Adapting to the Climate Crisis

ALTHOUGH THE MEDIA and political leaders want to pretend that what came out of the Paris climate talks is a huge advance, those with more understanding of the actual realities of the environmental crisis facing the human race realize that those steps seem visionary only in comparison with what has been deemed realistic in the past, but not when compared with what actually must be done to prevent global catastrophe by 2070 or 2080. This point is argued well by Steven E. Koonin, director of the Center for Urban Science at New York University and former Department of Energy undersecretary for science during Obama’s first term. Sadly, Koonin and others also argue for learning to adapt to this reality rather than heading it off, offering only scant acknowledgment of the human disaster they appear willing to accept. This adaption may mean climate wars, military measures to keep tens of millions of displaced climate refugees from coming to the United States, and widespread misery elsewhere. No doubt, we will see the rise of fascistic military- and police-state tactics in the United States, implemented to protect the gated communities of the rich from the outrage of the suffering masses.

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The text above was just an excerpt. The web versions of our print articles are now hosted by Duke University Press, Tikkun‘s publisher. Click here to read an HTML version of the article. Click here to read a PDF version of the full article.

(To return to the Spring 2016 Table of Contents, click here.)

Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun, co-chair with Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls in San Francisco and Berkeley, California. He is the author of eleven books, including two national bestsellers—The Left Hand of God and Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation. His most recent book, Embracing Israel/Palestine, is available on Kindle from and in hard copy from He welcomes your responses and invites you to join with him by joining the Network of Spiritual Progressives (membership comes with a subscription to Tikkun magazine). You can contact him at

Source Citation

Tikkun 2016 Volume 31, Number 2: 6

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