In a campaign that has spread like wildfire across the Internet, a group of Israeli environmentalists is encouraging Jews around the world to light at least one less candle this Hanukka to help the environment.
The founders of the Green Hanukkia campaign found that every candle that burns completely produces 15 grams of carbon dioxide. If an estimated one million Israeli households light for eight days, they said, it would do significant damage to the atmosphere.
"The campaign calls for Jews around the world to save the last candle and save the planet, so we won't need another miracle," said Liad Ortar, the campaign's cofounder, who runs the Arkada environmental consulting firm and the Ynet Web site's environmental forum. "Global warming is a milestone in human evolution that requires us to rethink how we live our lives, and one of the main paradigms of that is religion and how it fits into the current situation."
Cofounder Tom Wegner, who heads the public relations firm Update Marketing Media, spread the campaign via mass e-mails and through social interaction Web sites like Facebook and Hook.co.il. He said no money had been invested in the campaign, but it had already raised awareness around the world and made people realize that they have to consider the environment this Hanukka.
Wegner said he did not consider the campaign anti-religious. The unlit candle could be the shamash, which is not required for the mitzva, he said. But he said he would encourage people who do not keep mitzvot not to light a hanukkia at all for environmental and educational reasons.
"We have many environmental traditions in Judaism like Tu Bishvat and Succot, but there are also traditions like Lag Ba'omer and Hanukka that made sense when they were instituted but are more problematic now in the days of global warming," Wegner said.
"There are many people who just light candles for the tradition and for their children," he said. "To tell a child on the eighth day that we are not lighting the last candle as a sacrifice for the environment is an act that is not only educational but also will prevent the release of a huge amount of carbon dioxide that would hurt the environment."
Shas MK Nissim Ze'ev said he was not convinced by the environmentalists' argument. He warned that the campaign would take away from the light of Torah that each and every candle symbolizes.
"The environmentalists should think about how much pollution is caused by one solitary diesel truck on the road," Ze'ev said. "They should be fighting the trucks instead of Judaism. This is so trivial, so anti-Jewish and so anti-religious that even the worst anti-Semites couldn't think of it. Just like the Helenists, they are trying to extinguish the flames of the Jewish soul."
United Torah Judaism MK Avraham Ravitz called the environmentalists "crazy people who are playing with the minds of innocent Jewish people." He said the campaign would only convince people who do not light candles anyway.
"They should encourage people to light one less cigarette instead," Ravitz said.
Rabbi Benny Lau of Jerusalem's Ramban Congregation, who is himself an environmental activist, praised the good intentions of the people behind the campaign. But he said the environmentalists should be trying to reach out to observant Jews instead of running campaigns that turn them away.
"People in the green movement who have an agenda have unfortunately made it anti-religious," Lau said. "This makes religious people think incorrectly that anything environmentalist is against them. The damage ends up being a thousand times the benefit. Tikkun olam [fixing the world] must be done by adding more light and not by adding more darkness."
1. Planet earth is currently undergoing global warming.
Parts of ice caps are melting yet other parts are thickening but this isn't reported as much (home experiment: put some water in a jug or bowl, add a layer of ice cubes and mark the level — wait until the ice has melted and look again, the level will have fallen). Data from ice core samples shows that in the past, temperatures have risen by ten times the current rise, and fallen again, in the space of a human lifetime.
3. Carbon Dioxide levels in our atmosphere at the moment are unprecedented (high).
Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, currently only 350 parts per million have been over 18 times higher in the past at a time when cars, factories and power stations did not exist — levels rise and fall without mankind's help.
4. Mankind is pumping out carbon dioxide at a prodigious rate.
96.5% of all carbon dioxide emissions are from natural sources, mankind is responsible for only 3.5%, with 0.6% coming from fuel to move vehicles, and about 1% from fuel to heat buildings. Yet vehicle fuel (petrol) is taxed at 300% while fuel to heat buildings is taxed at 5% even though buildings emit nearly twice as much carbon dioxide!
A report in the journal 'Science' in January of this year showed using information from ice cores with high time resolution that since the last ice age, every time when the temperature and carbon dioxide levels have shifted, the carbon dioxide change happened AFTER the temperature change, so that man-made global warming theory has put effect before cause — this shows that reducing carbon dioxide emissions is a futile King Canute exercise! What's more, both water vapour and methane are far more powerful greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide but they are ignored.
6. Reducing car use will cut carbon dioxide levels and save the planet
7. The recent wet weather and flooding was caused by mankind through 'global warming'
Extreme weather correlates with the cycle of solar activity, not carbon dioxide emissions or political elections, the recent heavy rainfall in winter and spring is a perfect example of this — it occurred at solar maximum at a time when solar maxima are very intense — this pattern may well repeat every 11 years until about 2045.
As carbon dioxide emissions from cars and factories does not have any measurable impact on climate, these taxes are 'just another tax' on enterprise and mobility, and have no real green credentials.
Scientists draft reports for the IPCC, but the IPCC are bureaucrats appointed by governments, in fact many scientists who contribute to the reports disagree with the 'spin' that the IPCC and media put on their findings. The latest report suggests that the next 100 years might see a temperature change of 6 Celsius yet a Lead Author for the IPCC (Dr John Christy UAH/NASA) has pointed out that the scenarios with the fastest warming rates were added to the report at a late stage, at the request of a few governments — in other words the scientists were told what to do by politicians.
More to Come