Friday, May 24, 2013

Rachel Novick's Sinai Statement

We are all part of a Reform Jewish temple and to me it is important to stay connected throughout our lives to G-d. G-d to me is an essence that resides within each and every living thing on this planet called Earth. There was a story someone told me, about a block of holiness that the angels didn’t know where to hide. They tried hiding the holiness in the trees, underwater, in caves, underground, in the mountains, and in the sky, but they knew that one day humans would find a way to get to it. So the angels decided to break up the holiness into little shards, and put each shard inside a human being. This way, humans cannot find the holiness without discovering who they are, and with this holiness, we can make a difference. We must protect and care for the Earth in order to sustain ourselves for a long time, or else we’ll burn out in the end. Within the Torah in the book of Genesis it says, “The human being was placed in the Garden of Eden to till it and to tend it.” (2:15) As a Jew this emphasizes our responsibility to protect the integrity of the environment so that its diverse species, including humans, can thrive. Jewish tradition teaches us that human domain over nature does not include a license to abuse the environment. The Talmudic concept ba’al taschchit, “do not destroy,” was developed by rabbis into a universal doctrine that asserted G-d’s ownership of the land. Climate and energy policy must also be equitable and just, as the Torah commands, “Justice, justice shall you pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20). Getting the world population to use renewable energy is one of the ways we can help to protect the environment.

I went on the Washington, D.C. trip to Religious Action Center with TBS. While I was there I learned a lot about the environment and how to make it better. I learned about climate control and how humans change the climate by using fossil fuels. We also learned about a very harmful process called Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking for short). Fracking is the process of forcing open fissures in subterranean rocks by introducing liquid at high pressure, especially to extract oil or gas. As of 2010, it was estimated that 60% of all new oil and gas wells worldwide were being hydraulically fractured.
Proponents of hydraulic fracturing point to the economic benefits from vast amounts of formerly inaccessible hydrocarbons that the process can extract. Unfortunately, there are potential environmental impacts, including contamination of groundwater, risks to air quality, the migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, surface contamination from spills and flowback and the health effects of these. The relationship between well performance and treatment pressures was studied by Floyd Farris of Stanolind Oil and Gas Corporation. This study became a basis of the first hydraulic fracturing experiment, which was conducted in 1947 by Stanolind. On March 17, 1949, Halliburton, an Oil Well Cementing Company, performed the first two commercial hydraulic fracturing treatments in Stephens County, Oklahoma, and Archer County, Texas. Since then, hydraulic fracturing has been used to stimulate approximately a million oil and gas wells. The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of fracking has unlocked a "Saudia Arabia of natural gas" just beneath us. But when filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. He interviewed some people in New York City, to ask them how they felt about the fact that although New York has an enviornment law protecting them now, the law may be changed. Approximately 8,336,697 people dwell and live in New York City as of 2012. All these people are drinking from the same water supply. As someone said in Gasland, people come to NY for the tap water. A waiter doesn’t give you the choice of bottled v.s tap water. Unfortunately, if the water supply is tainted from the chemicals, it will be much harder to split resources enough so all citizens can drink clean water. New York is situated on the Marcellus Shale, which makes it a valuable source to drill natural gas from. The Marcellus Shale goes through many other states, especially western states in the U.S. Now, most of my family lives in Ney York City. It’s important to me that my family lives in a safe enviornment, and if their drinking water, as well as the air they breath are infected in any way, I personally will not stand for that. Human activities are enhancing the natural greenhouse effect - thickening the walls of the greenhouse—causing significant consequences for the global climate. Since the Industrial Revolution atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, or CO2 for short, have increased by more than 30%. Climate change causes droughts, floods, and increasingly severe natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy. In its 2007 report, the UN international panel on climate change concluded that the evidence for climate change is “Unequivocal” and that human activity, primarily the CO2 omission that come from the burning of fossil fuels is “Very likely” (almost certainly) the cause. When the climate becomes warmer, and flooding occurs, the air becomes humid. People who live near water normally have resistance to diseases born from the water. When the diseases move inland with the floods and humidity. the people inland most likely will not have encountered these particular diseases before, and thus their bodies are not immune and will be unable to counter-attack the disease. Over the next hundred years climate change will displace, at the very least, tens of millions of people.

That’s why at the RAC I wrote a speech about renewable energy as well as urged people to reintroduce and sponsor the American Energy Production Act of 2011. Hydraulic fracturing for natural gas is one of the country's biggest environmental and public health challenges in history. The 2005 Energy Bill exempted a controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act, which allowed the natural gas industry to unleash a massive 34-State drilling campaign. In these troubled times, Congress may not be popular with the American people, but the fact is that they are our hope for controlling the Climate chaos that, if left unchecked, will destroy our way of living.

1 comment:

  1. Since Rachel is my granddaughter, I may be a little preferential, but I see in this article, not only a budding writer, but a future ecologist.
    Watching Rachel grow up,I did not see this serious side to her until reading this article. Our family has been blessed with intelligent people, of which some are writers, teachers, computer geniuses, and for a little levity, a super handyman.