We in Arizona and much of the country have been through a record hot and dry summer. The weather is the headline on news all over the world, fires and floods and drought. And now is the Jewish season for soul-searching, for introspection and taking account or our actions. We cannot ignore the lessons of the weather. Per Jonathan Safran Foer, We Are The Weather.
As you enter Elul, and consider where you need to do Teshuvah, imagine how your everyday life might change if you had a mindful moment of awe for this complex web of life we are part of before buying food wrapped in layers of plastic, before using disposable plastic or Styrofoam dishes, before driving or flying, before new replacements for household items and clothes, before ordering a burger. What waste is created, what carbon used to make it, what suffering is involved to animals or humans? Is there an earth and animal friendly alternative? How do we deal with cognitive dissonance, knowing what our actions are causing, yet doing them anyway?
Every action has consequences, and we have great capacity for good.
Our actions should be for a blessing. We are harvesting what we have sown as humans, we have used this miraculous planet and the life it supports as a collection of resources to mine, disturb, commodify, destroy as we choose. We often move through our lives unaware of the cost of our lifestyle. But we must wake up, and use our human capacity for protection and preservation, rather than pollution and destruction. It is the teaching of our Torah, that we must protect the world for future generations. This is our moment for reflection on how we must change. Now, right now.