Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Yonatan Neril Israel

Why do I care about climate

I care because God has entrusted us with a gift, planet earth. I care because we are facing a spiritual and religious crisis. My soul cares for all of creation - people, animals, birds, fish, trees, plants, insects and microorganisms. I care about the Divine vision for planet earth teeming with life, manifesting the wondrous diversity that the Creator has bestowed upon it. I care because the Creator has given human beings abilities unique among all the earth's creatures, and we are being tested about whether we will use those abilities in a Divine-aware way.

I care because I want my children to inherit a livable planet. I don't want them to experience the extreme "Storms of My Grandchildren" that the leading climatologist Dr. James Hansen warns about. I care for my two children, for their well-being, and for their future. I want them to flourish, and not to suffer. I want them to enjoy and appreciate nature, and not for nature to wreak havoc on them. I want them to eat healthy, local foods, that are nourished from beneficial rains that come at the right time. I want them to live in peace, and to have positive, peaceful relations with their neighbors. I want them to find the main gratification of their pleasure desire in the in the spiritual, and not in the physical. And I desire the same for their children, and their children's children. I care because unless we radically change our orientation, this will not be possible for my children and grandchildren.

I care because I fear for my own future. I live in Jerusalem, and in neighboring countries, millions of climate refugees flee civil war in Syria. Research indicates that the recent drought in Syria was exacerbated by climate change and was a key factor in fueling the civil war. I care because I want this to stop, and I don't want to see other countries follow suit.

I care because the way we are living and acting is not in resonance with the Higher will, and therefore I need to speak out.

Rabbi, founder and director

Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development

Rabbi Yonatan Neril, founded and directs the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development. He completed an M.A. and B.A. from Stanford University with a focus on global environmental issues, and received rabbinical ordination in Israel. He has spoken internationally on religion and the environment, and organized two interfaith environmental conferences in Jerusalem. He is the lead author and general editor of two publications on Jewish environmental ethics was a Dorot and PresenTense Fellow. He lives with his wife, Shana, and two children in Jerusalem.