On Tuesday, August 5, 2014, I had the opportunity to speak at the Interfaith Youth Initiative at Brandeis University. People of almost every faith came together for this program. There were people who practiced Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Humanism, and a lot more, which made this experience for me all the more interesting.
Even though we were only at this interfaith group for about two hours in total, the preparation, the presentation, and the reflection afterward were an extremely rewarding experience for me. I met some AMAZING people, who, in literally minutes, made me feel as though I was their best
friend! When we went to lunch with the group, Myra and I had incredible discussions on our projects, about ourselves, about our religions, and about so much more! The group ranged from ages 15 to 22, and I felt as though I was able to connect with all of them.
As an active member of the Jewish faith, I felt I could truly connect with everyone in the interfaith program. I was able to express the values that I was taught by my rabbis, cantors, and religious teachers and how they related to the work that I have been doing all summer. One value in particular that I discussed and that has always stuck out to me is Tikun Olam, meaning “heal the world.” When I was first taught this message, it was very simplified and all I could comprehend of this value was to plant trees. Since then, I have discovered it has many meanings, and every meaning is just as beautiful, justified, and impactful. It’s hard to imagine one person healing the world, but if all of us do just one thing to heal the world, we are all moving in the right direction and getting closer to the world we all envision. The work that I’m doing this summer has allowed me to truly reflect on how faith, communities, and people power can be mobilized in order to accomplish our goal of creating a better future.
We are ALL trying to leave a legacy, whether it is for our families, friends, neighbors, or even ourselves. The students whom I worked with had a mission for bringing peace to our earth and our world. I couldn’t have agreed more with their mission and their messaging; in fact, I felt a deeper connection to the work I have been doing all summer just from talking with this group and understanding that we all come from different places yet we all have one goal in mind — peace.
The Climate Legacy campaign is a campaign for peace. Moving away from our dependence on oil, tar sands, and natural gas, we, as a country, are able to become energy independent with the added benefit of having clean, sustainable, and renewable technology to meet our energy
needs. By leaving fossil fuels in the dust, we are eliminating social unrest caused from dependence on oil and other fossil fuels as well as eliminating unrest due to issues that stem from climate change, such as droughts.
It may be hard to imagine, but the drastic climatic changes that we have caused cause droughts, which lead to loss of crops, water, goods, and economic losses. Those losses can affect some countries so much that wars and social unrest are an outcome of this unfortunate human-caused event. On the brighter side, WE can stop this from happening. Bringing together people of different faiths, communities, backgrounds, beliefs, political backgrounds, etc. can really make a difference in our world. By eliminating stereotypes, oppressive behaviors, and becoming more understanding and open to different ideas and cultures, we are able to move forward with our thinking and with our solutions to the problem of climate change.