[Written in 2001, so some updating necessary.] 

A generation goes and a generation comes but the earth endures forever.

And the sun rises and the sun sets -- then to its place it rushes;  there it rises again. It goes toward the south and veers toward  the north.

The wind goes round and round, and on its rounds the wind returns.

All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place where the rivers flow, there they flow once more.

               Ecclesiastes 1:4-7 

In 1973, a combination of oil shortages and an OPEC boycott produced an energy crisis in the United States. Six years later, the Iran-Iraq war shut off 4 million barrels of the world's daily oil supplies almost overnight, and energy prices more than doubled in one year. As a result, the 1970s was a time of energy shortages and a wave of inflation in all industrialized countries. This resulted in rationing and long lines of vehicles at service stations, and in drivers, homeowners, and industries having to pay very high prices for available fuel.

After these crises, energy supplies were relatively stable. However, in early 2001 a series of brownouts (rolling blackouts) in California and rapidly rising gasoline prices thrust the energy issue back into the foreground. Announcing the recommendations of his energy task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney,  President George W. Bush argued that if America failed to act now, "this great country could face a darker future, a future that is, unfortunately, being previewed in rising prices at the gas pump and rolling blackouts in the great state of California."[i] Bush stated that ''America needs an energy plan that faces up to our energy challenges and meets them.''[ii] The White House task force’s report cited a ''fundamental imbalance between supply and demand'' and depicted the potential for a very gloomy energy picture, including high gasoline and electricity prices across much of the country, soaring natural gas prices causing havoc with farmers and the possibility of power blackouts in the West and Northeast.[iii]

As long ago as the1970s, energy expert Amory Lovins argued that there were two primary approaches to obtaining adequate energy: the "hard" path and the "soft" path.[iv] The hard path assumes that we need to obtain energy from coal, oil, uranium, and synthetic sources to continue our historic increase in energy use and that, in fact, such increased energy consumption is necessary for our country to prosper. Advocates of the soft energy path assert that energy efficiency and conservation are the primary answers to current problems, and that renewable energy sources based on sun, wind, flowing water, and biomass should be used to provide much of our energy, without the dangers associated with hard energy fuels.[v]

While it has a few elements of conservation and renewable energy, the main thrust of the Bush task force is toward the hard energy path. Their plan calls for easing regulatory barriers to building nuclear power plants, expanding oil and gas development and the construction of fossil fuel power plants, building new refineries, and improving the nation's inadequate and sometimes precarious electricity grid. Among the report's most controversial recommendations is permitting drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

Responses to the Bush task force energy recommendations were predictable, with Republicans and oil, gas, and nuclear interests strongly supporting it, and Democrats and environmentalists loudly opposing it. Republicans argued that the White House’s call for expanded oil and gas exploration and the revival of the nuclear power industry was an important step toward ending the energy shortages that had led to the rolling blackouts in California and $2-a-gallon gasoline. Republican House and Senate leaders argued that the president's proposals were a balanced effort to develop new energy supplies while protecting the environment. Senator Frank H. Murkowski, the Alaska Republican who was chairman of the Senate Energy Committee stated, "Today we have an energy policy. Yesterday we didn't."[vi]

He said Mr. Bush's plan "is the first national energy plan in a generation; it is comprehensive, it is balanced, and it delivers us to energy stability and security."[vii] Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois said the White House proposal "strikes the right balance by successfully boosting conservation, implementing renewable fuels and 21st- century technologies and ensuring safe exploration."[viii]

Congressional Democrats denounced the plan as a present to Mr. Bush's old energy industry business colleagues and a severe environmental threat. They said it failed to help consumers struggling to cope with fast-rising prices for gasoline and electricity. Tom Daschle of South Dakota, then Senate Minority Leader who became Majority Leader in June, 2001, vowed to block any effort to legislate any parts of President Bush's plan, especially its proposal for drilling in the Arctic refuge.[ix] He stated that the president's plan "is not a plan for America's future. It's a page from our past. It relies almost exclusively on the old ways of doing things: drilling more oil wells, burning more coal, and using more natural gas. That jeopardizes our environment."[x] Senate Democrats took the offensive, releasing an energy  bill that focuses on conserving energy and boosting renewable fuels.  Senator Daschle said the U.S. "cannot drill our way out of this problem" and accused President Bush of using the country's energy problems to justify "an all-out assault on the  environment."[xi] Like the GOP energy package introduced earlier, the  Democratic alternative would expand domestic energy production.  But it stresses tax incentives to promote energy efficiency and wind and solar power and also includes a  provision that requires that  light trucks and SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles) to achieve fuel efficiencies by 2008 comparable to those required of (and achieved by) automobiles.[xii]  

In view of these sharply divergent opinions (which illustrate the vast differences between advocates of the hard energy path and the soft energy path), what criteria should be used to select a proper energy path? They should include such Jewish values as bal tashchit (you shall not waste), "the earth is the Lord's," the sanctity of human life, being mindful of the needs and circumstances of future generations, the dignity of labor, and proper use of the cycles of sun, water, and wind which God has provided for our (responsible) use and enjoyment. Let us consider future energy choices in light of each of these considerations. 


Consistent with the Biblical mandate not to waste or unnecessarily destroy anything of value (Deuteronomy 20:19,20), supporters of the soft energy path advocate a  strong reliance on conservation.

The U.S. is extremely wasteful of energy. With about four and a half percent of the world's people, we are responsible for about 24 percent of its energy use (the highest per capita consumption in the world).[xiii] Europe and Japan use about half the energy relative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the United States. Yet European and Japanese people have comfortable standards of living.[xiv] Partly because of wasteful energy use, U.S. electrical energy demand doubled about every ten years for much of the twentieth century.

In spite of major improvements in the energy efficiency of appliances, lights, buildings, and industrial appliances, U. S. per capita energy consumption in 2000 was within two percent of its peak in 1973, before the first oil embargo.[xv] This is primarily because (1) we buy bigger cars (more than half of all new vehicle sales involve minivans, SUVs, and pickup trucks – it should be acknowledged that these vehicles sometimes meet legitimate needs, including work requirements and the challenges of severe winter weather); (2) we buy bigger homes (the average house size increased from 1,600 square feet in 1973 to 2,100 square feet in 2000, even though the average household shrank from 3.6 to three people); and (3) we use more electrical gadgets (since 1973, the average energy use by computers, VCRs, dishwashers, and other appliances has been increasing by five percent per year).[xvi]

Energy made available through conservation is cheaper, safer, more reliable, less polluting, and more job-creating than energy obtained from any other source.[xvii] Conservation doesn't mean, as President Reagan once put it, being "too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter." It does mean more effective use of the fuel we use: more-efficient automobiles, better-insulated homes and offices, reuse of resources, design of equipment and machines for longer life, and the turning off of lights and equipment when they are not being used.

Several studies have shown that we can continue to grow economically and to maintain, even improve, our lifestyles while reducing our use of energy. According to a report released in September 2000 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the U.S. cut its energy intensity -- or energy used per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) -- by 42 percent between 1970 and 1999, while also cutting its carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 47 percent.[xviii] Still, much more progress needs to be made. The ACEEE recommends creating incentives for the use of renewable power and efficient technologies, phasing out old coal-fired power plants, and taxing gas-guzzling light trucks and cars (using the revenue generated to give subsidies to buyers of fuel-efficient vehicles).[xix]

Energy conservation saved California $34 billion between 1977 and 2000, roughly $1,000 for each resident, and has played a big role in helping the state's economy grow, according to a state-commissioned report.[xx] (Conservation and efficiency also delayed the summer, 2001 crisis in California and made it shorter and easier to recover from; the feared disaster was averted.) The report comes as the California legislature is considering bills to extend beyond 2000 a four-year-old charge on utility bills that helps fund energy conservation and costs most families a few dollars a month.[xxi] The report's lead author Mark Bernstein said the study's findings should "end the debate" about the wisdom of the charge because promoting energy conservation will likely lower utility payments for most families. The report indicates that simple changes, such as improving wall insulation and replacing old appliances, can cut as much as $400 from a household’s annual utility bill.[xxii]

However, according to the late energy expert Donella Meadows, energy deregulation and restructuring not only contributed to the energy crisis in California in 2001, but reduced incentives for greater efficiency.[xxiii] It is cheaper and far better for the environment to install more efficient devices. Before deregulation, it cost utilities less to subsidize more efficient bulbs than to build another huge power plant. In the deregulated system, utilities have only one incentive: to sell as much power as possible.

As a sign of the increasing interest in energy conservation, in September 2000 a coalition of 38 businesses and environmental groups, ranging from the Whirlpool Corp. to the Natural Resources Defense Council, called on President Clinton to do more to promote energy efficiency.[xxiv] The coalition urged Clinton to push for new tax incentives for buyers of energy-efficient products and increased government investment in renewable energy and clean technologies.[xxv] In a letter to the President, the coalition also called for $200 million in additional government funding to help low-income people weatherize their homes, and for more research and development on ways to reduce consumption of natural gas and oil.[xxvi]

A valuable resource for religious congregations that wish to conserve energy is a 100-page guide, "Putting Energy into Stewardship”, a publication of “ENERGY STAR for Congregations,[xxvii] a free technical support and information service of the US Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star helps with cost and savings calculations, responds to questions on facilities and equipment, and generally provides free technical support to achieve pollution prevention with energy efficiency. The Web site also provides online "success stories," a national awards program for congregations' energy efficiency efforts, a directory of finance for energy upgrades, and an interactive map for locating energy efficiency products and services contractors and vendors.[xxviii] 

One indication that our society can do far more to conserve energy is found in a 2000 report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which indicates that the average gas mileage for year 2000 model passenger vehicles was only 24 miles per gallon, the lowest value since 1980.[xxix] The report indicates that the recent drop in fuel economy is due to a surge in sales of vans, pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles, and luxury cars, all inefficient users of gas. Faced with rising gasoline prices, some Americans are trading in their SUVs and gas-guzzling cars for more efficient vehicles. The trend, if it continues, would be good news for the environment. According to a study by the James A. Baker the 3rd Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, the U.S. could decrease its crude-oil imports by 170,000 barrels a day -- 62 million barrels a year -- if consumers switched from SUVs to  higher-mileage vehicles.[xxx] Michelle Robinson, Senior Advocate at the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Clean Vehicles Program, states, "Curbing our oil appetite through more efficient SUVs and light trucks could save more oil within the next 15 years than can be economically recovered from the [Alaskan] Arctic over the next 50 years."[xxxi]

Affordable technologies to boost the fuel economy of SUVs and light trucks are readily available. Simple modifications, such as engine upgrades and more efficient transmissions, could make light trucks and SUVs 50 percent more efficient, without sacrificing performance. Advanced technologies such as hybrid and fuel cell vehicles promise even greater future gains. UCS’s Michelle Robinson writes: "Technology has provided a way to reduce oil use. Now it's up to policymakers to supply the will. Nobody's saying we should go cold-turkey on fossil fuels. But it’s time we wean ourselves off our oil addiction."[xxxii]

However, even in the face of rising gas prices, White  House spokesman Ari Fleischer said in May, 2001 that President Bush would not urge Americans to conserve:  "That [a focus on conservation] is a big no. The president believes that it [heavy energy use] is an American way of life, and that it should be the goal of policy-makers to protect the American way of  life.  The American way of life is a blessed one."[xxxiii] The administration's 2001 budget slashed funding for renewable energy research and development and for solar, wind, and geothermal energy programs by nearly fifty percent.[xxxiv] Alan Nogee, Clean Energy Program Director for UCS said: "The president’s budget has nearly switched off funding for renewable power. Continued support would make these technologies even more competitive with fossil fuels."[xxxv] 


               Psalms 24:1 

Soft energy methods based on renewable resources and conservation have relatively minor impacts on the environment. The hard energy path, on

the other hand, causes many threats to already-fragile ecosystems:[xxxvi]

* Effluents from coal-burning power plants, such as sulfur dioxide and particulate matter (particles), pollute the air. Especially when acting together, these pollutants have very detrimental effects on health.

* When high smokestacks are used, sulfur dioxide from coal-burning power plants combines with water vapor to form sulfuric acid. Later this toxic chemical falls to the earth as acid rain, which has badly damaged crop areas and lakes in many regions, including eastern Canada and the Adirondack Mountains.

* Major oil spills severely damage marine life.

* Heated water ejected from power-plant cooling systems causes thermal pollution, which affects the delicate balance of ecological systems of lakes, rivers, and oceans.

*Surface strip mining for coal destroys land and results in acids running off and polluting nearby waters. 


Soft energy methods involve minimal or no danger to human life. The hard energy path, in contrast, endangers life in several ways:

* In spite of numerous health and safety advances in the last ten years, underground coal mining is still the most dangerous job. On the average, one worker dies in the coal industry every two working days; a coal miner is eight times more likely to die on the job than an average private sector worker.[xxxvii] Many miners suffer the painful and debilitating disease of "black lung," caused by inhaling coal dust, which often results in death.[xxxviii] Because of the high death rate and the recent sharp decline in jobs for coal miners, there are now more coal miners’ widows in the U.S. than there are coal miners.[xxxix]

* Air pollution from fossil-fuel power plants causes disease and death.

* Nuclear power plants can pose great potential threats to life. Nuclear facilities expose workers and surrounding communities to cumulative doses of low-level radiation, which some scientists believe can result in various kinds of cancer, as well as genetic damage that may be passed on to future generations.

* Hundreds of uranium miners' deaths are linked to exposure to radiation.[xl] 


Judaism teaches us to consider the effects of our actions on future generations. A Talmudic sage posed the question "Who is the wise person?" His response: "The person who foresees the future consequences of his or her actions."[xli]

The Talmud tells a story of a very old man who was planting a carob tree, which would not bear fruit for many years after his death. The Talmudic figure Honi the circle-maker asked him why he was planting it, when he would not live to harvest its fruit. He explained that just as he had been able to partake of the fruits of trees which others had planted before he was born, he also would plant for his descendants and others to come after him.[xlii]

Soft energy methods do not endanger future generations. Conservation is actually an investment in the future, since saved energy and resources can help meet the needs of future generations. Use of renewable sources such as sun, wind, and water avoids future scarcities, which could result in inflation and war.

     Once again, hard energy sources come out worse. Among potential negative effects on future generations are the following:

* Five decades after the U.S. atomic electric power industry began accumulating nuclear waste, as temporary repositories quickly fill up, there is no safe, practical method of storing radioactive waste material. Radioactive wastes are highly toxic, and once released into the environment, will contaminate land and water virtually "forever."

* A nuclear accident could release enough radiation to kill thousands of people and contaminate cities, land, and water for decades. Heavily populated areas near nuclear power plants are finding it difficult to plan an adequate evacuation.

* Nations or terrorist groups might use nuclear waste products to make nuclear weapons.

*The many potential dangers related to nuclear power were summarized dramatically by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Hannes Alfven in the early 1970s: 

Fission energy is safe only if a number of critical devices work as they should, if a number of people in key positions follow all of their instructions, if there is no sabotage, no hijacking of transports, if no reactor fuel processing plant or waste repository anywhere in the world is situated in a region of riots or guerrilla activity, and no revolution or war -- even a "conventional" one-- takes place in these regions.... No acts of God can be permitted.[xliii] 

After the horrific terrorist attacks that destroyed the twin Towers of the World Trade Center, Tom Clements, head of the Nuclear Control Institute in Washington, D.C. stated that nuclear power plants are vulnerable to terrorists, and attacks on them could cause much more damage than was done when the World Trade Center was destroyed.[xliv] He said: "It's quite apparent that the facilities are very difficult to defend.  I mean, [terrorists] can just go right in, over the fence, take out the guards, and get in."[xlv]  In some simulated attacks, security systems proved inadequate at about half the U.S. reactors tested.[xlvi]

* The guarding of nuclear facilities raises threats to civil liberties. In a document prepared for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a Stanford University law professor states that, in light of potential nuclear-related theft and terrorism, there might be a need for "a nationwide guard force, greater surveillance of dissenting political groups, area searches in the event of loss of material, and creation of new barriers of secrecy."[xlvii] He also anticipates possible wiretapping, detention, and harsh interrogation, perhaps even involving torture.

* The carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere due to fossil-fuel burning contributes to a "greenhouse effect," with all of the negative effects on the global climate discussed in Chapter 10. 


Unlike many ancient societies, such as those of Greece and Rome, where manual labor was done by slaves, Judaism recognizes the dignity of creative labor. Work is considered a character-developing process that gives an individual self-respect and respect from others.

Many Jewish teachings express great esteem for labor[xlviii]:  

A man should love work, and no man should hate work. For even as the Sabbath was commanded to the Jews as a covenant at Sinai, so was labor enjoined in that covenant, as it is said, "Six days shall you labor and do all your work," (and only then it is written) "the seventh day is a Sabbath unto the Lord your God" (Exodus 20:9,10).[xlix]          

When a person eats of his own labors, his mind is at ease, but when a person eats of the labors of his father or mother or children, his mind is not at ease; how much more so when he has to eat of the labors of strangers.[l]    

Many soft energy methods are labor-intensive. Such enterprizes as weatherization of homes to make them more energy efficient, recycling of products, and construction of equipment for the production and distribution of renewable energy all create jobs. According to a study prepared for the Energy Subcommittee of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, the U.S. can gain millions of jobs by adopting an energy policy based much more heavily on solar and other renewable energy sources and conservation.[li]

By contrast, hard energy paths are capital intensive. They require sophisticated, expensive equipment, but relatively few workers. Some jobs result from construction of pipe lines and power stations, but many of them are temporary. Long-term jobs in mining and drilling are often dangerous to those who do such work. 


A major cause of pollution and resource shortages in recent years is our inattention to  God's cycles of sun, wind, and water.

According to energy expert Denis Hayes, one of the founders of Earth Day, the U.S. could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by eighty percent in our lifetime by converting to the most efficient technologies currently available, and by switching as much as practical to solar energy, wind power, biofuels, and other renewable sources of energy.[lii] At present, solar energy and other forms of renewable energy are expensive, but increased research and greater use would significantly lower the cost of individual units. Hence, in partnership with good conservation practices, the second major element of the soft energy path is use of sun, wind, and water, as well as renewable fuels.

According to studies by the Union of Concerned Scientists and others, renewable energy could supply 20 percent of U.S. electricity needs by 2020.[liii] Legislation sponsored by Senators James Jeffords (I-VT) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) in 2000 (but never adopted) attempted to insure that renewable energy development met that target. In a report in 2000, five national laboratories found that renewable energy sources could supply at least 7.5 percent of US electricity by 2010.[liv] The study found that expanded use of renewable energy sources, along with improvements in energy efficiency, could substantially reduce the costs of energy for consumers.

There are many "hidden" benefits of renewable energy sources: they are generally pollution-free, undepletable, dependable, abundant, decentralized, safe, job-creating, and inflation-resistant. These factors contrast with the many "hidden costs" of hard energy sources: air and water pollution; negative health effects; contributions to global climate change; the distortion of foreign policy by our dependence on other countries for fuel; hazardous nuclear wastes that must be stored for thousands of years; balance of payment deficits; potential blackmail from terrorist groups producing or acquiring nuclear weapons; disenfranchisement of the poor, old, young, and disabled in societies based on automobiles; suburban sprawl, paving over farm land and fostering isolation instead of healthy community life; and deaths directly and indirectly caused by oil use (accidents, air and water pollution, and oil wars).

Some Jewish groups have become involved in campaigns for more effective energy policies. At its annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland on February 28, 2000, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) adopted a resolution on National Energy Policy, which calls for Congress and the Administration to move toward a clean and sustainable energy system.[lv] Citing concerns about OPEC-induced rising gasoline prices and growing awareness of the dangers of global warming and air pollution, the group called for swift action to reduce U.S. reliance on fossil fuels as part of a "Clean and Sustainable Energy System."[lvi] The JCPA is the forum through which 13 national and 122 local Jewish organizations and federations develop consensus positions on pressing public policy issues.

The JCPA resolution concluded: 

We stand at the beginning of a new century. The vast majority of scientists and policy experts agree that if dramatic action is not taken soon, it is very likely that human well being and global geopolitical stability in the 21st century will be gravely affected by global climate change. Aggressive development of environmentally friendly technologies and products will create U.S. jobs, enhance U.S. competitiveness in the global economy, and demonstrate U.S. leadership toward a sustainable energy future for the entire planet.

We have a solemn obligation to do whatever we can within reason both to prevent harm to current and future generations and to preserve the integrity of the creation with which we have been entrusted. Not to do so when we have the technological capacity -- as we do in the case of non-fossil fuel energy and transportation technologies -- is an unforgivable abdication of our responsibility.

Therefore, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) calls upon Congress and the Administration to move toward the creation of a clean and sustainable energy system for the U.S. that will diminish U.S. reliance on imported oil and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, smog-forming compounds, and pre-cursors to acid rain.[lvii] 

In the summer of 2001, under the leadership of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL), over 600 U.S. rabbis representing all denominations, and other religious leaders, signed a statement (“Energy Conservation and God’s Creation: An Open Letter to the President, the Congress, and the American People.”) recommending that religious values (such as the ones discussed in this book) should be considered in formulating energy and global warming-related policies.[lviii] Their pioneering statement included the following:

As heads of major religious communities, we pray that all Americans will reflect carefully and speak clearly from their deepest moral and religious convictions about the President's recently announced energy plan.  

Far more than rolling blackouts and gasoline price increases are at stake: the future of God's creation on earth; the nature and durability of our economy; our public health and public lands; the environment and quality of life we bequeath our children and grandchildren. We are being called to consider national purpose, not just policy…. 

Humankind has a fundamental choice of priorities for its future. By depleting energy sources, causing global warming, fouling the air with pollution, and poisoning the land with radioactive waste, a policy of increased reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear power jeopardizes health and well-being for life on Earth. On the other hand, by investing in clean technology, renewable energy, greater vehicle fuel efficiency and safer power plants we help assure sustainability for God’s  creation and God’s justice. Energy conservation is intergenerational responsibility.  

We call on all Americans, and particularly our own leader and congregants, to consider carefully these values, which should guide our individual energy choices and by which we should judge energy policy options. In securing human well-being by preserving

creation and promoting justice, conservation is a personal and a public virtue – a comprehensive moral value – a standard for everything we do to assure energy for a wholesome way of life. We pray that the

wisdom, faith, and solidarity of the American people will bring us together – at this critical juncture – to redirect our national energy policy toward conservation, efficiency, justice, and maximum use of the perennial abundance of clean and renewable energy that our

Creator brought into being by proclaiming, “Let there be light” (Gen 1:3). 

In summary, our nation and the world can best be served by an energy policy based on Jewish values embodied in the acronym CARE (Conservation and Renewable Energy).[lix] Such a policy would involve turning away from sources of energy which have become environmentally destructive and extremely costly; adopting simpler technology instead of reliance on inefficient central electrical generating plants; decreasing dependence on large energy companies and foreign governments, which can cut off supplies or sharply raise prices. This could help create a simpler, healthier world, with more conservation of energy and resources; a safer world, with less competition for scarce fuels and other commodities; a more stable economy; less unemployment; and more money available for education, health, housing, transportation, nutrition, and social services. For all these profoundly  Jewish reasons, the Jewish community must take a leading role in advocating energy policies which will help usher in this safer, saner future.

Chapter Nine: Energy 

[i] H. J osef Haber, “Bush Plan Focuses on Boosting Energy Supply,” The Associated Press, Washington,D.C., May 17, 2001. 

[ii]  Ibid

[iii]  Ibid 

[iv]  The classic discussion of these two energy paths is in Soft Energy Paths: Toward a Durable Peace by Amory B. Lovins, Washington, D. C.: Friends of the Earth International, 1977. 

[v]  Soft energy path fuels and methods are discussed in Renewable Energy: Sources for Fuels and Electricity, edited by Thomas B. Johansson and Henry Kelly (Washington D.C.: Island Press, 1993) and Renewing Our Energy Future, Office of Technology Assessment of the U. S. Congress, Washington D.C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1995. 

[vi] Philip Shenon, “Battle Lines in Congress Are Quickly Drawn by Republicans and Democrats,” The New York Times, May 18, 2001. 

[vii] Ibid.

 [viii]  Ibid. 

[ix] Ibid. 

[x] Ibid. 

[xi] Ibid. 

[xii] Ibid. 

[xiii]  Jim Motovelli, “Balancing Act,” E Magazine, November, December 2000, 30. 

[xiv]  Denis Hayes, The Official Earth Day Guide, 25. 

[xv]  Ibid, 7. 

[xvi]  Ibid. 

[xvii]  “Energy: The Case for Conservation,” Worldwatch paper 4, by Denis Hayes, Washington, D. C.: Worldwatch Institute, 1976, 20-25; also see and

[xviii]  Planet Ark, Reuters, September 20, 2000,,  American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy downloadable report, 

[xix]  Ibid. 

[xx]  Los Angeles Times, Dan Morain, April 19, 2000,

[xxi]  Ibid. 

[xxii]  Ibid. 

[xxiii] Grist Magazine:  “Deregulation in California didn't help consumers, or the environment -- by Donella Meadow 

[xxiv]  Planet Ark, Reuters September 29, 2000,

[xxv]  Ibid.  

[xxvi]  Ibid. 

[xxvii] for downloading; or call 1-888 STAR YES (that's 1-888 782-7937; press #3 for congregations choice) and ask for "tech-support." 

[xxviii]  Ibid.  

[xxix]  To see the EPA report:

[xxx] Daniel B. Wood, Christian Science Monitor, May 14, 2001, 

[xxxi] “Bush-Cheney Oil and Coal Plan Turns Back the Clock,” May 7, 2001,  

[xxxii] Ibid. 

[xxxiii] Mike Allen and Eric Pianin , Washington Post, May 9, 2001,, New York Times, Joseph Kahn, May 9, 2001,

[xxxiv] “Bush-Cheney Oil and Coal Plan Turns Back the Clock,” May 7, 2001,

[xxxv] Ibid. 

[xxxvi]  Pollution effects from energy are discussed in Energy for a Technological Society by Joseph Priest, Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1979, 51- 93; also see

[xxxvii]  Anna Gyorgy, ed., No Nukes (Boston: South End Press, 1979), 243; also see

[xxxviii]  Ibid. 

[xxxix]  Denis Hayes, The Official Earth Day Guide, 127. 

[xl]  V. E. Archer, J. D. Gillam, and J. K. Wagoner, "Respiratory Disease Mortality Among Uranium Miners" in Annals, N.Y. Academy of Science, p. 271. NRC Contract No. AT (49-24-0190), October 31, 1975; also see  

[xli]  Tamid 32a 

[xlii] Ta'anit 23a; Midrash Leviticus Rabbah 25:5. 

[xliii]  Quoted by Denis Hayes, The Official Earth Day Guide, 34-35. 

[xliv] Toronto Globe and Mail, Martin Mittelstaedt, September 13, 2001;
/common/FullStory.html; Environmental news from GRIST MAGAZINE, September 13, 2001;
[xlv]  Ibid.
[xlvi] Ibid.

[xlvii]  John H. Barton, "Intensified Nuclear Safeguards and Civil Liberties," NRC Contract No. AT (49-24-0190), October 31, 1975; also see  

[xlviii] Jewish statements about the importance and dignity of labor include: 

When you eat from the labor of your hands, you shall be happy and it shall be well with you. (Psalms 128:2) 

Great is labor, for it honors him who performs it.   (Nedarim 49b) 

Artisans are not required to stand up from their labor when a sage passes by.    (Kiddushin 33a) 

A man is obliged to teach his son a trade, and whoever does not teach his son a trade teaches him (in effect) to become a robber.

(Tosefta Kidushin 1:11) 

Rabban Gamaliel, the son of Rabbi Judah the Prince said: Excellent is the study of Torah when combined with a worldly occupation, for the effort demanded by both makes sin to be forgotten. (Pirke Avot 2:2) 

Sweet is the sleep of a laboring man, whether he eat little or much, but the satiety of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. (Ecclesiastes 5:11) 

The dignity of labor is raised to the highest level in a rabbinic dictum. It concerns the Holy of Holies, the repository for the Ark of the Covenant, the most sacred part of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Only the high priest was permitted to enter, once a year on the Day of Atonement. The rabbinic statement reads: 

Great is work! Even the High Priest, if he were to enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement other than during the Avodah (worship service) is punished by death; yet for labor in it (for repair or mending), even those ritually unclean or blemished were permitted to enter (Mechilta). 

     Judaism considers all types of work to be dignified and ennobling, if through it an individual is participating in the creative process God intended for people: to improve the world. Consistent with this, the sages of Yavneh, the most famous academy of Talmudic times, stated: 

I am a creature, and my fellowman is a creature. I work in the city. He works in the fields. I rise early to go to my work. He rises early to go to his work. Just as he does not feel superior in his work, so I do not feel superior in mine. And if you should say that I do more for Heaven than he does, We have learned that it makes no difference. One may give more and one may give less, Providing that his intention is toward Heaven.

              (Berachot 17a) 

[xlix]  Avot de Rabbi Nathan 11:23a. 

[l]  Avot de Rabbi Nathan 31. 

[li]  Fact Sheet from Solar Lobby, 1001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20014. Also see the paper "Jobs and Energy," Environmentalists for a Full Economy, Washington, D. C.  

[lii]  Denis Hayes, The Official Earth Day Guide, 14, 16.  

[liii] “Bush-Cheney Oil and Coal Plan Turns Back the Clock,” May 7, 2001,

[liv]  Ibid. 

[lv]  CONTACT: COEJL, the environmental arm of JCPA,  (I212)684-6950, ext. 210, fax: (212)686-1353,;,

[lvi]  Ibid. 

[lvii]  Ibid. 

[lviii]  The complete statement can be obtained from or

[lix]  CARE (Conservation and Renewable Energy) is discussed in The Community Energy CARE-ing Handbook, by Leonard Rodberg and Arthur Waskow, Washington, D. C.: Public Resource Center, 1980. 

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island
Author of "Judaism and Vegetarianism," "Judaism and Global Survival," and "Mathematics and Global Survival," and over 130 articles at
President of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA)
and Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV)
Associate Producer of A SACRED DUTY (
Director of Veg Climate Alliance (