New 'Eco Bible' explains what the Hebrew Bible says about ecology

Meeting the critical environmental challenges that humans now face will take more than scientific and ecological knowhow.

Green bonsai tree (photo credit: PIKREPO)
Green bonsai tree
(photo credit: PIKREPO)
To what extent can we link ecology and the Hebrew Bible? This is what is revealed in the new book Eco Bible, written by Rabbi Yonatan Neril and Rabbi Leo Dee, and published by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD)
The ICSD, which focuses on religion and ecology – and has already issued a "Report on Faith and Ecology in North American Seminaries" – decided to celebrate its 10th anniversary by publishing the new book. 
Eco Bible gathers 450 bible verses, with commentary from over 100 rabbis and other Jewish experts, whose ecological insights were previously scattered among hundreds of books. 
"Protecting all life on Earth from devastating threats, like vast forests on fire, plastic pollution in the ocean, and rapid climate change, will also take strong spiritual commitment and actions," the authors explained.
The book connects the Five Books of Moses/Pentateuch and biblical teachings of rabbis past and present, with contemporary scientists’ understanding of human health, biodiversity and environmental protection of air, land and water.
“Applying Hebrew Bible teachings to stewardship of our global environment is not just an idea for today, but is essential for a future in which we achieve a balanced, worldwide ecosystem and thrive on a planet viable for all life,” says Neril, co-author and ICSD founding director.
"At a time of both ecological and spiritual crisis, understanding the Hebrew Bible can have profound impact on human behavior towards God’s creation, since billions of people worldwide consider it a holy book.”
Publishers Weekly called the book an "insightful analysis," which "will inspire contemplation on how to live in harmony with nature and the power of conservation. Ecologically minded readers interested in the Hebrew Bible will love this."
Bill Brown, Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, called Eco Bible “a rich repository of insights… for people of faith to move forward with wisdom, inspiration and hope, all for the sake of God’s good creation.”
Eco Bible Volume 1 – Genesis and Exodus was published on October 18 and Volume 2 – Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy is planned to be released in 2021.