By Karen Dougherty
I am the chairperson of the Green Committee at Barnert Temple in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. The Green Committee is part of our Social Action Committee and we are always looking for ways to be more environmentally responsible. The Green Committee usually meets once a month to discuss current and future projects.
Some of the projects the Temple implemented this year were switching from disposable to reuseable items during the hot lunch days at our preschool and using a portion of our funds to pay for our paper and plastic to be recycled. I am also responsible for writing a “Green Tip of the Month” column in our monthly newsletter.
We are currently in the process of installing a large, congregational vegetable and fruit garden in which we hope to educate everyone from our preschoolers to our adult congregants about having a connection to the food we eat.
Another exciting project we are undertaking is the certification program through the Greenfaith organization. Greenfaith is an inter-faith environmental organization. We are one of a number of churches and synagogues (and hopefully soon, mosques) in NJ committed to participating in this program. The certification is a two-year process in which we must write a mission statement and commit to several eco-based sermons and educational programs over the next two years. We must commit to 25 initiatives over the two-year time frame encompassing: energy, transportation, food, water, toxics, and grounds maintenance.
Although this certification will require time and energy, our Temple strongly believes in raising awareness of environmental issues and I am proud to be a part of that initiative.