Ramah Tu B’shevat Challenge: You make a difference and We will plant a Tree
Tu B’Shevat, the holiday that celebrates the birthday of the trees, will take place this year on January 26th. Tu B’shevat is often utilized as a time to both appreciate, and seek to improve, our natural environment. For the rest of January, we are therefore asking our Ramah community to submit video pledges of ways that they will commit to helping improve our environment. Listed below are 12 suggestions (although we are certainly open to and encourage other ideas).
As motivation, Camp Ramah New England will plant a tree in Israel in honor of anyone in our community that submits a video pledge.
Video pledges can be submitted via email, dropbox or google docs to firstname.lastname@example.org, and should contain: camper’s name and edah, what they are pledging to do, and why. (Please note that we do have a limited number of trees that we will be able to plant).
If you have any questions about this initiative, please contact Ben Greene, Director of Education and Year Round Initiatives, at email@example.com.
12 WAYS THAT YOU CAN HELP IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT
1. CHANGE YOUR LIGHT BULB /TURN IT OFF
If every household in the United State replaced one regular light bulb with one of those new compact fluorescent bulbs, the pollution reduction would be equivalent to removing one million cars from the road. Don’t like the color of light? Use these bulbs for closets, laundry rooms and other places where it won’t irk you as much. Always turn off incandescent bulbs when you leave a room. You’ll save energy on the bulb itself, but also on cooling costs, as lights contribute heat to a room.
2. TURN OFF COMPUTERS AT NIGHT/UNPLUG YOUR CHARGERs
By turning off your computer instead of leaving it in sleep mode, you can save 40 watt-hours per day. Unplug chargers (think cell phones and iPods) when not in use. Only 5% of the power drawn by a cell phone charger is used to charge the phone. The other 95% is wasted when it is left plugged into the wall.
3. GO VEGETARIAN ONCE A WEEK
One less meat-based meal a week helps the planet and your diet. For example: It requires 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. You will also save some trees. For each hamburger that originated from animals raised on rainforest land, approximately 55 square feet of forest have been destroyed.
4. USE BOTH SIDES OF PAPER
American businesses throw away 21 million tons of paper every year, equal to 175 pounds per office worker. For a quick and easy way to halve this, set your printer’s default option to print double-sided (duplex printing) or use scrap paper when you are printing out rough drafts. And when you’re finished with your documents, don’t forget to take them to the recycling bin.
5. RETHINK BOTTLED WATER
Nearly 90% of plastic water bottles are not recycled, instead taking thousands of years to decompose. Buy a reusable container and fill it with tap water, a great choice for the environment, your wallet, and possibly your health. The EPA’s standards for tap water are more stringent than the FDA’s standards for bottled water.
6. BRUSH WITHOUT RUNNING
You’ve heard this one before, but maybe you still do it. You’ll conserve up to five gallons per day if you stop. Daily savings in the U.S. alone could add up to 1.5 billion gallons–more water than folks use in the Big Apple.
7. TAKE A SHORTER SHOWER
Every two minutes you save on your shower can conserve more than ten gallons of water. If everyone in the country saved just one gallon from their daily shower, over the course of the year it would equal twice the amount of freshwater withdrawn from the Great Lakes every day.
8. SECOND-HAND DOESN’T MEAN SECOND-BEST
Consider buying items from a second-hand store. Toys, bicycles, roller blades, and other age and size-specific items are quickly outgrown. Second hand stores often sell these items in excellent condition since they are used for such a short period of time, and will generally buy them back when you no longer need them.
9. RECYCLE OLD CELL PHONES
The average cell phone lasts around 18 months, which means 130 million phones will be retired each year. If they go into landfills, the phones and their batteries introduce toxic substances into our environment. There are plenty of reputable programs where you can recycle your phone, many which benefit noble causes.
10. RECYCLE UNWANTED WIRE HANGERS
Wire hangers are generally made of steel, which is often not accepted by some recycling programs. So what do you do with them? Most dry cleaners will accept them back to reuse or recycle.
11. UTILIZE REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS
Each year the U.S. uses 84 billion plastic bags, a significant portion of the 500 billion used worldwide. They are not biodegradable, and are making their way into our oceans, and subsequently, the food chain. Stronger, reusable bags are an inexpensive and readily available option.
12. USE RECHARGABLE BATTERIES
Each year 15 billion batteries produced and sold and most of them are disposable alkaline batteries. Only a fraction of those are recycled. Buy a charger and a few sets of rechargeable batteries. Although it requires an upfront investment, it is one that should pay off in no time.
-Adapted from http://www.50waystohelp.com/