The festival of Tu B'Shvat is a celebration of continuity.
Commitment to the future is one of the Jewish community's many strengths. For this reason I am delighted to have the opportunity to show my support for the Year of the Bagel, part of the Big Green Jewish Campaign, launching on Tu B'Shvat.
With projects such as edible gardens in schools and carbon ration activities on summer camps, the BGJC is re-engaging people with nature. This fosters true appreciation of what it is people are seeking to protect and encourages them to consider the relationship with their own environment as they take action to protect global sustainability.
The Year of the Bagel will focus on food. Opting to work with businesses and celebrate those taking action demonstrates a positive, proactive and partnership-building approach we in the coalition government are keen to support.
When the BGJC focuses on buildings, we hope that many households throughout the UK will be saving energy, saving the environment and feeling the economic benefits.
I recognise that, while government can support positive action, faith communities and individuals are the key drivers of change, providing a strong moral and spiritual grounding for lifestyle adjustments.
Climate change is a global problem that demands a robust global response. Internationally, we are working to secure a legally binding, ambitious global deal.
Faith groups too can play a major role in the fight against climate change. The ethical values, local community roots and international reach of our great faith traditions can encourage individuals to change behaviour and can influence the global debate.
So I want to thank you for your efforts. Every voice is vitally important and every action can make a difference.
The global community's focus on economic recovery must not distract us from the urgent question of what kind of world we want to build. We have an opportunity to reinforce our economic recovery and to improve our energy security.
If we act now, together, we can not only beat climate change but enjoy the benefits that will flow in terms of green jobs and a healthier environment.