What do you love to do? What are you good at? What professional or personal skills do you have? Put these together and transform your community in a world-sustaining way. Make tikkun olam, repair of the world, a living reality. See a list of synagogues around the world that are setting holistic goals.
JCAN suggests 11 areas for assessing and reducing your carbon footprint and fostering resiliency. Use these simple tools to record your baseline, compare your community to others, and track changes.
Our response to the existential crisis of climate change ranges from denial to eco-despair. As the evidence in the news and from our lived experiences makes it clearer and clearer that climate disruption is with us and getting worse, being open about it and providing people with opportunities to address the emotional and spiritual impacts of climate disruption can help foster resiliency in individuals and communities.
Benchmark Look around your community. When, where, and how are spiritual tools for dealing with climate change discussed or addressed through learning, ritual, conversation, or experiential activities? Take the time to record what your community is already doing and what is missing.
Set a Climate Wellness Goal: Decide how your community wants to integrate spirituality related to the Earth into the cycle of the year. Consider holidays, educational opportunities, life cycle events, weekly parashah, children and family programs. Set short term goals and longer term goals for addressing the questions.
Both scientific and Jewish literacy related to climate change help to ground people in understanding what is happening and how to respond. Explore scientific texts about climate change and Jewish texts and tradition that speak to resiliency and climate disruption.
Benchmark Look around your community. When, where, and how your community is educating itself about climate change and Jewish resources that speak to the issue. Take the time to record what your community is already doing and what is missing.
Set a Climate Education Goal: Decide how your community wants to integrate education about the environment and Jewish teachings related to the Earth into the cycle of the year. Consider holidays, educational opportunities, life cycle events, weekly parashah, children and family programs. Set short term goals and longer term goals for addressing the questions.
Reducing your community’s dependence on fossil fuels is key to lowering your carbon footprint and helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Changes are doable, and it is good to involve a wide spectrum of the community in discussing and deciding how to make those changes.
Benchmark Measure your building’s current carbon footprint. This makes it possible to compare your building to other houses of worship, and also to see the impact of the changes you make.
Without even realizing it, you and your community may be supporting the fossil fuel industry, depending on where you do your banking and where any investments are.
The food, purchasing, and waste disposal choices we make affect the planet.
Create a Climate-Conscious Food and Waste Policy: Decide what percent of the food in your community you want to be locally sourced, organic, and vegan. What percent of your community's paper do you want to be !00% recycled? How much waste is the minimum you want to produce? What else is important to your community?
Transportation is responsible for almost one-third of carbon emissions in the US.
Diverse and rich ecosystems sequester carbon, taking it out of the air and storing it in the soil.
Assess Your Land Holdings Take a tour of your property to see what you currently have planted and how it is cared for.
Life on Earth depends on water, and of all the water on the planet, only 2.5% is fresh. Keeping fresh water clean and available is critical for life.
Assess Your Water Usage Use your water bill to determine how much water your building uses.
Reduce Your Water Consumption Find and fix leaks, dripping faucets, and other ways that water is being wasted. Explore installing drip irrigation and other methods to reduce excess water usage.
Climate change impacts everyone, but the impacts are not equal. The poor and people of color are more quickly and more profoundly impacted and less likely to have the resources to recover.
The ultimate key to our society moving off of fossil fuels is systemic change through the change in policies at the local, state, and national levels.
Purchases and Waste
Although reduction is the best way to reduce negative impact, purchasing choices also matter. Some products are toxic and not biodegradable, while others are made from recycled materials, are environmentally friendly, or are compostable.
Assess Your Purchasing and Waste Stream Find out what kinds of cleaning products, paper products, food service products, and other materials are purchased by your community. Find out how much waste your community produces each week. Identify what kinds of items are thrown away and the amount of each one.
Set Purchasing and Waste Goals Decide how you can make your purchasing more environmentally friends and identify steps to achieve your goal. Decide how much you would like to reduce your waste and identify steps to achieve your goal, though waste reduction, use of compostables, and moving toward industrial composting.
No one wants to talk about overpopulation. But in the past 50 years, the human population has doubled and now stands at 7.7 billion. We are in overshoot, requiring essentially 15 Earths to support the current population.
In the US, vault manufacturing requires the annual production of 1.6 tons of reinforced concrete, and cremation requires sufficient fossil fuel to sustain a temperature of 1400-1600 degrees F. for up to 4 hours and produces a variety of air pollutants. A green burial is quintessentially Jewish.