Earth Day, April 22, is a time to show appreciation for our natural surroundings and celebrate our planet and all its inhabitants. Our commitment to protecting the environment is rooted in Jewish texts and traditions, from the first book of the Torah, which reminds us to “till and tend” (Genesis 2:15) to teachings that say, “Do not destroy my world, for if you do, there will be nobody after you to make it right again,” (Midrash Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:13).
2016 was the hottest year on record, making it the third consecutive record-breaking year. Each year as our planet warms, climate change becomes a more and more pressing global issue to which we must respond. As young scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and entrepreneurs, there are many ways you can live by our Jewish values and ensure our planet remains healthy and green.
Check out these creative innovations to keep our planet green
1. Plastic to Ink: The ProtoCycler, developed by students at the University of British Columbia, grinds up plastic waste and converts it into clean spools of plastic filament for 3D printing. 3D printing, which we all love, and many other activities produce great amounts of plastic waste, so why not put it to use?
2. Ridding the Ocean of Trash: The Seabin, floats up and down along marinas, docks, boats and ports, sucking water through and trapping floating trash and debris. The ocean is filled with millions of tons of trash, but the Seabin has the potential to tackle this issue and at least keep it from getting worse.
3. Solar Bike Lanes: SolaRoad, is a bike path made from solar panels, modelling the potential for solar roads in the future. Solar roads have the ability to generate enough electricity to power entire houses, street lamps, and road signs.
4. Plastic Waste to Food: Edible Cutlery has the potential to replaces the 40 billion plastic utensils the US uses and wastes each year. Made from rice, wheat and sorghum, the cutlery stays strong for use, comes in 3 flavors, and even if not eaten, decomposes in a few days.
5. Expanding Ocean Research: Saildrone provides high resolution ocean data that can be transmitted back to shore in real time via satellite and accessed on any smartphone, computer, or tablet. So far they have covered over 60,000 nautical miles, replacing expensive and wasteful ships, to increase understanding of climate change, weather patterns, global fishing in order to keep our planet green, and just as importantly, blue.
There are many ways that researchers and entrepreneurs like our 6 Points Sci-Tech campers and staff are thinking outside to box to promote sustainable solutions to our global climate crisis. This summer, we will think about what we can invent to keep our planet green as we are eating in our Certified Green dining hall at the Governors Academy, or farming in Israel at Kibbutz Lotan, the Reform Movement’s Eco-Kibbutz.
How are you going to reduce your carbon footprint this Earth Day? What would you want to invent to keep our planet green?
This Earth Day, you can show your support for science, by joining a the March for Science! Click here to find a march in your area. For more Earth Day resources, check out the Religious Action Center website to read about Earth Day Shabbat and Jewish Community Events around the People’s Climate March on April 29, 2017.