On One Foot...

Not sure where to start? Consider these five celebration choices that will have a big impact:

1. Choose “greener” papers.
Recycled paper saves trees, water, and energy. Look for recycled papers with the highest possible postconsumer content and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for any non-recycled content. If you can choose soy-based inks and papers not bleached with chlorine, even better.
Click here for the Paper and Printing section.

2. Take the “Just Journeys” pledge.
Honor hotel workers by patronizing hotels where workers have a voice on the job, avoiding hotels involved in a labor dispute, and encouraging your out-of-town guests to strip their beds and leave a tip at the hotel where they stay for your celebration.
Click here for "Just Journeys" pledge.

3. Serve food that doesn’t gobble resources.
Often, the energy used and waste generated by serving meat in quantity just isn’t worth it; consider leaving animal products off the menu with a delicious pareve or dairy celebration meal. Any local or organic ingredients also help to limit your food’s environmental “footprint.”
Click here for the Food section.

4. Offset the climate impact of travel.
One of the most significant environmental impacts of any celebration is the heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions associated with guests flying and driving to join you. Take stock of that impact using an online carbon calculator, and balance it out with an equivalent donation to renewable energy projects that reduce emissions.
Click here for Travel section.

5. Help build the world you want to live in.
Use the occasion of your celebration to direct much needed resources to organizations that are helping to build a world that more fully reflects your values. The ceremony or service, speeches, invitations, registries, and centerpieces all present opportunities to include guests in the sacred work of tikkun olam/repairing the world.
Click here for "A Kavannah before buying".
“An authentic Jewish wedding flies in the face of all that is garish and superficial; instead, it emphasizes holiness, sacredness, deep love, and honor ... When you embrace the challenge of creating a Jewish wedding, you take a bold stand against an industry that says the entry to your marriage is about wearing the right dress, serving the fanciest food, and spending as much money as possible on all of it.”
—Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer, The Creative Jewish Wedding Book

"After attending... elaborate bar and bat mitzvahs, families feel the social pressure to conform to the stylish norm... Many parents just want to provide the ‘very best’ for their children, without realizing the discrepancy this creates between the price tag for the event and the Jewish values the day represents.”
—Yosef I. Abromowitz & Rabbi Susan Silverman, Jewish Family and Life
Have suggestions? Real-life stories using these or other ideas? Please share them with us for future versions of the Guide!