Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hillel celebrates tree festival

Our GoNeutral campaign was also featured in The Daily Collegian at Penn State. Check it out here.

"This year, between the blessings of the festival, different facts about the environment were read to put an extra emphasis on environmental consciousness. Gernett said the Jewish National Fund and Hasbara, two pro-Israel groups, used the seder to inform people about a carbon offsetting competition. Hillel is trying to raise $400 for the fundraising competition."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Newt Gingrich's Contract With The Earth

Below are some of our favorite and most informative snippets from Newt Gingrich's book Contract With The Earth. These encompass some of the ideals of JNF GoNeutral.

“Clearly, from a boomer’s perspective, the earth needs our help. We recognize a call to action that affects the future of life on this planet. We easily embrace a cause that will make life better for our children and secure our future. To protect the next generation, baby boomers are prepared to commit time, energy, and expense. Like war, however, we must demand a complete and decisive victory.”

“Americans must reach a broad-based agreement on the environment. Adversarial politics has prevented a strategic consensus from driving our nation’s environmental vision. As a result, we have become a conflicted, confused, and timid polity when it comes to environmental concerns. Historically, America has been a decisive nation. We must now take the necessary steps to return our country to a position of leadership on the environment. It is not too late to make a difference.”

“No single enterprise, event, or idea will renew the earth. Instead, I believe it will take a movement composed of dedicated citizens who can see the world in a new way and who will work together to bring about revolutionary changes in the way we conduct our lives.”

“Our environment’s current state represents both a unique challenge and a golden opportunity. If we respond with the ingenuity and diligence consistent with our national heritage and our sense of duty, we will not begin to resolve our environmental problems, but we will also launch an unprecedented epoch of economic prosperity. No person or entity, especially the business community, can afford to sit on the sidelines as our natural resources are squandered and degraded.”

“America will benefit economically and culturally from fostering partnerships that generate new environmental business opportunities. Working together, responsible environmental groups, neighborhoods, governments, small businesses, and major corporations will shape a future bound by a common cause—the environment—and against the common foes of inertia, indifference, and apathy.”

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jewish National Fund: Reversing The Donor Aging Process

JNF GoNeutral was recently featured in TheNonProfit Times. You can access the article here.

The article notes:

The accompanying Web site is fresher and edgier than JNF's main site, and the campain is featured on social networks.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Converting to Green: How many skeptics does it take to screw in a CFL light bulb?

Converting to Green: How many skeptics does it take to screw in a CFL light bulb?

By Howard Gordon

All right, I admit it. When it came to believing that I could make a difference in the fight to stop global warming, I was a skeptic. Sure, I drove a Prius, and I dutifully deposited my Fiji bottles in the nearest blue recycling bin. But the truth is, I mostly did these things to make my wife, Cami, feel better. She's been such a true believer for such a long time that I had no real choice in the matter if I wanted to keep the peace at home.

So I humored her passionate activism, I indulged her fears in the dire predictions being offered up daily by scientists and by the media. Not that I didn't believe that our consumer society is on the fast track to destroying the planet -- I just didn't think that anything I did was going to derail the inevitable.

On more than one occasion, I slipped and admitted to my wife my true feelings on the subject. That we were hypocrites. Limousine liberals. Driving a Prius might make us feel better about ourselves, but it didn't compensate for all the carbon we were emitting by employing the small army of people who help maintain our not-so-modest home -- from gardeners to house cleaners to handymen. These are people who commute from faraway places in cars far less efficient than ours. If we really wanted to reduce our carbon footprint, we should sell our house, move into a high-rise, and take public transportation.

We had this argument at least a dozen times. And each time, my wife held her ground, insisting that doing something was better than doing nothing. She said if everyone did something, it would make a difference.

So I'd grudgingly go back to carrying my own canvas bags to the supermarket, unplugging my cellphone charger, even trading in my Fiji water for a refillable aluminum bottle. Until one day, the light bulb went off over my own head. Literally.

I was replacing an incandescent bulb with a more efficient compact fluorescent bulb, and when I turned it on to test it, I suddenly realized that the skepticism I'd been carrying with me for all this time had given way to something else. Something that felt a lot like satisfaction. The solution was never going to come all at once; it was a process. By doing these small things, however reluctantly, I'd begun to believe that I really was making a difference. And that was the whole point of doing something, of doing anything that contributed to the solution.

Having taken these few halting, reluctant steps, I found myself looking forward to taking more steps. Carrying the canvas bags to the supermarket stopped feeling like a hassle. I went out of my way to carpool with people I knew were attending school events and business meetings. I had solar panels installed at our house. I even headed up an effort to make more energy efficient the physical production of the television show I produce, "24," as part of News Corp.'s Cool Climate Change initiative. I'd finally joined Cami on what had been, until now, her solo journey.

Perhaps most significantly, I realized that our actions, small and large, were starting to change the behavior of the people around us. Because we've been making choices to reduce our carbon footprint, the people around us are starting to take their own first steps to reduce theirs. Our children are getting pretty good at turning off the lights when they're not in a room, and turning down the heat. Some of our friends have started replacing their incandescent bulbs with CFLs.

Now and again, that familiar skepticism comes back. Bringing my own mug to Starbucks still doesn't seem like much of an answer to the massively rising energy consumption happening in India and China. And I'm waiting for a DWP audit to find out how much energy those solar panels of mine are really producing. But even if it doesn't turn out to be as much as I'd like, we're still doing better than we would have been doing without them -- and not nearly as good as I hope we'll all be doing in the future.