Stop Global Warming!

Don’t light that Chanukah candle!

Yes, another hit on religion this week, with a “Green Hanukkia’ campaign” being promoted via email in Israel.

United Torah Judaism MK Avraham Ravitz called the environmentalists “crazy people who are playing with the minds of innocent Jewish people.”

But Wegner, whose media company is promoting the the campaign, insists

… “There are many people who just light candles for the tradition and for their children,” he said. “To tell a child on the eighth day that we are not lighting the last candle as a sacrifice for the environment is an act that is not only educational but also will prevent the release of a huge amount of carbon dioxide that would hurt the environment.”…

But not everyone is convinced:

“They should encourage people to light one less cigarette instead,” M.K.A. Ravitz said.

In case you think this trivia highlighting religious symbolism is an isolated incident, you should go back two years when churches were warned that candles caused “indoor pollution”.

Actually, there is a small point in that problem: when I worked in Appalachia, Father would announce when incense would be burned at Mass, so as to alert those with black lung disease. And some modern churches use “electric candles” to spare the art work from soot….to which all I can say is “BAH HUMBUG”.
You see, without electricity, it gets very dark at night. When it is dark, the candle not only is “a light unto our path” but can be seen for long distances. I never understood the part about the “city on the hill” until I worked in Africa, and the earth was black except for the nearby village, lit by candles and kerosene lanterns.

Yet the fact that complaints about Chanukah candles, a trivial source of pollution (compared to cows and rice paddies) is making headlines points out to a worrysome thing in today’s “global warming” zealots.

A dyspeptic Lileks writes:

Somehow “not very concerned” means you’re a global warming denialist, and you would, if you had time and money, drive to the Arctic in a Hummer and push polar bears into the drink. With the windows down. And the heat on.

No, it just means that I am not very concerned. I think energy conservation and alternate sources of power are good ideas in their own right, and must be pursued; I just don’t think lower Manhattan will be awash in 2050 unless we cut carbon emissions to a level previously associated with the 15th century, and I’m not going to live in a state of guilty panic over my carbon footprint.

Hmmm…wonder if all those “Green Chanukah” types know that in the 15th century, they used candles for light and wood to stay warm. Come to think of it, that’s what is used in the rural Philippines and much of rural Africa too.

Wood burning is better than propane for causing asthma and air pollution, but never mind. My point is that few of those “green”types will ever have to chop wood, carry it home on your head, and then get up in the cold predawn to light the stove…
So what it seems to me is that a lot of the green hysteria (in contrast to the actual people who help make green technology and stop pollution) is about busy bodies controlling other people…or rather, well paid professional globocrats who want to control how other people live.

Claudia Rosett notes:

Never mind what the oceans might do; if this Bali meeting gets any more traction, we can confidently predict that within the next decade we will see a 4.6 foot rise in the global level of red tape….

But just to provide a sample, here’s one of my favorites… It’s an agenda item discussing the ways to ensure UN-style “Privileges and Immunities for individuals serving on constituted bodies under the Kyoto Protocol… .” Translation: They’re looking for a way to ensure that no matter what they do to the rest of us, we can’t do anything about it.

Which brings us back to the Chanukah candles.

Chanukah celebrates an uprising of ordinary people who didn’t want the better educated Greeks to tell them how to live.

Under the rule of Antiochus, the Greeks did not want to kill the Jewish people. Rather, they wanted us to share their ideology…(by) commanding the Jews not to perform three vital actions (that were vital to the Jewish religion).

And those who see lighting a candle as only a way to produce greenhouse gases are alas missing something that is more important and more human than the utopian ideology they are trying to make everyone obey.

In the words of Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf:

On the first night of Chanukah we light one candle. Small and silent. We walk into the room and we barely notice its presence. Like our souls, the flame is there. But very subtle.As we hurtle through days filled with noise and confusion, it’s easy to lose track of our souls. There are family obligations, kids, school, the office, dating, vacations, the six o’clock news…

And somehow… amidst all of this we’re supposed to remember that each of us has a soul. That deep down our inner essence wants to do more than run errands. That we yearn to touch the infinite, luminous, divine, transcendent dimension…

The lighting of the menorah creates a new space in our lives. A space where we can, for awhile, divest ourselves of everything else that tugs at us and focus on the “deep down” of life. Who we truly are deep down. What about our inner self we deem to be precious. What we want to do with this brief time we call life…


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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