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Rabbi Saperstein: "This year we mark Earth Day in the midst of Passover, as we celebrate the renewal of spring and mark our redemption from enslavement by the pharaohs of old, we seek renewal of our earth, liberation from the oil addition that enslaves us, and freedom from environmental injustice for our brothers and sisters worldwide."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 22, 2011 -- In honor of today's celebration of the 41st annual Earth Day, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
As we celebrate the 41st annual Earth Day, we remain optimistic about the future of our planet, even as we prepare for the many struggles ahead. Each and every day, cognizant of the worsening impacts of climate change, activists are working together to protect our planet and to make it a healthier place to live for us and our children.
We have made tremendous progress since the first Earth Day, yet we know that it will take broad support and expedited effort to curb the impacts of climate change and to protect all of God's creatures. In the United States, which is responsible for a disproportionate amount of the earth's pollution, we have seen over the past few weeks attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate greenhouse gases. We applaud the strong will of many in Congress who voted to uphold the key environmental policies that protect our air and our health.
This Earth Day, we also commemorate the lives lost and the devastation unleashed on the Gulf Coast by the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig one year ago. This far-reaching environmental catastrophe shows yet again the risks of our national fossil fuel addiction. We call on Congress and the Administration to act to restore the Gulf, protect vulnerable communities and ensure that such a disaster cannot happen again, while urging all Americans to reexamine the implications of our oil reliance for our environment, our health and our national security.
As Jews we are called to be partners with God in taking care of our earth, and to ensure that no person is denied access to basic resources like clean water and breathable air. We know who will be hurt first and worst by our changing climate: the same poor and vulnerable communities at home and around the world most affected by toxic waste, oil spills, air pollution, and dwindling supplies of fresh water. This year we mark Earth Day in the midst of Passover, as we celebrate the renewal of spring and mark our redemption from enslavement by the pharaohs of old; we seek renewal of our earth, liberation from the oil addition that enslaves us, and freedom from environmental injustice for our brothers and sisters worldwide.