If the world as we knew it was going to end, what would you tell your loved ones? Religious fundamentalists might find the End of Days prospect comforting: foretold in holy books, it promises a better scenario than earthly toil and woe. But if you’re not part of that group, you might not want to sit this one out — especially as you can do something to slow, stop or reverse the end.
Survival is part of Jewish DNA. The Torah commands it: “ . . . I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse — therefore choose life” (and, we assume, blessing); Deut. 30:19. Jews have survived for 3,500 years by standing up to tyranny and injustice, and by escaping from them to fight another day.
So when everyone from Al Gore and Hunter Lovins to Leonardo DeCaprio and Alicia Gravitz says we need to mobilize on the scale of WW II to turn this tide, we might expect to see most Jews at the forefront.
Basically, humanity faces a nexus of dangers that threaten to end life on Earth: exploding human population that consumes natural resources faster than they can be replaced; global climate changes, from overloading carbon and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to decimating resources needed by the Earth to absorb and process them; glacier melt that erases world water supplies for drinking and agriculture; ocean acidification, which increases carbonic acid and decreases pH as oceans over-absorb carbon results in dissolving reefs and killing sea life; and hydrogen sulfide blooms, masses of fresh water that allow hydrogen sulfide-emitting bacteria to grow and move us toward suffocating mass extinction — as has occurred six times over the past 20 million years.