well-being;

2. Encourage institutions, congregations, families, and individuals to take it upon themselves to:

a) recycle as much of their waste as possible,

b) reduce the amount of waste produced.,

c) reuse as many of their resources as possible before consigning them to the waste stream,

d) dispose of hazardous waste products in as safe a way as possible,

e) encourage mandatory recycling laws in their communities, cities, states, and nation,

f) educate family, friends, associates, and members as to the means by which to meet the above goals.

3. Encourage rabbis, religious school educators, and social action committees to seek out and disseminate through their respective means the wisdom of our tradition pertinent to the preservation of God's world in order to foster and nurture a Jewish environmental ethic.

4. Recognize that while each individual bears a responsibility for living in such a way as to preserve and repair God's world, it is industry and government that are the primary corruptors and destroyers of the environment and that it is these sectors of society that therefore bear primary responsibility for repairing the damage already done and preventing further damage from occurring.

5. Promote industrial and governmental practice in accord with the ethic of Bal Tashchi t (Thou shalt not destroy) through such means at our disposal, including

a) letters to local, state, and national leaders in both industry and government,

b) organized consumer boycotts,

c) participation in local, state, and national coalitions,

d) votes for candidates to local, state, and national office that demonstrate commitment to environmentally sound practices.

6. Take the necessary steps as to convey to the leaders of this nation

a) the ethic of Bal Taschit,

b) the need for strong and effective legislation concerning:

i. the reduction. reuse, and/or recycling of all waste including that produced by the military and industry,
ii. the encouragement of markets and uses for recycled products,
iii. air, water, and land pollution,
iv. the further development of public lands,
v. the use of dangerous pesticides and herbicides,
vi. the overuse of our natural resources,
vii. any other environmental issues that may arise with the advance of technology and human capability.
viii. global issues such as, but not limited to, acid rain, global warming, the development of Antarctica, ozone depletion, and rain forest destruction.

7. Join those national coalitions with similar agendas.