My first college summer, I participated in a program called Climate Summer. This program sends teams of students across New England by bicycle to organize around climate change in each town they visit. I signed up because I was looking for an adventure, new friends, new skills, and a summer outside.
I packed everything I would carry with me on my bike in two small bike bags, affixed my bike with new thingamajigs that would help me survive the summer on a bike, and drove to orientation, nervous but excited (coincidentally, drove with someone who is now a Repair the World staff member!). I had no idea that I was about to embark on a life-changing, transformative journey.
Climate Summer was a turning point for me for two reasons. First, I actually realized what climate change was really about, including how hotter climates have a particularly dangerous impact on those most vulnerable in our world.
A hotter climate means more natural disasters, the lives lost and destroyed during them and the economic hardships that follow; drought and food shortages; more wildfires; sea-level rise and the accompanying displacement of hundreds of millions of people, and entire countries under water or unlivable; increase health risks and diseases; more violence and conflicts. Essentially, it threatens to worsen all the injustices and social issues we already face, and create new ones, with the most vulnerable bearing the heaviest burden.
Luckily, the second thing I learned was that I – we – could so something about it. We could get involved and work towards a better future. To address a problem as urgent and vast as climate change, we need an equally strong movement. Historically, that’s how social change has happened, and that’s how it has to happen again. That’s what I became part of during climate summer, a movement of people fighting for a planet that we can live on.
And now I’m asking you to become part of that movement. This September 21, there is a historic U.N summit on climate change in New York City, and all sorts of social justice movements are rising to the occasion through the People’s Climate March. This will be a march through NYC demanding action on climate change from our world leaders; and it will be the largest climate march in history, aiming at having hundreds of thousands of people in attendance. Over 500 groups to date have endorsed it, including labor groups, faith groups, and other social justice groups.
And what I’m most excited about is the response from the Jewish community – like Repair the World! Many Jewish groups are coming together to organize around the march in ways that I’ve never seen before, with groups ranging from camps, synagogues, JCCs, and more signing on.
I’m asking you to join us; to join Repair the World, another organization, or just come on your own. It’s only one day, but it’s a huge moment in history. Our world leaders need to take action on climate change, and we need to as well to push them in the right direction.
One of my favorite Jewish quotes is “Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” So many “entire worlds” are at risk because of climate change, and we can’t stand by and let it happen. Will you join us on September 21?
Find out more and join the march here.