Reduce, Reuse, Refuse, Recycle, Rot: Join Mosaic's "Green Team!"

Preserving nature goes hand-in-hand with appreciating and enjoying the great outdoors. Don't you agree? So why not get involved by joining Mosaic's International Green Team with a goal of "greening" the North American Jewish Outdoor Escape. We’ll "plant the seeds" of a shared ethic of conservation and environmental awareness that can be carried back home (and we promise, it won't be heavy!) What better gift to give back to Mother Nature? We need your good energy and ideas for "greening" this year's event (and all the rest to come!) For questions, to share ideas, brainstorm and for more information, email us at

Twenty-seven ways you can reduce your impact

  1. Bring a silverware set for use in the cabins, at the pool, and excursions.
  2. Pack toiletries such as sunscreen in reusable containers instead of purchasing travel size disposable containers.
  3. Carry refillable water bottles - bring them empty to the airport and fill once past security.
  4. Invest in a couple reusable, washable pouches to carry snacks and sandwiches--on the plane, in the car, and for lunch excursions.
  5. BYOB - bring your own bag for trips to town.
  6. Say no to the straw!
  7. Compost food scraps if available.
  8. Use less.
  9. Observe nature--look at plants, animals (but not on fast-paced hikes!).
  10. Bring home partially used toiletries for your next trip.
  11. Give up meat for a day (or the weekend).
  12. Give up dairy for a day (or the weekend).
  13. Unplug chargers and devices.
  14. Bring recyclables to town if they aren’t recycled at camp.
  15. Pack small recyclables if not able to recycle at camp or in town.
  16. Pack your JOE lunch in a reusable container or pouch instead of plastic baggies.
  17. Read nature poetry.
  18. Carry a handkerchief on hikes--they hold up better than tissue in a sweaty pocket.
  19. Choose items with the least packaging.
  20. Carry items with your hands if you forget your bag.
  21. Save today’s plastic baggie to pack tomorrow’s lunch.
  22. Close your eyes in the forest and listen to nature.
  23. Decline plastic cups on the plane.
  24. Bring a refillable razor.
  25. Look up at the stars.
  26. Bring rechargeable batteries for your flashlight (and remember the charger).
  27. Choose to reuse.

The Environment and Jewish Values

It’s easy to make the Jewish case for caring for our planet. Here are some words from various sources:

Remember whose Earth we’re living on, and what we’re supposed to be doing with it:

  • God placed the human in the Garden of Eden, l’ovdah (to serve/till) u’l’shomrah (and to guard/tend it). (Gen. 2:15)
  • God led Adam around all the trees of the Garden of Eden. And God said to Adam: ‘See My works, how good and praiseworthy they are?! And all that I have created, I made for you. [But,] be mindful then that you do not spoil and destroy My world – for if you spoil it, there is no one after you to repair it.’ (Midrash Qohelet Rabbah 7:13; ca. 8th Century C.E.)
  • The simplest image, and surely the most sensible one, in thinking about our ecological responsibilities is to see the earth as belonging to the source of being, and us as its trustees, charged with conserving and if possible beautifying it for the sake of our grandchildren not yet born. (Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (UK), The Dignity of Difference)

On waste:

  • Righteous people … do not waste in this world even a mustard seed. They become sorrowful with every wasteful and destructive act that they see, and if they can, they use all their strength to save everything possible from destruction. But the wicked … rejoice in the destruction of the world, just as they destroy themselves. (Sefer HaChinuch 529; 13th Century)
  • Regard all living things as G-d’s property. Destroy none, abuse none, waste nothing, employ all things wisely...look upon all creatures as servants in the household of creation. (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch)

Respect all life:

  • It should not be believed that all beings exist for the sake of humanity’s existence … [rather,] all the other beings, too, have been intended for their own sakes… (Rambam / Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed III:13; 12th Century, Egypt)
  • God did not permit Adam and his wife to kill a creature and to eat its flesh. Only every green herb shall they all eat together. (Rashi, 1040-1105)

Offset Your Carbon Emissions

We all emit carbon dioxide emissions when we drive, fly, use electricity, or generate waste. We all travel varying distances to get to Mosaic events. Learn how many emissions you are producing, and consider offsetting those emissions.

Calculate your emissions & buy offsets

What is carbon offsetting?

Carbon offsets are credits for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions made at another location, such as wind farms which create renewable energy and reduce the need for fossil-fuel powered energy.

For a carbon offset to be credible, it must meet essential quality criteria including proof that it is additional (the reduction in emissions would not have occurred without the carbon finance), that it will be retired from the carbon market so it cannot be double counted, and that it addresses issues such as permanence (it delivers the reductions it stated) and leakage (the emission reduction in one area doesn’t cause an increase in emissions somewhere else).

Learn more at the David Suzuki Foundation and the National Resources Defense Council.

Mosaic Outdoor Clubs of America Newsletter

Number of visitors: install tracking codes