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Mitzvah Moments by Tish Levee -May 2016


Mitzvah Moments by Tish Levee - May 2016

by Tish Levee

Rising Seas Revisited. 

Last fall I wrote the Rising Seas Summit in Boston, which appeared on the Gazette’s website in February. While I was pretty taken aback by the information I received at RSS, I keep getting updates that tell me that the situation was seriously underestimated then.

I don’t particularly like to write “doom and gloom” scenarios, if for no other reason than they tend to make people shut down, turn off, go into denial, etc., and this is no time for any of that. But the reality is that change is happening even faster than scientists have predicted, and unless we get on board with some serious efforts to slow climate change, global warming, rising sea levels, and all the other consequences of how we are treating our planet, we won’t have many– if any – choices about what happens to us and to the world we are leaving those who follow us.

Sometimes I am asked what difference it makes to me – after all I am 76, and so I won’t probably be here for the worst consequences. While I was pretty taken aback by the information I received at RSS, I keep getting updates that tell me that the situation was seriously underestimated then.

There is a story in the Talmud about a mystic called Honi the Circle Maker. One day when he was walking along he saw a man planting a carob tree and asked him, “How long will it take for that tree to grow?” 

“Seventy years.” 

Looking shocked, Honi asked, “How do you know you’ll live another 70 years?”

“I don’t, but just as those who came before me planted trees for me, I am planting this tree for those who will follow me.”

Like the man planting the carob tree, we may not live 70 years, and thus we won’t see how high the waters will be, but those coming after us definitely will.

To see what this’ll look like, go to for a zip code map of Sea Level Rise in  Sonoma; then input any zip code you want.

Young people fight back against climate change in court!  

An Oregon Federal Court recently ruled that 21 plaintiffs, ages 8 to 19, have the right to sue the Federal Government and the fossil fuel industry on behalf of future generations of Americans. In effect, Judge Thomas Coffin said that global warming may eventually hurt all of us, but it will hurt our children and grandchildren the most, so they have the right to sue. Learn more at

Iron Rangers at the beach – a social justice issue.

The Coastal Commission meeting regarding paid parking at the Sonoma County State Beaches drew over 500 people this week. Nearly everyone, including the commission and its staff saw this as particularly a social justice issue, as $8 parking fee would put the beach out of the reach of low-income people, who already are stretched to just get there. For now, the beaches will still be free, but this is going to keep coming up.

Guess what? The drought isn’t over!

Yes, the water is high in Lake Shasta and other Northern California reservoirs, but that doesn’t mean the drought’s over. More importantly, there could be another drought right around the corner. The reality is we live in a semi-arid climate that was never intended to support the number of people it does now, and climate change just makes that worse. So, let’s keep practicing all the water-saving strategies we’ve learned the last several years. Go to for a refresher and rebate information.

Join the Daily Acts Community Resiliency Challenge!

The last six years over 21,500 actions to build community resilience were registered in Sonoma County, in a campaign inspiring thousands to take actions to save water, grow food, conserve energy, reduce waste, and build community. Chose from over 40 suggested actions that will help to lighten your footprint. Through May, go to for more information and to take part.

© Tish Levee, 2016