WASHINGTON, DC, Apr. 22, 2010 — In honor of today’s celebration of the 40thannual Earth Day and the pending release of comprehensive climate and energy legislation in the U.S. Senate, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
As we celebrate the 40th annual Earth Day, we mark a milestone in the fight for a clean, healthy environment for all people. The movement for a secure environmental future has grown by leaps and bounds over the past four decades, and we take pride in the progress we have made and the leading role played by the faith community. However, in the next year and the next 40 years we must redouble efforts to protect our planet, for our own sake and that of our children.
Starting today, we must act with increased urgency to guarantee that, 40 years from now, our children do not look back and wonder why we failed to face down our energy and environmental challenges. The environment we take for granted will not be here for our children and theirs if we fail to move swiftly away from fossil fuels that dirty our air and warm our planet. We have the resources and the willpower to move to a clean energy future, and as we celebrate this Earth Day we call on Congress and the President to lead the way.
As Jews, we are called to be partners with God in taking care of our earth, and to ensure that no person is denied access to basic resources like clean water and breathable air. We know who will be hurt first and worst by our changing climate: the same poor and vulnerable communities at home and around the world that are most affected by toxic waste, air pollution, and dwindling supplies of fresh water. As people of faith we cannot stand idly by as these and other environmental challenges become even more severe. On this Earth Day, and every day, we must raise our voices in a call to action for the future of humanity.
The growing threat of climate change looms on the horizon but – unlike on the first Earth Day 40 years ago – clean energy solutions abound. We look ahead with hope. The time to act is now, and on this Earth Day, we applaud those who have worked tirelessly toward passage of comprehensive climate legislation. We stand ready to work with our allies in the Senate and the Administration to take steps together to guarantee a safe, clean, healthy energy and environmental future.