Opinion: It’s Time to Take Climate Change Seriously | Aaron Neuman

Last night’s flooding was not just severe, it was historic. While Lakewood itself was not terribly affected, the same cannot be said of other areas, particularly northern parts of New Jersey and New York City. 

Horrifying footage of walls of water crashing through apartments, people clinging to the roofs of their cars as their cars became submerged under an ocean of water, and tornadoes tearing homes to shreds in southern New Jersey spread like wildfire. The storm, remnants of Hurricane Ida that pummeled southern states before moving up the east coast, quickly became an event for the history books.

But it isn’t just last night’s storm that has me concerned. Over the past few months, our region was battered with numerous severe storms; I don’t remember ever having so many tornadoes and tornado warnings in so short a period of time. During one storm in late July, an astonishing TEN tornadoes touched down in the region. And those weren’t even the first tornadoes of the season. What we are seeing is completely unprecedented.

Perhaps if we had no way of explaining these events we would write it off as simply a busy weather season. Thunderstorms are quite common and have always been common, in New Jersey and neighboring states over the summer, and perhaps all these extreme weather events are nothing more than a fluke. But we can’t say that. Scientists have been warning for years now that human activity is causing greenhouse gases to dangerously heat Earth, leading not only to melting ice sheets and higher sea levels, but to extreme weather events like we saw throughout this summer.

I am not a climate change alarmist. I don’t think that we need to immediately stop driving cars and taking other such dramatic steps to stop the planet from warming further. But I am not either a climate change denier – if the vast majority of scientists are warning that human activity is playing a role in these events, I am surely not qualified enough to say that they are wrong. And the evidence suggests that they are at least partially right. When was the last time you remember ever having such a summer? I have no such recollection.

I’m not here to say what we need to do or don’t need to do to ensure that storms like last night’s and the tornado outbreak we saw just over a month ago do not become a yearly occurence. But I am saying that we at least have to take off our rose-colored glasses and have a serious, thoughtful conversation about it.

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Would you also suggest that besides for having a conversation among ourselves, we have a serious and thoughtful conversation with Alm-ghty G-d, Who is the ulimate cause of the climate, the weather, and everything else?

    • Actually, the Gemara says Hakol Bidei Shamayim CHUTZ mitzinim pachim, so one could argue it is very much in our hands.

      Regardless, why must every conversation about climate change be shouted down with cries of HKBH? Hashem must be in ALL of our conversations, ALL of the time, especially so close to Rosh Hashanah. Simultaneously if there is something we need to do hishtadlus for screaming about Hashem won’t help you- tefillah and action are required.

      When someone tells you their kid is not in school do you try to help them or scream about their Emunah?

  2. Kol Hakovod Aaron. It pains me to watch our entire community sitting like ducks in a row ignoring the increasingly severe weather. Is it going to take deaths for us to wake up and realize that the scientists weren’t just making things up?

  3. Interesting take. You don’t seem to educated on the topic. While you claim to not be an alarmist its clear you buy into the alarmist propaganda. I am not a expert myself but from the propaganda I listen to the feeling i get is that climate change is happening the human cause is YTD.

    • @yankel weiss
      Why does it matter why climate change is happening? The facts are that it’s happening and we need to prepare; our homes and infrastructure are ill prepared for it, and we likely will need to move.

  4. If the Borei Olam wants the planet to be destroyed, for WHATEVER reason or cause, He will destroy it! If His promise to Klal Yisrael remains inviolable — that Moshiach will usher in a new world under Hashem’s Malchus — then any fears of man-made planetary destruction is pure shtus.

  5. I don’t think anyone knows, and it’s all just speculation and some people definitely have agendas. What I don’t understand is that according to the data the past year since the covid pandemic there was much less ‘greenhouse gas emissions’ because of all the lockdowns and people working from home and less people flying . If the human gas emissions are the cause then this should have been a better year than the past ten years?!

  6. you think after the Mabul, Noach was protesting about climate change and global warming?? We don’t control the weather. And these ‘scientist’ are fake news.

  7. It is written that before Moshiach comes there will be lots of flooding and severe storms, some even mentioning that major continents will be submerged under water if we know what that means. It’s time to stop being complacent in our fancy homes and plan for emergencies like stocking up food and generators. We can only rely on Hashem but need to do out Hishtadlus as well.

  8. Anyone who believes that “climate change” is bec of what humans are doing is plain and simply a koifer. There were no “greenhouse effects” during the times of Noach no one was driving cars then to lead to pollution. Rather it was all Hashem who saw what was going on and didnt like what he saw. Theres no such thing as climate change based on what people are doing. its all Gd thats it!

  9. the myth that the weather is changing because of man made emissions is false. scientists only began keeping data on the weather in 1880, so we have no clue what transpired prior to that, maybe this is just the cycle of weather and nothing to do with driving your gas powered car. climate change is a myth made up by liberals who would like to have more power over you. god changes the weather, not you.

  10. The Mabul lilke waters are a direct result to the acceptance of the LBGT Toevah.. The Mabul came because of Mishkav Zachor. The simon the Torah gave us is a rainbow. It can’t be coincidental that the banner for these mushchasim is a rainbow.

  11. Even according to a newsletter published by the biggest climate change advicates admitted that we will not start to feel the effectsnof climate change at all for at least 10 years. And even then the changes will be very very small and it will take even longer to feel actual life changing changes.

  12. The 1930’s , The 1950’s, and several other decades had far more hurricanes striking the Northeast and New England. Tornados overall are lower than average this year in the US. It’s hard to name climate change when there is little data to support it. Track all severe storms over the last century and see if there is a clear trend. Then you can argue climate change.

  13. Whoa said the climate is changing??! Who controls the world ?! Obviously it Is G-d world and we just renting from him. He does what he does. No, I don’t believe that climate is changed at all. People believe everything is in their hands and not G-d

  14. What idiocy, the world has been colder and warmer in the past thousand years alone, every single major prediction by every single climate change alarmist has failed to materialize. If any of these climate change doomsayers actually believed any of the garbage they advocate, they wouldn’t buy beachfront property and wouldn’t have a monthly carbon footprint bigger than the average Americans yearly one, with their multiple homes , cars, yachts and flying around in their private jets everywhere including to these climate change conferences where they preach doom and gloom, How a frum Yid can believe humans can affect the planetary weather by living their lives, I have no idea.

  15. For all those attacking the author you missed the point. Say, there was an uptick of violence which the community was unaware of and someone writes a post bringing the violence to light. Would your response be Hashem ? Of course everything is from Hashem just recognize what he is doing it seems there is a change of weather

  16. Hurricanes such as these originate in the Sahara desert if you bothered to do a little research… I don’t think they drive too many cars or drink too many lattes there…. We need to increase our learning and davening and our Chessed. Keeping it real

  17. You ‘have no recollection of such weather”? You mean in your measly 40-50 years out of almost 6000 years of weather?! And yet you want to make an assessment of the planet’s “changed weather”?! Seriously?

    Please bear in mind what happened the last time mankind thought they could make changes to the weather…. it was called the Dor Haflagah!

  18. Firstly mr Nueman we believe אף תיכון תבל בל תימוט which means that the world is headed towards perfection not the destruction. So right away climate change is against the Torah. And btw I don’t know if you realize but over the last 120 years the average global temperature is up by 1 degree. You can’t seriously be making an issue out of 1 degree. Thirdly you say we should believe science?? You mean that seriously?? Haven’t we seen enough?? Science makes a complete 180 every 50 years. Chart the history and you’ll see. So just to quote the greatest president ever Donald j trump “climate change is a hoax”

    • Your question about the significance of 1 degree belies your ignorance. 1 degree is crucial. Water will not freeze at 1 degree, but freezes at 0 degrees. 1 degree is the difference between a high fever and death from overheating, or a low body temperature and death from hypothermia.

  19. So basically you’re saying that if we would have taken the climate control “experts” seriously, last night storm wouldn’t have happened?! I don’t know if I should laugh or I should cry, but I definitely expected a higher standard from TLs.

  20. What’s happening to us is whats happening to Western culture generally…there’s no critical thinking….step 1-hear non-stop talk on climate change step 2-see the things happening that supposedly come from climate change step 3-accept their premise that if we change the way we do things it’ll change this type of weather…..did the article even suggest a shred of evidence that us changing to electric cars etc would in any effect potential future storms…?? monkey hear, monkey repeat….

    • No, and in fact not once did the writer suggest anything of the sort. Of course, it’s possible evidence does indeed exist, but the writer didn’t bring it because he never made any such claim.

      Does your brain believe the lies your eyes tell?

  21. Mr. Neuman, Do you think we readers on TLS live in caves & you’re opening our eyes to some new information?
    Even if you’re 100% right that green house gases are warming the planet this doesn’t explain the recent weather.
    & what exactly should The frum community do about it? Stop China & India from being mass polluters? Vote for Democrats?
    It’s less than a week to Rosh Hashanah, should we be having a “serious conversation” about this at the supper table now?
    You usually have intelligent things to say but this was a disappointing piece.

    • Judging from the comments here, indeed most commenters appear to live in caves.

      Why should “what exactly should we do about it” preclude a writer from reporting on something and beginning a conversation? Whether to react to something is always secondary to whether the phenomena actually exists.

  22. As a yid we have no place even suggesting to understand how the world works let alone try to control it. It’s all a liberal hoxe. Stop falling for this

  23. The so called scientists also say we evolved from monkeys and that one can change one’s gender at will. The statistic about most scientists is a lie anyway. The fact is that most climate scientists which are the only ones taht count dont say so, that staitic of most scientists comes from a survey of which only a small percentage answered it and only a small percentage of those asked were climate scientists to begin with, of that tiny percentage that answered, basically they ask 1,000 scientista of with 100 are climate scientists and about 100 total answered of which 5 were climate scientists and 97 of these hundred blamed humans and thats where 97% comes from

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