Cross-border cooperation for Tu Bishvat, the environment, is essential
By Michael Cohen
January 24, 2021
In 1996, CO2 levels in the atmosphere were 361 parts per million, surpassing the 350 ppm red line in 1988. Today those levels are a staggering 414 ppm and rising.
For more than 2,000 years, Tu Bishvat has taken on different roles and meanings. First created to demarcate a tax year, it later developed into a ritual for a new kabbalistic theology, and was later rediscovered by Zionists. More recently, it has become the Jewish environmental holiday par excellence as today, the environmental climate crisis is the existential cloud hanging over humanity.
Tu Bishvat is called in the Mishna “the new year for trees.” (Rosh Hashanah 1:1) Trees are so important, they are prominent in the Torah’s telling of Creation (Gen. 1:11). We know trees are essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.