Is global warming a major Jewish issue? It should be

By  Danny Bloom

Danny Bloom

CHIAYI CITY, Taiwan — I cannot see the future and I’m no prophet, but I have seen the future — so to speak — and it’s dank, dark and dystopian.

In 500 years, if we do not tame climate change and global warming worldwide, Israel will be no more and the entire Middle East will be unoccupied by human beings.

Yes, by 2500, Israel will be no more if we do not stop global warming in its tracks now. It’s written on the wind, and scientists, many of them Jewish, know it.

Did you know that the Hebrew name for Al Gore’s climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth  is Emet Matridah? Yes, and it means “The Truth That Terrifies.”

Okay, not everyone wants to sit at Mr. Gore’s table, and not all Jews believe in global warming. Some are vociferous critics of the climate ideas of James Hansen and James Lovelock. But there are also many Jewish scientists and climate activists who “get it” and understand that the very fate of humanity is in question.

Will humans exist a thousand years from now? Will there be any Jews alive?

Will the human species be extinct by then? These are deeply Jewish questions, and I pose them here as a deeply Jewish climate activist and journalist.

Okay, you don’t have to agree with me. You may even want to criticize me and ridicule me. That’s fine. I am all ears and all points of view are welcome at my home. But let me tell you this, as a modern-day Jeremiah: God’s creation, the Earth and His people, are at risk because of what we are doing to the His creation with excessive CO2 emissions and other man-made global warming impacts.

So what am I doing about all this? Well, to make a long story short, last year, as a newbie book producer, I commissioned novelist Jim Laughter in Oklahoma to write a book about mankind’s shaky future on this third rock from the sun, and he said yes.  The novel, titled Polar City Red, is out now, in paperback and on Kindle, and the entire story, from page one to the final paragraph, belongs to Mr. Laughter. His name is on the book cover, not mine, and all profits, if
any, go to him. It’s his book. But it’s my vision.

What did I do? I gave the book its title, and I suggested, as a former 12-year Alaskan resident, its theme and its setting in Fairbanks. Jim wrote the entire yarn, creating his own cast of characters and giving it his own time frame. I originally suggested setting it in 2500, some 30 generations from now. Jim decided to set the story in 2075, to give it a more immediate and closer to home feel. He was right to do so.

Having read the book as it was being written chapter by chapter, and again as a completed paperback, I can tell you this: climate denialists are going to say it’s not science, and die-hard climate activists are going to say it’s just fiction.

Jews are going to be of two minds, too: Some will champion the novel and see it as a book of prophecy that we need pay attention to, and others, equally eloquent, will give the book a bad grade and send the author to the back of the room. Me? I support and champion Mr.
Laughter’s vision completely, and I feel this small novel could be one of the most important novels ever written by a human being.

Laughter’s “polar Western” is set in Alaska just 60 years from now, and it poses a very important and headline-mirroring question: Will mankind survive the “climapocalypse” coming our way as the Earth heats up over the next few centuries? The end is not coming in 100 years, but it might happen by 2500 A.D.

What do the rabbis have to say about all this? They are listening to the climate debate and boning up on the science, and some are already giving sermons on the issue and writing their own blog posts about it.

In Jim’s novel, sea levels rise and millions of “climate refugees” make their way north to Alaska and Canada. Think scavenger camps, “Mad Max” villages, and U.N.-administered “polar cities” — cities of domes, as the author calls them.
Polar City Red  is more than mere science fiction. Laughter, a retired grandfather of four, comes across as a probing moralist and a modern Jeremiah. His worldview befits a former Christian pastor who built two churches and finds in his inherited religion both an anchor and a place for hope.
And his book is not just about climate change or northern dystopias. It’s also about the moral questions that must guide humanity as it tries to keep a lid on global warming’s worst-case scenarios while also looking for solutions to mankind’s worst nightmare: the possible
final extinction of the human species due to man’s own folly and extravagant ways. This is where the rabbis come in: they need to speak up about the morality and ethics of fighting climate change as a Jewish moral imperative, pro or con.
Can a small, 150-page novel have much of any impact of the world at large? No, it’s just entertainment, fiction, science fiction, a good book to put on your summer reading list. But I’ve already gotten feelers from Hollywood producers in Los Angeles and an Indian director in Mumbai. This story of polar cities has legs. Don’t dismiss me out of hand. Read the book first and then say your say.

Writing the novel took Laughter seven months of research and keyboarding, but I have a feeling that what he wrote will last 100 years or more. It’s not a specifically Jewish book and the author is not Jewish. But the vision came out of this Jewish climate activist’s deeply rooted compassion for the future. I care about 500 years from now. I care about people 50 generations from now. Why? Because I’m Jewish, that’s why.

Polar City Red is more than a “cli-fi” thriller. It also exposes the underbelly of humankind’s most terrifying nightmare: the possible end of the human species and God’s deep displeasure at what His people have done to His Earth.

The book is prophetic, futuristic and moralistic. As a reader, you will get through this nightmare alive. But will our descendants, those in Alaska and Canada and Norway — where most Israelis will have fled to in 500 years — survive the Long Emergency we find ourselves in now? That’s the question that Jim Laughter poses. And you don’t have to believe in global warming to enjoy the story. And you don’t have to be Jewish to understand the dire straits we are in.

I can tell you this: the book ends on a note of hope and redemption, so it’s not a downer at all. Polar City Red might inspire you or it might annoy you, but as the world heads closer and closer to climate chaos, even in Israel, whose very future is at stake due to climate change, Laughter’s book sounds an ominous note.


However, not everyone agrees with me on this, and one of my most perceptive critics, David Brin, whose insightful columns on science often appear here in the San Diego Jewish World, too, is one of them.

He said in a recent email that while he admires the passion that I bring to the issue of human-wrought climate change, and specifically global warming, he is much more optimistic, noting, among other things that he is less pessimistic than I am.  He said: “I do not perceive global climate change rendering Israel or Jews or Humanity extinct. On the other hand, I consider that exaggeration to be vastly more sane than the opposite reaction, of ostriches who bury their heads in the sand while declaring all of the smartest folk in our civilization to be the fools.

“The continuing War on Science now has expanded to include every knowledge clade in American life.  Journalists, school teachers, skilled labor, economists, civil servants, diplomats, judges, professors. I can name only two centers of intellect in American life that are not under direct attack by a relentless propaganda machine.  Indeed, scientists are not being undermined in order to distract from global warming.  Rather, climate change is being trumped up as an issue in order to denigrate science.’

”It should not be an issue.  Seven percent of all the men and women who understand the equations and have studied the data have recommended that we take prudent – economically sound – measures to mitigate a potentially dangerous situation that could seriously affect the lives and livelihood of our children.  These sensible men and women, many of whom I know personally, who have studied climate on twelve planets, know a heckuva lot more about this than we do, yet fanatics are saying ‘Ignore expert advice! Go to witch doctors instead!’

”Let us get this straight.  These are the brilliant minds who transformed the weather report from a four-hour joke to a ten-day reliable forecast, saving us billions every year.  If you despise them, then stop relying on their forecasts.

”Especially since the recommendations do not amount to ‘sitting in the dark and shivering while ruining the economy.’ Nobody wants that. Not even hippies.  There are prudent measures we could take now, to prevent the worst mass extinction event in 65 million years. ‘

”This is political.  It is a putsch by the same Junkers feudal caste that foisted Hitler on the German people… “in order to prevent socialism.”  It is a Big Lie campaign by the feudal aristocracy that started and maintained the diaspora for 2000 years’

”I am an optimist, unlike Danny Bloom.  I believe we can convince our neighbors to shut off the Fox lie machine and come back into the light, where adults argue and negotiate honorably, listen to expert advice, and then work together to solve problems.  Like grownups.”

I understand what Mr. Brin has written above, and I appreciate his feedback. He is right, too.


Danny Bloom is a former editor of Alaska’s Capital City Weekly and now works as a book producer and packager in Taiwan. His climate blog is available, here.


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Copyright 2012 San Diego Jewish World

16 Responses to “Is global warming a major Jewish issue? It should be”

  1. arvind says:

    Please. Save us this rubbish. You can’t even predict 5 years right or even 10 but you somehow have this god given gift to predict the next 60 to 490 years!

    Save this rubbish. Good for you that you dated your alarmism way after your expiration date or else we would have enjoyed the good fortune of laughing at your face

  2. JeremyG says:

    Thank you, Mr. Bloom, for the thorough article. I’m one that “get’s it”. Have read numerous books on the suject, including Dr. Hansen’s, “Storms of My Grandchildren”. The science is fairly straight foward, physics and chemistry. Already in the world today there is tangible evidence of our deeds, too fast in fact to a natural cycle.
    If our ile has any truth to it, if we do nothing it will not God’s fault, ut our own blindness due to greed, self centeredness, and not caring. Much easier to claim it all a hoax, that way one need not do anything to solve the crisis.

  3. caerbannog says:

    Looks like someone just confused weather with climate.

    Climate can be considered a large-scale average of individual weather events. Even though individual weather events can’t be predicted more than a few days in advance, long-term climate change can be predicted much further into the future.

    Here’s an analogy that illustrates why climate is much more predictable than weather.

    Individual weather events are like an individual’s gambling winnings at the Viejas Casino. Climate is like the Viejas’ overall profit from all the gamblers who patronize the casino.

    Although it’s impossible to predict how much any individual gambler will win or lose on any given day, the Casino’s overall take from all gamblers is predictable enough that budget projections can be drawn up, hiring decisions made, etc. So predictable that the Viejas tribe is virtually guaranteed to make a ton of money each year.

    Remember — large-scale averages are much easier to predict/project than are individual numbers/events. Overall casino revenues are much easier to predict than any gambler’s winnings. Likewise, climate is much easier to predict than weather.

  4. Juha-Matti Laulainen says:

    This is sick!I´m friend of Israel.But i don´t believe in this co2-theory.So am i criminal then!!Who are against of freedom?These greenies are!They are saying how you should live!I can´t believe this!What an earth is happening in peoples mind!I don´t hate anyone.But i feel that people hate me more and more.Thanks for reading this.All best.

  5. richard says:

    the Israelis have greened their desert and are now taking their expertise to Africa, already in Nigeria they have increased the growing of crops to all year round,

    Israel in trouble in the future, now that is funny.

  6. Judy says:

    I’m not sure this article isn’t a parod,y first because we seem to be heading into a new Little Ice Age and because it reminds me of the old joke about the German, the Frenchman and the Israeli discussing “The Elephant.” The punchline is the Israeli wanst to discuss “The Elephant and the Jewish Problem.”

  7. Pete says:

    Beware of false prophets who claim to predict the future!

  8. Nikita says:

    Were appropriate article: just in time for summer snowstorm in Alpine Meadows California

  9. Golem says:

    Hey Dan,

    Isn’t it the case that it’s the meteorologists that are credited with making forecasts accurate and not the climate scientists?

    And isn’t it the case that by and large the meteorologists are skeptical of global warming?

    And that the climate scientists frequently get their hate on over the meteorologists and their skepticism?

    Cause I thought that was the case.

  10. M says:

    From a humanitarian aspect it doesn’t make any difference if our climate is changing based on carbon or nature, the fact is, its still changing and millions of victims are beginning to go without food and water. This is causing displacement and is a major concern to the Pentagon. True people have always migrated but we know live in a border nation civilization, there is nowhere else to move to.
    I’d recommend all of you to watch the documentary Climate Refugees. So please, for all of you who are saying that man isn’t causing this as if that is the solution to our problem, the fact is, if man isn’t causing it nothing could be more dooming to all of the changes that are globally taking place. The math doesn’t work, 10 billion people by 2060 and for every degree we increase we lose 12 percent of our rice, wheat and corn fields.

  11. WR Xavier says:

    What The….as a Jew and one that believes what you wrote in your post the following comment “God’s creation, the Earth and His people” how is it that you have so little faith in YHWH G-d? The fact you actually used his full title tells me a lot about your “Jewishness”.

    If you are actually Jewish, tell me, if the Earth and His people are God’s creation, you really do have very little faith in him. Does the term “you people of little faith” ring any bells. Surely if you believe that the earth is Gods creation then there is nothing you need to worry about and the AGW scare is just that, a scare and hoax because you KNOW God’s creations can not be destroyed but by Him.

    Now stop with the Xenophobic, Jewish clap trap and just make it exactly what this is, just another Greenie “activist” sprouting the mantra of their new religious faith.

  12. WR Xavier says:

    @Mark Schaffer,
    Any of them including the Torah, EXCEPT the Green Manifesto Bible greenies grip so tightly to.

  13. Dan Brook says:

    Here’s my take on the issue:

    Global Warming Isn’t Kosher

  14. I am sure that it is just a coincidence that Mr. Laughter started his book at about the time my book: “Ali the Peacemaker” was first published as an ebook. This book also has a Polar City made possible by global warming. My treatment of the subject is totally different from Mr. Laughter’s.
    My book is the second book of Bad Boy cycle.

  15. WR Xavier says:

    Dan, your basing your understanding on weather rather than climate. Is the climate of the world changing yes in most places, has it happened before, yes, it’s a constantly occurring thing, cycling all the time and changing all the time, warmer one period colder the next.

    How can the last 11 years out of 12 be the hottest. On record, only one can be the hottest, and 12 years is not along time to base climate on. Also, just how long has the country you are living on been keeping accurate temperature records for? England has the oldest records going back to the 1600s, even they can’t say what you said scientifically.

    It’s your activist group thought that speaks in your link.


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