Rosh Hashanah: Mobilizing The Holidays

By Greg Schwedock 


Mobilization and persuasion starts with personal connections and nothing is more personal than family and the holidays.  Today is Rosh Hashanah, or The Jewish New Year, one of the most important days in the Jewish tradition.  This year I decided in light of the looming climate catastrophe I had to share with my family the vision and opportunities The Climate Mobilization provides to save civilization.  The following is what I told them:

I started with a joke to get everyone's attention.  If you tap a glass and tell your family you proposed to your "significant other" they've never heard of, I promise it will get their attention...

A week from today it will be written who shall live and who shall die, who will die of thirst and who of famine, who will be wealthy and who will be joyous.  

In the meantime our tradition calls for us to reflect, to seek genuine forgiveness from those we have wronged, hopefully it will be granted, and hopefully it will be taken into account when our names are written in the register.

However, as a whole humanity’s fate has been written and it is not pretty.  Scientists nearly unanimously agree that human caused climate change will have repercussions that will ultimately trigger the collapse of civilization and that it will happen in this generation's lifetime.  It does not matter that every other doomsday prediction has previously not unfolded.  Physics does not care.

Luckily for us this evening, it’s not a time for fasting, in fact it’s a time for sweets: for apple and honey and for celebrating beautiful newborns: the latest to join the family.  A new year and a newborn are both full of opportunity.  While the industrialized world might need a host of forgiveness for its transgressions if we act now there is a still opportunity to change what is written.

We were created in God’s image and it’s said there’s a little bit of god in all of us.  So perhaps it’s fitting that we have the opportunity as a family, community and society to come together, find that spirit in all of us, to change what is currently written in the book of life, to flip it on its head.

From catastrophe to opportunity
From greed to kindness
From racism and all isms to a celebration of variety and distinctions
From sickness to health
From extinction to vibrance
From despair to mobilization

I count myself lucky for many reasons, but most recently because I’ve dedicated myself full time to an organization called The Climate Mobilization, and it feels great.  It’s a blessing to work with a community of folks facing the facts, who say the hell to denial and despair.

The Climate Mobilization has a vision, a framework to fight for, so that we do not have to wallow in despair.  In fact, we fought so that our vision for a mobilization of a scale not seen since WWII is now in the democratic party platform.  In august we released a first draft of a detailed Victory Plan for what a successful mobilization in the US would entail.

The power is momentarily still in our hands to control our fate.  
The greatest generation was able to do it, now it’s time for our generations to mobilize.
To mobilize so that little Joey can have the opportunity to live to a ripe old age.
To fight so that all of your children can.
No one else will do it for you.

Mobilization can take many forms, of course not everyone can drop everything to be full time, there are obligations to children, patients, clients and students.  However, it could be simple as conversations or donations; to taking a stand as a leader in your community, traditional protest or hosting a full time Mobilizer in your home.  

I’d love to discuss how you can play a part because I hope to not leave you with warning of catastrophe, but rather an opportunity to act.

We could even leave society better off than we found it and that’s an opportunity and cause to celebrate.

Little Joey chimed in on queue and there were cheers all around after I finished.  There were followup questions and appreciation for sharing, however the true test to know if the message was received will be to see who joins the mobilization in this sweet new year.

Happy New Year to all celebrating!

Anya Grenier