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The Environmentally Friendly Conference

Summary: Having successfully hosted a sustainable conference, director of programs at Jewish Funders Network David Ezer offers tips on how to reduce the environmental impact of your next conference.

Getting hundreds of Jewish leaders to the Jewish Funders Network Conference in Jerusalem was not only a logistical challenge — it was also an environmental one. From air travel to Styrofoam cups to reams upon reams of paper, a conference like this one had the potential for a large environmental impact. But some simple changes that I and my colleagues instituted while planning the conference went far toward offsetting the gathering’s environmental burden.

The most significant environmental impact was participants’ travel. We had hundreds of people taking long-haul transcontinental flights to Israel from around the world, resulting in tons of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. The travel was necessary, but we lessened the impact by purchasing carbon credits — fiscal support for projects, such as afforestation, to remove the equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, offsetting our environmental impact.

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David Ezer, a Certified Meeting Professional, is the director of programs at Jewish Funders Network. Previously, he worked as the conference manager at Chamber Music America and as a talent agent for classical musicians. Ezer also produced two seasons of the Bard Music Festival at Bard College in Annandale, N.Y. He earned his master’s of business administration at Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business.

The Jewish Energy Guide presents a comprehensive Jewish approach to the challenges of energy security and climate change and offers a blueprint for the Jewish community to achieve a 14% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by September of 2014, which is the next Shmittah, or sabbatical, year in the Jewish calendar.

The Jewish Energy Guide is part of COEJL's Jewish Energy Network, a collaborative effort with Jewcology's Year of Action to engage Jews in energy action and advocacy. The Guide was created in partnership with the Green Zionist Alliance.

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