Because I had no religious upbringing, I like to say that I belong to all religions. I read texts from Judaisim, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, humanism and others, too. What grabs me in each is the call to mystery, the reminder that fundamentally, my existence is bigger than I understand.
That is important to me in my environmental learnings. Because if I my existence is bigger than I understand, then it must, too, be bigger than my material desires. There is something bigger going on here than the fact that I want an iPhone.
For the secularists in the crowd, I don't meant that this bigger thing has to be God (though, of course, it could be). It could simply be an infinite universe, by contrast to which my large-seeming desires are infinitesimally small.
Maybe pursuing material comforts--and all the commensurate damage to the planet that our indulgence in this area has caused--is not what's most important. Put another way, if I can't take it with me when I die, is it worth wrecking the earth for?
Anyway, in the Jewish calendar, this is the time of Sukkot (and if I get things wrong here, I apologize in advance). Sukkot, as explained to me by my wonderful friend Rabbi Steve Greenberg, is a time for reconciliation or--and this is my word--atonement or at-one-ment. Sukkot means, having taken stock of our wrongs, now making them right. Sukkot is coming together with everyone and everything. It is, Steven tells me, the most joyous of Jewish holidays.
Below, I'm posting two very short videos of Steven talking about Sukkot (if you get this blog by email, click on the links). In the first, he talks about the big reconciliation that needs to be made is with the planet. In the second, he talks about a person--uh, well, me--whose work he thinks speaks to this reconciliation.