Warm autumn sky, a mega-stage, bicycle-powered ice cream and over 450 people celebrating sustainable Jewish living....
On September 25, 2011, Eden Village Camp held our first annual Festival of Eden. The event was a tangible way for the community to experientially connect with principles of sustainability, environmentalism, and Jewish tradition.
SEFWI WIAWSO, Ghana — When I told my friends and colleagues that I was coming here to learn lessons for Israel, many were puzzled. Surely, they thought, Israel should be teaching Ghana, not the other way around. But this remote corner of southwestern Ghana, near the country’s border with Ivory Coast, provided me with many lessons that will affect the policies promoted by the organization that I run, the Green Zionist Alliance. Thanks to fiscal support from ROI and NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, I was able to travel here to study international food policy and learn ways that Israel could become more environmentally sustainable by emulating this small country in sub-Saharan Africa.
One way that Jews today are claiming and using their Jewish identity is by joining together, inspired by Jewish values, to focus outward in building a healthier, more just and more sustainable world. The Jewcology project is supporting Jews who are connecting to the Jewish community and building their Jewish identity by working together on shared Jewish environmental projects. By empowering these leaders, we can strengthen Jewish peoplehood and also make a difference in protecting the environment – one of the most significant challenges we face today.
How do you motivate people? In the Jewish-environmental movement, it seems that we share fact after fact about the environmental challenges we face, and list after list of things that people can do to make a difference. We’ve also gotten good at telling people what Jewish values should motivate them, and bringing them outdoors to grow food or see the beauty of nature.
While we’ve made some headway as a movement, we certainly have not mastered environmental motivation in the Jewish community.
Become inspired and involved. Read this blurb and preview a snippet that showcases an incredible educational program that currently affects and empowers tens of thousands of children and help bring the program to your country.
Manuela Zoninsein, recipient of an ROI Micro Grant, writes about her experiences at the CCW conference.
Attending the Creating Climate Wealth (CCW) conference last week in Washington, DC gave me the confidence to trust I can walk the walk as much as I can talk the talk, insofar as sustainable agriculture is concerned. Given that AgriGate Asia, my online business intelligence newsletter and publication, seeks to attract an audience of environmental and agricultural experts, scientists, academics, policy-makers, investors and non-profits, it’s critical to my success that I interact with them and test my ideas out on them.
This is a fantastic way to encourage environmental awareness and reward those who care! While this pro-green video was created a few months ago, I do think it's a good view and worth sharing. The message is still pertinent.
Who are you?Who is your community?And what do you need to be doing now?
These fundamental questions are key to making change in any community.Yet many leaders spend little time focusing on them, or identifying how to communicate them to their audiences.Last year, I helped organize a leadership training for lay leaders seeking to make environmental change in their Jewish communities.One of the focuses of the discussion was inviting people to state their purpose.I was surprised how many of these active Jewish environmental leaders could not clearly explain what they were trying to achieve!
Knowing and expressing your purpose is key to success in any endeavor, yet in the Jewish environmental movement, it’s a great challenge for leaders to do.Many lay leaders, for example, are trying to make a difference in communities with little or no leadership training.And because the environment is such a huge challenge, it can be hard to figure out what you’re actually trying to achieve.Your synagogue as a leader in a Jewish-environmental movement?A CSA in your community?Sustainability of resources for future generations?
To address this challenge, I set out to find a training methodology which could help leaders figure out how to identify who they are and what they are trying to do.With the support of the ROI Community and the technological resource of the Jewcology portal, we planned an in-person leadership training utilizing the Marshall Ganz “public narrative” training.This training is based on the famous Hillel dictum:
The course, which is supported by the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, is a 13-part, action-oriented series that targets senior level professionals from a wide variety of disciplines. This is the first time ever that Israeli environmental activists have the opportunity to sit with leaders in the social justice community and the field of Jewish education to learn, share, plan and envision together.
Along with Siach: An Environment and Social Justice Conversation, this course has the ability to define and change the fields of social and environmental activism in Israel – fields which, until now, had little to do with one another and, arguably, even less to do with Jewish learning.
Jewish Environmentalists Go Virtual:
New “Jewcology” Site Fosters Worldwide Collaboration and Education
Environmental challenges are among the most significant issues we face today, both as a Jewish community and as global citizens. Climate change, species extinction, desertification, toxic pollution and a host of other problems are depleting the resources available for future generations, and harming our health in the present.
The Jewish tradition offers rich sources of wisdom that can help us build a more sustainable future, with a focus on appreciation, gratitude, long-term responsibility, and proper use of resources. These teachings are being translated into programs, teachings, and practical action steps by more than a dozen Jewish-environmental organizations around the world. Yet much more needs to be done to empower the Jewish community to become a positive and proactive partner in building a more sustainable world.
For Tu b’Shevat, the Jewcology team has developed a list of featured resources from Jewcology partner organizations , and launched a new collaborative video created by Jewish environmentalists who are using Jewcology around the world.