‘Flood Festival’ reigns at global green weekend

On Shabbat Parshat Noah, Israeli activists and worldwide campaign aim to raise environmental awareness.

Noah and the flood (photo credit: John Martin)
Noah and the flood
(photo credit: John Martin)
Two green events – one Jewish, one global – will coincide this weekend as environmental community projects take place in almost every country worldwide.
This coming Shabbat we read Parshat Noah – the story of the flood. Modern-day Jewish environmentalists have latched on to the story because of its parallels with the world’s current situation.
According to their reading, all people are threatened by the actions of humankind once again through climate change and global warming.
In keeping with this, Teva Ivri, a Jewish environmental NGO, has organized events in several Israeli cities.
The main event is the “Flood Festival” on Jerusalem’s Rehov Emek Refaim on Friday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It will feature a parade, a fair, children’s activities, lectures and discussion circles. Teva Ivri also offers a study and activism guide – available on its website, www.tevaivri.org.il – with sources and advice on how to green one’s community and synagogue.
Meanwhile, the “350” campaign, spearheaded by US activist Bill McKibben, has organized 6,631 events in 188 countries around the globe to take place on Sunday, 10/10/10. They hope to have events in all 192 countries by that date.
The number 350 refers to the ideal parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere according to scientific analysis. Currently, there are about 390 ppm. in the atmosphere, heading toward 450- 500 if nothing is done. Such an increase will have drastic effects on the planet’s climate, many scientists believe.
The campaign aims to show global leaders that people are concerned about global warming and its effects. Under the banner “The Global Work Party,” locals will embark on a community project to combat global warming. Even US President Barack Obama is getting into the swing of things by putting solar panels back on the White House. Former president Jimmy Carter had installed some during his tenure in the late 1970s.
Events don’t have to be a massive undertaking – the campaign suggests something as simple as going for a bike ride or planting a tree, working in a community garden or on an organic farm. Replacing light bulbs with more efficient CFL or LED ones is also a good project, according to the campaign’s website, www.350.org.
Israel, too, is set to mark the Global Work Party. Friends of the Earth Middle East, the Israel Bike Association and Tel Aviv Rollers are teaming up to raise awareness through biking as part of the 350 campaign. A 15-km. bike ride will be held Saturday along the lower Jordan River, starting at 7:30 a.m.
On Saturday night, there will be a 20-km. bike ride starting at the Cinematheque square at 8 p.m., followed by a “wild climate party.”
In previous years, the 350 campaign has organized marches in the US, and last year, it arranged global events to spell out the number 350.