Senior Dayan warns of climate change impact, urges more responsibility

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Senior Dayan warns of climate change impact, urges more responsibility

St John’s Wood United Synagogue's Dayan Ivan Binstock delivered a stark warning for the community last Shabbat

St John’s Wood United Synagogue's senior rabbi, Dayan Ivan Binstock
St John’s Wood United Synagogue's senior rabbi, Dayan Ivan Binstock

A senior dayan has warned about the dangers of climate change, saying the community must be “more responsible in our use of energy, resources and disposal of waste”.

In a sermon given ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Senior Rabbi of St John’s Wood United Synagogue, Dayan Ivan Binstock, delivered a stark message, urging the community to be more mindful of its impact on the environment.

Saying that decisions taken at the United Nations Conference on Climate change will “be of vital importance for us all”, he drew on a lesson from the Torah to highlight the dangers of climate catastrophe.

He reflected on there being “approximately one billion people in the world today who do not have access to clean drinking water”, while relaying a story from the week’s portion of the Torah, where matriarch Rivkah must fetch water.

After a 1,000km trek, he said, “there was no question in her mind that there wouldn’t be enough water or that the well would run dry.”

He warned “in some places where the water supply has been reduced, it has been due to industrial corporations not being mindful of the ecological consequences of their actions”, referencing soft drink companies’ impact on the environment.

Dayan Binstock then quoted a Talmudic phrase that historically “the world will proceed on its course”, even if there is occasionally a flood, drought or natural disaster. “After a while, matters right themselves and the world continues”, he said,

Highlighting the impact of climate change, he said we are “facing the prospect of the world no longer continuing to run on its course. We run the risk where the sun will not merely shine, the sun will burn. The rain will not merely fall, the rain will flood. The seas will rise and the viability of many countries will be threatened.

“The decisions that will be taken at COP26 are of crucial significance for our world. But ultimately, it will be up to each and every one of us to implement these decisions in our lives. We will need to be more responsible in our use of energy, in our use of natural resources and in our disposal of waste.

“For thousands of years we have been able to work the planet without too much concern for the consequences. Now we have to appreciate that we also have a responsibility.. to protect the planet as well.”

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