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Countering Oil Dependency
Wed, 06/30/2010

 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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I grow tired of the darebmut of pacifist, fearful and blind thought that emerges from mainstream Jews in America. It is the same attitude that kept so many in Europe in the 1930s. That didn't work out so well then, and I fear that it will not work out so well now.

I tried to establsh a COEJL branch here in Charleston a few years ago, but found virtually no support in B'Nai Jacob, my synagogue, a rather conservative/traditional...but no longer orthodox congregation. West Virginia, particularily here in the State Capital, is so coal oriented, and controlled, including by a huge majority of the Jewish Lawyers who suck at the trough of the rich and powerful coal industry, that the few of us that would like to have a COEJL presence here are not sure now how to proceed. I personally have 50+ years of experience as an engineer (Michigan '61) in dealing with air pollution in my native Ontario, plus 30 years in Southern Califcornia and now for 10 years in Charleston. The Governor has appointed me to a third term on the WV Public Energy Authority, but has not allowed it to make any meaningful progress towards renewable energy. I beleive firmly that the transition to renewable energy is well underway around the world, and if West Virginia does not participate, it is going to die economically when coal is recognized as too expensive...when all the legacy costs of health and the environment are added up and assigned to coal fired Ontario, Spain, Germany and Israel have done. By the way, I was involved in the design, construction and financial issues of the first CSP Plants in Southern California, nine plants that were designed by an Israeli Firm, LUZ Those 9 Mojave plants, built in the 1980's, were built over the objections of nayslayers who stated they would never pay forthemselves until oil reached $14.00 per barrel! I have pretty good public speaking skills. I am a trained Presenter of the Gore Climate Change program...having just been at a second training at the end of June. I have, (I'll be 78 in August), with colleagues and angel investors, started a new manufacturing company that will produce a system to reduce the carbon footprint of every Airbus and Boeing jet that incorporates our system in their daily operations. So I am "walking the walk...not just talking the talk" But I beleive that we need direction and support in planning a COEJL branch in Charleston. My wife and I have now joined the Reform Temple, and they have a new progressive thinking Rabbis. The time mey be right to try again. We will need to have a "heavy hitter" articulate Rabbis or Nationally known Jewish Leader tpo come to Charleston for a Kick Off meeting, once we have planned and organized a CRW Chapter. There is a very strong Federated Jewish Charities organization here in Charleston, so the community, while small, is intensive and active. Can you help us?. Allan Tweddle
Thank you Allan, Here's to you! Thank you for all you have said and done in your career and in your community on behalf of the environment. As the Program Director at COEJL, I would love to speak with you. We need energized people like you to help awaken our communities to speak out for the environment and do what is needed to provide a healthy planet for future generations. Please feel free to contact me at our New York office at 212.532.7436. Kind Regards, David L. Marks Program Director COEJL - Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life 116 East 27th Street, 10th Floor New York, NY 10016-8942 T: 212.532.7436 F: 212.686.1353

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