My mom shared this teaching with me, from a Torah Study she lead on Tu BiSh’vat:
In our society, we rush from one task to another with hardly a moment to pause and reflect in a long week of work. Our culture tells us to do more, work harder, and buy more – an endless cycle which undermines our peace of mind and causes tremendous impacts on our environment. By not being present in the moment, we lose sight of what truly matters. Our hectic pace leads to using our planet’s resources more rapidly than they can be renewed, and leaving too little for others and future generations.
It’s odd… there is no shortage of scientific data that can teach us about the consequences of our actions that are leading to the deterioration of the planet. Of course, this assumes that you are of sound mind and judgement to not conveniently ignore or dismiss this data.
And yet – if you’re like me – that scientific data is incredibly hard to decipher. I trust it; I know that most of those doing environmental research are smarter than I and are worthy of my trust in this area. But I’m not a scientist, and the most of data doesn’t speak to me; at least not in my language.
So… I can read something like what Rabbi Neril writes, and come to the same conclusion as the scientists: the way most humans in the Western world live is not sustainable. We are undermining our own future. That we can come to the same conclusion from vastly different approaches – in essence, from two incredibly different languages – I think is a beautiful.