Hanukkah is a time where we celebrate the renewal of the eternal flame and rededication of the Temple. It is a great time to rededicate ourselves to the goal of preserving God’s creation, conserving energy and helping the environment. Here are a few things you can do leading up to, and during, the holiday to rededicate yourself to making the world more eco-friendly.
Leading up to the holiday:
· Buy gifts with a low carbon footprint—local stores that sell vintage, locally made or locally grown products are a great place to find these.
· Consider offering the gift of time or one that fosters creativity—take your kids to the park for the afternoon or give them an hour’s worth of pottery making time at a arts and crafts store.
· Create homemade gift wrap from recycled materials rather than purchasing gift wrap that will be used once and thrown away. For example, gift wrap can be created from used newspapers and magazines. As much as half of the 85 million tons of paper products Americans consume every year goes toward packaging, wrapping and decorating goods. Wrapping paper and shopping bags alone account for about 4 million tons of trash annually in the U.S.
Over the eight days and nights of Hanukkah:
· Use Hanukkah candles made of beeswax or soy rather than paraffin candles made from petroleum. Beeswax or soy candles are made from natural ingredients and also produce less soot and smoke than paraffin candles.
· Make a healthier batch of latkes by using local, organic potatoes and onions and cage-free, organic eggs. Look for a winter’s farmers market to buy your potatoes, onions and eggs. In St. Louis, the University City Market in the Loop, the St. Louis Community Farmers’ Market and the Maplewood Farmers Market all have winter hours. Go to http://agebb.missouri.edu/fmktdir/view.asp?region=5 for more information.
· Resolve as a household to conserve energy, identifying specific actions you can take over the next year. This could include replacing conventional light bulbs with CFLs, starting a backyard vegetable garden in the spring or doing more walking and less driving as a family.
This post originally appeared in Planet Jewish at www.jewishinstlouis.org/blog.aspx?id=345