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ARC Home > Projects > Sacred gifts :
Jewish UK eco audit

UK: Major Jewish groups unite to protect the environment

In 2002 the UK's largest Jewish organisation, the Board of Deputies, launched a joint programme with the main Jewish environmental organisation Noah.

The programme is intended to integrate environmentally sustainable practices into all main levels of traditional Jewish life. Initiatives were designed around three main spheres of activity: communities; homes and families; educational establishments.

In 2007 the Board of Deputies and NOAH launched the The Big Green Jewish Website.
They have produced: environmental audits, checklists for householders to monitor the environmental impact of their homes; educational materials for pupils and teachers.

However one of the most significant activities was the production of a wonderful new environmental resource launched in 2007 in the form of The Big Green Jewish Website.

The website was designed to promote environmentalism through an engagement with biblical, rabbinic and contemporary Jewish sources. It was also designed to be fun.

ARC was the first secular foundation to support this initiative, and we gave two grants to help it happen. It is the initiative of the Jewish Board of Deputies, and the Noah Project.

"We are immensely proud to be associated with this wonderful new initiative," said ARC's secretary general Martin Palmer. "We have followed its development over a number of years and ARC has been honoured to have played a small role in enabling this to happen."

"We think the website is not only rare because it opens with a joke – the environmental movement is not strong on humour and we delight in your addition to this small but essential oeuvre! – but because it is an excellent example of empowering people with knowledge rooted in their own traditions and beliefs and then moving on beyond that to embrace a wider world."

It was launched by Secretary of State for the Environment, David Miliband MP, who said that: Climate change is one of the biggest crises we are facing. The Big Green Jewish Website is a prime example of the valuable role that faith communities and their rich traditions can play in tackling this challenge.”

The Big Green Jewish Website is also designed for wider application, forming a key component as a part of the Board of Deputies’ overall environmental strategy. Accordingly, the Board of Deputies is exploring ways in which to raise both awareness of how the community can become more eco-friendly, and how other faith groups and environmental bodies can share the material.

It is the culmination of over four year’s work during which the project has

* won an award from the Alliance for Religions and Conservation as a Sacred Gift to the Planet presented by the Duke of Edinburgh;

* featured as a case study in the government’s “Sustainable Development Commission” report on UK Faith Groups;

* initiated a 24-hour environmental “ Tikkun (Repair) Trek” at Limmudfest, a UK-based popular cross-communal four-day educational festival held every summer.

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Related information

Liberal Synagogues environmental audit
The Jewish community in Britain are taking practical action on climate change
Statement by World Jewish Congress
A formal statement of Jewish beliefs about the environment: "Take care not to corrupt and destroy my universe, for if you destroy it, no one will come after you to put it right."
February 1 2007:
The Big Green Jewish Website
A wonderful new environmental resource was launched today in the form of The Big Green Jewish Website, created by the Noah project and the Jewish Board of Deputies with ARC's help. "It's the first environmental website I've seen which starts with a good joke."