NFTY has continually sought to promote an awareness of environmental considerations and environmentally responsible acts by integrating Jewish values, learning and actions that promote sh'mirat ha-adamah - protection and renewal of the world. What you are doing personally in your Temple Youth Group, Congregation, school or local community, or everyday life to contribute to "greening efforts?"
From Liza Moskowitz, NFTY-TOR:
When asked what I do personally to be "green," the simple answers pop up. I recycle. I shut off the lights when I am not using them, and I turn off the sink while I am brushing my teeth. As I analyze what I do versus what needs to be done to "save the world," I feel a little discouraged. How can only those small things actually make a difference? Why would I even do them if I didn't feel as if they were impacting the world?
What I have realized is that being "green" does not have to be one large action to save the entire world instantly. I can take those small baby steps of recycling and saving electricity. Those tiny, yet significant, strides will direct me towards an ultimate goal of sustainable living. Being "green" is not a one day event, but a life-long process. We must continually look at our actions to see if we, as Jews, are living up to the ideal, sh'mirat ha-adamah , protection and renewal of the world. If each person can take those small baby steps each day, our community will change for the better.
From Alana Schipper, NFTY-SO:
As environmental awareness increases, many opportunities have arisen to incorporate this into our day to day lives. Specifically in NFTY and my TYG, we have been making strides to recycle and bring awareness to our community. At one NFTY event I participated in this year, the Regional Board collected all the trash used, whether for programs or for general purposes, and presented the pile at our impact program. The reason behind this act was to build our awareness of our consumption. With NFTY's Action Theme this year being, Humility - What do we really need?, this just increased the momentum of bringing back this knowledge to our TYGs.
Back at home, my TYG had our own consumption program, where we measured our carbon footprint and learned how to decrease our waste. After learning about overconsumption, we have strived to be more "green." My TYG now recycles, my temple has also started too, and we like to reuse program supplies. We took what we learned in NFTY and in BITY, my TYG, and then we brought it to the community, and more specifically, our schools. Almost every BITYite is a member of their Green Club at school; and we have started car pooling to events. By participating in NFTY, I am effectively decreasing my consumption, promoting Jewish values (sh'mirat ha-adamah ), and contributing to the "green efforts."
From Preston Neimeiser, NFTY-SAR:
NFTY, more so than any other national organization that I have been involved with, is an extremely environmentally conscientious association of young people. Every NFTYite is imbued with a sense of pride knowing that everyone from the national board down to each individual TYG member makes an effort to improve their respective environmental footprints. I know that personally, my TYG TASTY (Tallahassee Area Senior Temple Youth) has made significant strides to give more consideration to environmental concerns in our temple as well as our region. TASTY has recently made our temple more recycling friendly by installing and maintaining bins where the religious school students and service attendees can dispose of plastics and papers easily. TASTY has also begun a poster campaign around the temple reminding people of the necessity of conservation within the home and how every little bit helps.
But NFTY does not hold a monopoly on environmental awareness. More and more I am happily surprised to find that my friends and their families have invested in composters, solar panels and other "greening tools." At my high school, we have an environmentalist club called Phoenix that is completely devoted to making our entire community greener. In my time with this club we have: adopted and maintained a road, hung posters reminding people to be aware of their consumption levels, educated the student body on ways to make their house greener, easily and affordably, as well as being almost solely responsible for the recycling at school. People all over are becoming more environmentally conscientious, and I personally think it is to be applauded!