Beginning Friday night October 4, Jews around the world will learn about the Torah portion Noach, the story of Noah and the flood. Many communities, including Saint Louis, have connected the reading of Noah with environmental awareness. In addition to attending an environmentally themed event at your house of worship, here are some personal ways you can take action to show respect for God’s creation, the Earth, and to work to preserve and protect it.
- Clean out your closets and recycle: De-clutter your house and help the environment at the same time. Clothes you don’t wear can be donated to Goodwill or to other charitable organizations (such as the National Council of Jewish Women’s Resale Shops, located in Saint Louis and elsewhere around the country). Recycling your clothes saves room in landfills and can help charitable organizations raise funds at the same time.
- Switch to low-tech lawn care: It may seem counter intuitive to turn in your electric or gas powered lawn items for manual ones. But doing so can mean meaningful reductions in carbon pollution. For instance, switching from a gas-powered lawn mower to a reel (manually powered) lawn mower means you will not be polluting the air with fumes and exhaust every time you mow. Manual mowers also have come a long way since first introduced decades ago. In the same vein, consider replacing your leaf blower with simple rakes. You will reduce your carbon footprint and get a better workout as you clear out your leaves.
- Plant a tree: One of the best things individuals can do to help the environment is to plant a tree. Trees alter the environment in which people live by moderating climate, improving air quality, conserving water and harboring wildlife. Planting trees is also a Jewish imperative. It is one way that we as Jews can help repair and restore the Earth, tilling it and tending it as commanded in the Torah. The Jewish Environmental Initiative, a program of the Jewish Community Relations Council, invites you to plant a tree with us on Sunday October 20 at 2PM. More details are at http://www.jcrcstl.org/jei.php#two.
These are just a few simple ways you can make a difference for Project Noah week and beyond.