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Three Simple Steps Toward Going Green

If you are someone who cares about protecting the environment, you may find yourself frustrated at times because you are not doing as much as you could to change your lifestyle.  While caring for God’s creation and reducing waste (baal tashchit) are important principles in Judaism,   you don’t have to do it all to make a difference.  Here are a few simple suggestions to get you going on the right path.

  1.  Start slow and keep it going:  As with anything in life, creating eco-friendly change is more likely to succeed if you take it one small step at a time.  Don’t try to change too much, too fast. For example, as you run out of conventional cleaning supplies, replace them with natural alternatives.  Allow each change to settle in and become more routine before you attempt a new one.  Your changes will be less dramatic but more sustainable.
  2. Not doing everything does not mean you can’t do anything:  You may not realistically be able to put solar panels along your entire roof or get 100 percent off the grid, but don’t let that stop you from doing the smaller things that still matter.  There are many simple things you can do that cost almost nothing and make a difference. A few examples include using public transportation, shopping at secondhand stores and eating a more plant-based diet.  Shift your focus from what you are not doing to what you are doing.
  3. What you buy is less important than what you do:  Don’t beat yourself over the head because you don’t drive a hybrid or have a closet full of fair trade organic clothing.  The simplest and most effective way to create a positive environmental impact is by reducing your consumption.  Buy less.

An eco-friendly life does not have to be time consuming or expensive.  Do what you can and start with small steps.  The change will add up.

Resources:  Earth 911

Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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