Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Is G-d hitting back or is this environ-mental disaster?

Two record-breaking monster storms in two weeks reach the US. Is G-d punishing or warning us? Is this a reaction to Trump’s reign? Maybe for its racism? Or maybe more suitably, for not supporting the Paris Climate Accords? Some might say: perhaps. I would argue: really? And the monster earthquake that just hit Mexico is a Heavenly rebuke of them?

Why Do They Happen?

Such “readings” of G-d’s mind are wanting. The Rabbis only say: when something bad (almost) happened, examine your deeds. Ask yourself if this could be a hint that your or your community’s behavior needs an update. Just, if it is a Divine warning, let it not be on “deaf” ears!

However, there is another option, also for atheists. These are all known reason for these storms being more damaging and more deadly:

  • Greenhouse effect: warmer seas: stronger winds, storm surges
  • Greenhouse effect: warmer air: contains more moist, which gives more energy to storms
  • Greenhouse effect: melted poles: higher seas, higher storm surges
  • Greenhouse effect: melted poles: storms more often stalling
  • Greenhouse effect: old equilibriums and buffering systems are beaten: more extreme chaotic weather; also: greenhouse climate accidents (fires, rotting in drying up lands – don’t drain swamps or tundras!) increase greenhouse warming (vicious circle)
  • More population on the globe: more people to hurt
  • Millions living closer to the coast than ever: more people to hurt; storm surges (together with tsunamis) are the greatest killers
  • We ain’t see nothing yet; environmental disasters we experience now, are the first effects of a very slowly avalanche set in motion already years ago. It will take a long time too before we will see results from any climate improvement, slowdown of destruction.

What to Do?

Don’t blame G-d for human made climate changes, poor warnings systems for poor communities en poor building standards in poor and dictatorial countries. Where was G-d? Where was man?! (Besides, it is interesting that people who would never address G-d for praise or request, do turn to Him with complains.) NB: US flooding that kept the world busy for two weeks, coincided with one in Nepal, Bangladesh and India that’s dozens of times more deadly – where are the media?

So we can pray, but know what to pray for: Miracles to save innocent people, to let us escape results of old misbehavior; and promise we’ll care for all people, also inside dictatorships and otherwise poor.

If anything, Trump should build a wall with the ocean, not Mexico, though it might be cheaper to support Paris. Seriously, it’s preposterous to think that he will ever enforce a greener society. He’s on a four-year reelection campaign. He’ll only do things that speak to his traditional voters. It is true that conserving the planet fits very well a conservative economy, but then start educating not Trump but his base, because until they are convinced, it won’t happen on his “watch.”

You can beat your panic-brewed passivity and help stop the deadly heating up the environment by saying to people you love and from younger generations:

I promise you to help stop climate change.

Then you list what concrete change in action that means from you.

Keep repeating the promise and adding implications.

Those may include having others do the same.

Some touch questions may be asked: what are you willing to forgo: eating endless amounts of meat, driving a private car, having air conditioning, careless use of water, not throwing out your anti-activist passivity-promoting TV, all of these?

It took many years for things to get out of hand, so you may take your time to improve. How about a monthly new goal?

Another action is: to help stop hate, wars, hunger and sickness. The main cause of human death is human unhappiness. Listening to people with respect is a way to help humanity to survive. We can also ask and teach others to listen. Spread the word! Happy people are the best forces against hate, wars, hunger and sickness.

So don’t tell me nothing can be done. The above may take all your free time.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. To see other blog posts by him, a second blog - under construction - can be found by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture.
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