Taking charge of climate action
JALC session

Taking charge of climate action

“Our community can be a real powerhouse on this.”

Yosef Abramowitz, pictured here in Melbourne in 2018. Photo: Peter Haskin
Jeremy Ungar facilitating the JALC session.

The climate crisis was the topic of discussion at the Jewish Advocacy & Leadership Corps (JALC) session last week, with guest speakers addressing the question, why us?

Guest speakers included CEO at Energiya Global Capital, Yosef Abramowitz; director of research at the Israel Policy Forum, Shira Efron; and CEO of Jewish Climate Network, Joel Lazar.

JALC is an initiative of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) that aims to empower leaders with knowledge and skills to drive action and create change across the community.

The online session held last week was facilitated by Israel Trade and Economic Commission senior trader, Jeremy Ungar.

The overarching theme and goal of the conversation was to answer the question, “What is the Jewish community’s responsibility and role in this issue?”

Lazar said, “We can’t afford to wait for someone else – it’s us, here and right now who need to take action,” adding, “Our community can be a real powerhouse on this.”

The climate situation in Israel was also in the talking points. Abramowitz explained that Israeli company Energiya’s “vision is for Israel to be a renewable light unto the nations”, adding, “The fact that the first region in the world powered entirely with renewable energy during the day is from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea is really that shining example to the world.”

Efron explained that there are 650 Israeli companies currently working in the climate space. She said, “One of the most exciting fields is alternative protein.”

She added, “25 per cent of global investment in alternative protein goes through Israel.” Given the carbon emissions of the meat industry, “This is a necessary means to address this issue and also make it affordable for everyone,” she said.

Despite Israel being a leader in this arena, Abramowitz noted that Australia has “been so blessed, [because] you have the land, you have the sun, you have just been lacking the climate leadership”.

He added that he is hoping that the new Albanese government “is going to lead the way”.

Lazar applauded the ECAJ for “bringing its climate policy to life this way”.

“Equipping the future leadership of the Australian Jewish community with the knowledge they need to understand the risks and opportunities posed by climate change, will make them better leaders and advocates for the Jewish people and Israel,” he said.

“Armed with this education, I’m sure these leaders will find their own unique ways to make a difference on this once-in-a-generation challenge.”

Project manager of JALC Kareen Neumann said, “As Jews, we value tikkun olam, and therefore climate change should be on our minds, and we should be teaching it from a young age.”

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