• To play a distinct and determined role in responding to climate change, and fostering sustainability, between now and September 2015; both the Diaspora Jewish communities and the state of Israel shall be widely seen – and shall see ourselves – as being at the forefront of education, action and advocacy responses to the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation.
• For each Jewish organization, small and large, to create a sustainability committee by September 2010. The sustainability committee can be a Green Team, a climate change task force; it can be professional or volunteer. This document contains some information on initial steps and a framework for progress.
• To integrate education, action and advocacy in addressing the challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability.
The first step is to focus on generational change. We set goals for time periods that are long enough to allow for real change, yet close enough to the present to warrant action. Jewish tradition is rooted in Jewish time, and has within it a septennial structure called Shmita. The Shmita Year bears within it an important ecological vision of Judaism. During the Shmita Year, as described by the Bible, agricultural work in Israel stops. People eat whatever grows on its own in the fields, and everyone, rich and poor alike (and animals too) may come and take from its produce. Shmita acknowledges that the Earth is not raw material to be exploited for profit with maximum efficiency but as a gift to be used for the common well-being.
We have chosen to launch a Jewish plan for sustainability and climate change to prepare for the next Shmita cycle, beginning in September 2015.