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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.

 

GO GREEN IN YOUR HANUKKAH GIFTING:

 

 

  • Give Alternatives to “Stuff”:  Consider giving gifts that do not create waste.  Give a museum membership, tickets to a play or a certificate to a local restaurant.
  • Buy Gifts at Fair trade stores:  One way to show that you care about the environment is to purchase gifts at fair trade stores.  Items you purchase typically are made by local artisans and buying handmade jewelry, bags and clothes from fair trade shops helps provide a living wage for these artisans. Typically products sold are made from natural and organic materials.

 

  • Look for Gifts from your Favorite Environmental Organization:  Several national environmental organizations sell clothing, bags, calendars and similar items either online through their websites or at bookstores in your neighborhood.  A portion of the sales price benefits the organization and its environmental mission.

 

  • Give Recycled Items:  Some locally owned stores carry items that have been recycled from other products.  This is a great alternative to a mass-produced present.  Your unique gift of recycled art, jewelry, a handbag or similar item will keep items out of landfills and offer your loved one something that is truly unique.

 

GO GREEN IN YOUR HANUKKAH CELEBRATION:

 

 

  • 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 and the Maplewood Farmers Market  have winter hours.

 

  • 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.

 

Happy Hanukkah!

 

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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