Kol Nefesh Achieves Bronze Award

Our journey to become more environmentally friendly began in spring 2018. That’s when we joined Eco Synagogue and immediately started working on changes we could make.

Prayer and Teaching

Our Rabbi Joel Levy dedicated a weekend to the notion of Ba’al Tashchit – do not destroy – the commandment not to destroy or waste items from the natural world.

More sessions with Joel are planned.

We try to inspire our members to make changes at home, helped by a weekly green green tip in our weekly bulletin that can be easily put into practice.

Our website has a section dedicated to our Green Team and our progress.

Buildings

We are working with Jewish Care (who own and manage our building) to improve our energy use.

Community and Global Engagement

We welcomed inspiring speakers such as John Levy, the UK reprasentative of SPNI (Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel) and Talia Chain from Sadeh Farm among others.

We worked with the London Wildlife Trust for Mitzvah Day 2018, helping to restore natural grassland at Totteridge Fields.

We replaced the cutlery and crockery we use at our kiddushim from plastic to biodegradable or multi-use items. We have had some delicious green kiddushim, using fresh and local produce.

Lifestyle

Most recently we introduced our “green token” scheme, where our members offset all Shul related carbon emissions, and hopefully will feel inspired to do the same for the home life too.

Offsetting carbon emissions is done by supporting projects that reduce and even reverse carbon emissions through a variety of ways. We use Gold Standard, which was established in 2003 by WWF and other international NGOs, and support Project Togo.

Carbon offset is much cheaper than you might think. We estimated the rough number of synagogue-related journeys, including our rabbi’s flights to Israel, and got a total annual C02 emission of around 15.18 tonnes. Offsetting this cost about £120/year, for the whole of the community. This is about £1 per member, which we’re calling the KNM “green token”. It is entirely voluntary but we encourage all members to take part and donate £1 per person. As this only relates to our average Shul related travel we are hoping our members will start to offset their own travel and other carbon-producing activities, too!

We are a small Shul with a small Green Team but our output is BIG!
The aim is to inspire our members to think and act in more friendly environmentally ways, and make those changes lasting.

Written by Daniel Preter, June 2019; www.kolnefesh.org.uk