Below are links to seven different areas where we can make a difference in our synagogue – one meaningful ‘sample’ action is listed here for each area, but dozens more will appear at the click of a hyperlink. Each of the seven sections begins with a short description of what we can do and how and why to do it; much more detail is found in numerous specific webpages under each category.
ON GREENING SYNAGOGUES
Get Energy Star programmable thermostats, divided by zones, so you’re not heating or cooling the building beyond what’s necessary. Cutting back on the heat or A/C by just 1 degree saves an average of 3% on your utility bill — and on your greenhouse emissions.
Plant native species around your building, which provide much-needed habitat for local birds and other creatures while also needing less water, and no chemicals.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle in the office: print fewer copies than needed and let people share them; keep a pile of clean-on-one-side paper for use in printers & copy machines; recycle used paper; and purchase paper with high post-consumer recycled content.
With your social action committee or other group within the synagogue, plan events that are social, educational, and tikkuning-the-olam all at once – like Torah-nature hikes while picking up trash, or pulling non-native weeds from nearby woods.
5. YOUTH EDUCATION
Implement at least one of the many great curricula that teach our young people about nature and Judaism together – kids are ripe for it, and the materials are out there.
6. ADULT EDUCATION
Teach a timely topic that conveys Creation care together with Torah teachings — such as the shiurim (text studies) on Jewish responses to global climate change and biodiversity.
For rabbis, take advantage of the sermon-starters and notes on integrating environmental concern into life-cycle events found here. For non-rabbis, feel free to do the same – and to tell your rabbi about these resources!