Nottingham Liberal Synagogue item for Ecosynagogue website
Inspired by Rabbi Tanya Sakhnovich whilst she was rabbi at Nottingham Liberal Synagogue, the community realised the urgency of engaging with its’ environmental responsibilities.
Having committed to improving the environmental performance of the community, both in shul, in the activities of the community officers and within the community more widely, the Council adopted an environmental policy and established an impact team with the intention of being inclusive of all age groups within the community; this particular aspect of inclusiveness is an ongoing objective which was partly addressed at an Ecoshabbat event in November 2021 (see below)
In undertaking the Ecosynagogue environmental audit for the first time the impact team realised that the community was already fundamentally environmentally responsible in that, for a number of years, it had used environmentally friendly cleaning products and consumables, actively recycled wherever possible, adopted a commitment to (Local. Organic, Animal-friendly & Fairtrade supplies for catering and had facilities for composting vegetable food waste. Furthermore, environmental issues had, for some time, been highlighted in aspects of education, prayer and teaching.
Our self-assessment led us to realise that we could fulfil the ‘bronze award’ standard of Ecosynagogue. However undertaking the audit identified aspects of community life and activities where significant improvements could be made, which has served to create an ‘agenda’ for what is hoped to be achievable further progress in terms of environmental responsibility. A poster presentation, followed by an Ecoshabbat event was held in November 2021 in which community members with in-depth knowledge of environmental issues gave a presentation, leading to a ‘brainstorming’ session to raise awareness and commitment within the wider Synagogue community, during which engagement and support from younger (school-age) members was actively encouraged.. To help maintain engagement and enthusiasm within the community a plant and produce event has been planned for September 2022 and it is hoped that this will encourage members to grow more of their own fruit and vegetables, and exchange them with others attending.
In terms of continuing to improve our environmental performance, we recognise, for example, that as life gradually returns to normality post-covid, community members can be encouraged to use public transport and to cycle to shul and a cycle rack has been installed and bus timetables are displayed in shul. The synagogue already has a ‘green tariff’ energy supply, but measures have been introduced to minimise waste of energy in the building, and the cost of replacing existing lighting with low consumption lighting, improving (as far as possible in the building) insulation and exploring replacement of the existing heating system with a more environmentally one are being explored.