The function of Tu B’ishvat in the ancient world was to mark the season of taxation and accounting: farmers would count their olive trees in order to measure their wealth and then tithe accordingly. In modern times, Tu B’ishvat has been reimagined as an environmental holiday during which we celebrate nature and all that it provides.
This weekend, the sun emerged to remind us that the short days of winter are limited and spring is on the horizon. Eager gardeners are readying their seed trays and surveying their gardens. Hikers and runners are reacquainting themselves with favorite trails. Nature appreciators of all kinds are looking forward to reveling in the joys of spring. So often we partake of nature’s gifts without taking time to give thanks for the fragile ecosystem that grants us life.
Now, in 2020, the connection between our collective actions and the state of our environment is at a critical point. Tu B’ishvat’s origins as a reminder to account for our use of nature are strikingly relevant. How can we now make use of our natural resources while still maintaining accountability? Can we find ways in our lives and communities to counteract the measures of our policymakers that are hostile to our environment?
In this year’s celebration of Tu B’ishvat, let us reflect on the current state of our environment and find ways to make positive change for our communities. Do you have any ideas for environmental work? Please share them below!