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What’s Big and Green and Jewish All Over?

Apparently, the Big Green Jewish Website, which is a joint venture of The Noah Project and The Board of Deputies of British Jews. Basically the site, which has just been launched, is full of programs, resources, lists of events, and activities for kids that promote ethical environmental living. They even have a quiz you can take to see how well you’re doing, and with some easy suggestions for ways you can pollute less and create less waste. I know how easy it is to get overwhelmed when you start thinking about global warming, sustainable development and all kinds of social justice. The cool thing about the Big Green Jewish website is that it suggests all kinds of small steps. I actually like Big Green Jewish Website a lot better than Hazon’s site, which is a little hard to navigate and seems mostly focused on raising money. Hazon does have a pretty cool blog about social justice and Jewish food issues, though. Maybe it’s just now getting on my radar, but it seems like these groups are cropping up all over the place now. Suddenly, like in the past year, the Jewish community has started getting into high gear for the environmental movement. Obviously that’s great, but it’s also kind of sad that we celebrate the birthday of trees every year, but we’re just now talking seriously about how Jews can reduce the amount of waste they produce. And hey, what do you know about environmental concerns within Israel? Because boy, they’ve got all kinds of problems in a very small space. Polluted lakes and rivers? Yep. Waste management problems? Definitely. Israel is even having tree problems. You know all those certificates you bought from the JNF to have a tree planted in honor of your third grade teacher? JNF didn’t do the best job of planning the forests they planted, and now they’re having to do all kinds of aforestation to fix things. Also, those swamps we drained? That was kind of a bad idea. We should probably have left them alone. If you’re interested in this subject, I highly recommend this book by Alon Tal. And if you’re in Israel sometime soon, definitely check out the Arava organization, which works on all kinds of sustainable development issues in Israel. They even have a hands-on kibbutz program that I’ve heard is fantastic. And lest you be concerned that it’s only us fruity funky lefty Jews who are involved in the Green movement, check out this group out of Washington DC, trying to bring environmentalism to the Orthodox community. This article even talks about conservation activism in the ultra-Orthodox world. Finally!

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