Baltimore County is now providing single stream recycling pickup, and new items can now be recycled. For a full listing CLICK HERE
Baltimore City residents are able to recycle in curbside single stream recycling: wide-mouth plastic containers used for margarine, yogurt, cottage cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream; empty prescription bottles (lids and caps do not need to be removed); plastic drinking cups; aluminum foil and aluminum pie pans; clean milk and juice cartons. Info: 410-396-4511 or
Approved by Baltimore Jewish Council Board of Directors
November 13, 2008
The environment is a Jewish issue rooted in our traditions, sacred text, and experience. Our holidays track the seasonal cycles of nature. Our holy books bid us to preserve and protect G-d’s good world. Jewish law teaches us to avoid waste (baal tashchit), even stipulating in the Talmud (Shabbat 67b) that in doing a particular task, one must use the available technology that burns the least oil. Our observance of Shabbat is cited around the world as an environmental ethic unto itself, abulwark against those contemporary norms which can so easily lead to despoliation. These are just a few of the countlessexamples of whyenvironmental efforts are anauthentic, “organic”outgrowth of Jewish values and tradition.
As we consider supporting environmental initiatives we must judge them on principles of economic justice: i.e., they should not disproportionately burden the poor. Environmental initiatives should also be sustainable over time; they should be grounded in sound science, and they should encourage participation by government, industry, institutions, and individuals. A key Jewish value is Tikkun Olam – to “heal the world.” It is this social justice philosophy that guides us to make care for the environment a priority of our community.
Water, Land, and Air
Maryland possesses 7,719 miles of shoreline. The Chesapeake Bay and its watersheds are precious resource which must be preserved. It is incumbent upon individuals and corporations to conserve and thoughtfully use water in a non-wasteful manner. We cannot continue to undervalue the threat of pollution to this resource. Cooperation with surrounding states and areas for utilization of reasonable watershed strategies is imperative. Protecting the quality of our air is vital. Our air is threatened by smog, acid rain, the greenhouse effect, and “holes” in the ozone layer. Each of these problems has serious implications for our health and well being as well as for the whole environment. Protecting our land from pollution, contamination and over development is crucial. Conservation of wetlands, “Smart Growth” and Green or sustainable building are key components to maintaining a viable earth. This all parallels some of the best practices in successful environmental educational efforts. Sustained positive environmental responsibility and action is best achieved if it is precipitated by meaningful learning experiences that enhance awareness, understanding and respect for our environment and our potential impact on it.
Our dependence upon oil, especially foreign oil, not only endangers our environment, it also affects our economy and our national energy security. As it is not a sustainable energy resource, our growing dependence on foreign oil leaves the United States vulnerable to hostile countries and regimes and threatens our historic support for Israel.
Pollution, thoughtless land, housing and business development, and irresponsible use of water, are among many threats to our quality of life. Agricultural uses of land such as farming run off, use of pesticides and practices leading to erosion and land exhaustion threaten the health of our citizens, the Chesapeake Bay and our environment. Protecting the quality of our air, water, and land against pollution and contamination is critical to the protection of our health and to the survival of humankind, animal, and plant life. Technological solutions, as well as measures that promote conservation, can be effective to protect air and water quality as well as to protect land from contamination.
- Education as the first line of defense for environmental problems. Educating our children, adults and our world about the need to preserve, conserve and improve our environment and care for the world is the foundation on which to build a sound environmental policy.
- We urge the utilization and funding of Mass Transit. (Mass Transit comprises all transport systems in which the passengers do not travel alone in vehicles.)
- Local sustainability programs which seek to comprehensively look at all aspects of governmental impact on environmental issues and seeks to work cooperatively with non-profits and organizations to minimize any negative impact and provide direction for positive changes.
- Governmental programs offering incentives to individuals, farmers, corporations and non-profits to use and create new alternative technologies or methods to solve energy and environmental resource problems.
- Smart Growth – or urban planning and transportation theory concentrating growth in the center of a city or suburb to avoid urban sprawl and advocates compact, walk-able and bicycle friendly transit oriented land use.
- Energy Conservation and clean fuel technology, and Green Building.
- Governmental leadership in efficiencies initiating conservation of our natural resources.
We also believe that all environmental and energy initiatives should be judged through the twin lenses of science and efficiency, as well as the lens of environmental justice, to ensure that we do not unduly burden our lower-income or vulnerable neighbors in our efforts to care for G-d’s creation. Environmental justice is the fair and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to the development and implementation of environmental law.
Upon creating Adam and Eve, God led them around the garden, showing them its magnificence. Then God said to them: See my handiwork, how fine and excellent it is. All this that I created is here before you. Tend to it well. Do not corrupt or destroy it, for if you do, there will be no one after you to make it right again. (Ecclesiates Rabbah)