Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Biggest Threat Facing The Jewish People

Whats the bigest threat facing the Jewish People?
No its not terrorism, or Arabs armies, or "the demographic time bomb", or assimilation, or the sorry state of Israeli and Jewish political ethics. Its not even the threat of an Iranian Bomb.

It's Climate Change! - aka Global Warming.

Jews are first and foremost human beings, and climate change is likely to destroy (or at least radically change) all human civilization as we know it. It might take 100 years, but for a People who likes to thinks in millenia, that is not a long time. And climate change will directly affect all Jews in both Israel and in the Diaspora.
Two stories I read today highlight this point. The first, in the Globe and Mail, points out how this year's severe drought on the Canadian prairies may be the new normal. In many counties 100% of the crops are being written off. Farmers are getting by on crop insurance. But can crop insurance hold up if droughts become regular? The second story is from the JTA. It reports that Israel will soon be introducing a drought tax. The punitive tax on water consumption kicks in at about 83% of current per capita average usage. The average Israeli will have to cut his or her water consumption by 1/6th or pay up.
Israel/Palestine, of course, is already in a severe water deficit. Israel gets by, in part, by taking more than its fair share of water from combined Israel/Palestine aquifers. But things are only going to get worse - whether Israel shares the water or not. According to NASA simulations, Israel (and the Mid East in general) only really began to be effected by global warming in the mid 1990s, whereas the Canadian prairies have been slowly feeling the effects since the 1950's at least.
Neither Canada nor Israel are doing much to prevent climate change nor prepare for it (though Israels drought tax indicates it is doing more than Canada!) Both peoples are hiding their heads in the sand. In Canada's case it is because of greed - we benefit in the short term from our oil and gas industries, and no one wants to impact their life style to drive less, or pay more to insulate their homes, or do much else that would cost them in money or comfort. In Israel's case, it is likley because they are distracted by "more important" matters, and Israeli society is noteriously short sited - typically focused on a planning horizon of months, not years - let alone decades.
I will try to write more about climate change in upcoming blog entries. It is easy (for me at least) to get focussed on the outrages of the Israel Palestine conflict and forget that the whole world - Jews and Palestineans included - is headed over a cliff and no one seems to be doing anthing serious about it.


Anonymous Shmuel said...

Thanks for this hugely important post. As committed as I am to Is/Pal issues, climate change dwarfs - and directly affects - everything else, yet it is still widely ignored, denied, minimised or hidden behind woefully inadequate fig-leaf measures.

3:01 am  

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