Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fifteen Minutes with Josh Tulkin, Environmental Activist and Jewish Community Leader

HCWDC INTERN ASHLEY PORTILLO INTERVIEWS Founding Member of thE Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network

Josh Tulkin will speak on Wednesday, November 10th at "A Moral Dilemma: Is Going Green a Choice Between Right and Wrong?" at THEARC, 6:30 p.m. FREE! Register now!
Q: Where did you grow up?

A: Oakland, California.

Q: Did growing up in Oakland, or your upbringing in general, influence you to become active in the environmental arena?

A: Well I spent a lot of time in the ocean and near the mountains so that definitely gave me a lot of appreciation for nature. And with my Jewish upbringing, I went to the synagogue a lot with my parents. In Hebrew there is a phrase that translates in English to “healing the world”. That was stressed a lot in my household and in my religion. My faith definitely made me become more socially active and aware of the need for environmental justice.

Q: Why do you think that is?

A: Great question. I think it has always resonated with me. It just felt right. I’m also drawn to complex questions, which I have found in social justice as well, but I’m attracted to the complexity of the human connection to nature.

Q: Do you have a mantra or any specific phrase that you live by?

A: My mantra is more in terms of my organizing and my activism. You always have to organize people where they’re at, not where you’re at. A lot of politics is about telling people what to think and talking to them. For me, I live by my organizing and belief that faith and environmental protection go hand in hand.

Q: Has it been difficult trying to get the faith community involved in becoming more environmentally active?

A:  That’s a hard question to ask so broadly, but I think we’ve made a lot of progress in environmental protection. Unfortunately, people still see it as economics and the environment- the costs. But there is a lot of opportunity and we have a long way to go to really establish it as a value rather than a political issue. We have politicized the environment and that’s a major impediment.  

Meet Josh Tulkin on Wednesday, November 10 at thWorld House Series event, "A Moral Dilemma: Is Going Green a Choice Between Right and Wrong?" with Reid Detchon, VP Energy and Climate, United Nations Foundation, former chair for the Environment Committee, Episcopal Diocese of Washington; Sarah Jawaid, Research Associate, Urban Land Institute, Coordinator, DC Green Muslims; and Carl Rollins, Member of the Advisory Board, DC Farm to School Network. FREE Panel Discussion and Reception at THEARC, 6:30 p.m. Register now! 
For more information on the Humanities Council’s World House Series: The Philosophy of Green, visit http://www.wdchumanities.org/

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