Countering Oil Dependency


 Regarding, “A Way Out Of Our Oil Dependency” (Editor’s column, June 25), reducing fossil fuels globally will not only help improve energy security throughout the world but also decrease greenhouse gas emissions. If every nation had its own supply of renewable energy, fossil fuel tyranny and energy scarcity would decrease. As oil is a primary source of income for Iran, it’s hard to see how reducing our need for oil detracts from our security interests. That is why Jewish organizations have long supported reducing fossil fuel addiction by curtailing carbon emissions as well as increasing energy efficiency. Jews are not alone in this belief; Operation Free represents returned veterans and security organizations in linking climate change, oil dependence, and national security. 

Jewish support for carbon-emissions reductions is not solely American, either. Israel leads the world in developing clean technology, including alternative means of electricity generation. An example of such Israeli ingenuity is Shai Agassi’s famous plan to create a network of electric-powered cars. 

With Jewish philanthropic support, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) is now running the Jewish Energy Covenant Campaign, an energy awareness effort within the broader Jewish community. COEJL’s funding is not unique. UJA-Federation of New York recently created the Jewish Greening Fellowship to lower its agencies’ collective carbon footprint. 

The Torah-based learning group, Canfei Nesharim, teaches about increasing energy efficiency. Hadassah’s Camp Young Judaea is focused on carbon emissions reductions. The Hillel Spitzer Forum was among the first Jewish conferences to go carbon neutral. Many organizations now match their carbon offsets through organizations like the Israeli Good Energy Initiative. 

The list could go on but the point is that Jewish groups around the world have expressed in multiple ways and for multiple reasons that the deleterious effects of fossil fuel dependency can’t be checked at our border. Much like switching from an addiction to heroin to one with methadone, transferring our dependency on foreign fossil fuel sources to domestic ones won’t solve our problem. Without recognizing this fact, we can’t begin to seriously address the existential threats before us in a meaningful way. 

Director, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life



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