“Either we change our behaviors or climate change will change them for us, and I can assure you, we will not like the latter.” -Rabbi Glenn Jacob
Audits categorize and organize the available information necessary to make informed decisions. In the world of climate change, there are a series of audits covering different areas of human behavior and action. Every synagogue board, committee, and member want to act according to the best of Jewish law and tradition, while maintaining decisions that are fiscally sound, scientifically valid, and sanctify God’s name. Without completing an audit, such decisions are impossible
The audits are the first step in creating a SUSTAINABILITY PLAN. A Sustainability Plan is a roadmap of how the congregation is going to accomplish it carbon footprint goals. The plan lays out priorities, probable first programs and processes, and the responsible parties. A good plan considers the access to funds, the number of volunteers, and the commitment of the board and congregation. There are a lot of variables, each of which will be unique to your congregation. Synagogues and their members are called by their mission to be community leaders, showing the neighborhoods and local communities how all of us, no matter our circumstances, can reduce our carbon output and save creation from our own worst behaviors. Actions you might consider:
- Start a Green Team.
- Invite local environmental groups to use your facility for meetings.
- Host a Climate Summit to teach yourselves and the greater community.
- Reach out to other religious denominations who have put climate change on their national-local agendas.
- Get rid of plastic utensils in the building.
- Adding tips and suggestions to the bulletin and to the prayer program.
- Turn Sukkot into a Green Sukkot.
- Educate yourself on Environmental Justice.
- Ask clergy to preach on climate change from the bimah.
- Celebrate Earth Day in the spring with a Green Fair for local organizations and other houses of worship
- Want more ideas, check out: http://www.coolcongregations.org/
A SUSTAINABILITY MANUAL IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE. This Green Team Manual plots out a three-year process from first steps to consideration of new energy sources. Your purchase helps us continue our mission.
The links below lead to five synagogue (small commercial building, to be technical) audits and one home audit.