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Mitzvah Moments - April 2015


Mitzvah Moments - April 2015

by Tish Levee

“California has about one year of water left. Will you ration now?” read a recent headline by NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti in the LA Times. Well! That woke people up, even if it isn’t quite accurate. In reality, we have one year of water left in reservoirs, but we really don’t know how much ground water is left, as we have been depleting it—we may have only three years total water left. 

We’re beginning to get really serious about water conservation, and California may finally get the kind of leadership we need on this issue. On 3/17 state officials enacted new restrictions on water use, while warning of tougher restrictions in the future if “local agencies didn’t ramp up conservation efforts.” Describing these efforts as “quite modest,” Felicia Marcus, the chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, said, “We are not seeing the level of stepping up and ringing the alarm bells that the situation warrants.” On 3/19, the Governor and top lawmakers announced a one billion dollar plan to deal with California’s persistent drought. We all need to “ramp up” our personal conservation efforts. Check out for more information.

April is Recycling Month. Learn about recycling and earn points towards rewards that are good for you, your wallet, and the planet. Sign up at For local recycling information, go to

“It’s Our Turn to Lead” is the theme of Earth Day on April 22nd. Over one billion people in 192 countries will take part this year in the 45th annual Earth Day, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Organizing an Earth Day event or activity is one of the best ways to engage your community in protecting the planet. Start getting involved by ordering Earth Day Network’s Leadership Guide at

The actions of the 20 million Americans who participated in the 1st Earth Day in 1970 led to the creation of the EPA, and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. Last September 400,000 people took part in the People’s Climate March in NYC. Since then a recent survey shows the overwhelming majority of Americans, including nearly half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming; President Obama has spoken out on climate change, especially at the U.N. Climate Summit, and the G20 in Australia; he’s made an historic climate agreement with China; and he vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline. Events like this do make a difference!

I’m sure glad I’m not writing this in Florida, where employees in the State Department of Environmental Protection have reportedly been ordered not to use the words, “climate change” or “global warming,” in any reports or communications. This in the state scientists say is the most susceptible to the effects of climate change.

Locally, be part of the solution. Adaptation doesn’t mean we have to “suck it up,” it means we have to find creative solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change that are already here and that will be coming in the future. Come to “Resilience in a Changing Climate,” the inaugural Sonoma County Adaptation Forum on April 8th at SSU. Go to or see the article elsewhere in the Gazette for more information.

Be Part of the Solution Revolution. Save water, grow food, conserve energy, reduce waste, and build community with the 2015 Community Resilience Challenge May 16-17, 2015. The goal is 7,000 actions in Sonoma County and 14,000 nationally.

April is also National Organ Donor Month. Not all mitzvah moments are climate related; it just seems that way lately. Over 123,000 people are registered for an organ transplant—enough people to fill a football stadium twice over. One donor can help save the lives of up to eight people. Age or state of health are not necessarily bars to organ donation, so join ten million other Californians by registering at Also, consider becoming a living donor. Eighty-two percent of those waiting for an organ are waiting for a kidney; any one of them could receive one from a living donor. Yet last year only 34% of all donations were from living donors. Several people in our community are waiting for a kidney right now. Go to for more information.

© Tish Levee, 2015