When we talk about ‘uniting the world’ behind a single number, we’re not naive–we know the world is riven by many gulfs and divides, and that it’s not easy to get people already facing big issues to even think about climate. But we’re also convinced it’s what has to be done, which is why it was so deeply heartening to spend a few days in Israel and Palestine last week.

Israeli civil society will make a lot of noise on Oct. 24–the country’s environmental groups show a rare sense of cohesion and cooperation, and they’re as creative as any on the planet, so look for everything from big bike rides to teach-ins at synagogues. (A real stroke of fortune: the Torah portion that will be read everywhere in the Jewish world on Oct. 24 is the story of Noah).  I can’t even list all the wonderful friends who made me welcome from Beersheba to Tel Aviv, and many places in between–but a special thanks to the Heschel Society, which organized my visit.

And a special thanks to Friends of the Earth Middle East which is coordinating what will be one of the landmark actions for Oct. 24.  We drove with several Israeli environmentalists past the wall dividing Israel and the West Bank, and met with wonderful young activists from  Bethlehem and Jericho, who had come through several Army checkpoints for a foodless lunch meeting (it was Ramadan). With colleagues in Jordan they’re sketching out an action that will unite the three nations around the shore of the Dead Sea–it will be a thing of great power and beauty, offering yet another kind of hope on our big October day.

The area’s sheer, austere beauty would be enough to make anyone an environmentalist, but this trip was a reminder that this campaign is about more than environmentalism.  Thanks to all who are making these ancient hills ring with a new sound.