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Climate Action

Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment…. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.
United Nations

See below for What is Climate ActionSupporting Climate Action • Coalition Info SessionsFAQs

 

What is Climate Action

For Coalition members, Hazon is developing resources and partnerships to support two focused areas of climate work: achieving organizational net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and engaging the broader Jewish community in climate action.

Getting to Zero Emissions

We have identified four steps, through which an organization can ultimately achieve net-zero GHG emissions. They are:

  • Source Clean Electricity: Purchase clean electricity from the grid, or produce your own with solar.
  • Go Electric: Make a plan that documents all non-electric appliances (e.g. gas furnaces and boilers) and when they will expire. Start planning now for how to replace them with electric versions.
  • Reduce Your Emissions: Make energy efficiency retrofits; adjust food, travel, and procurement practices; and manage natural resources to sequester carbon through nature-based solutions.
  • Offset Emissions You Can’t Reduce: Some GHG emissions are unavoidable. For those that cannot be eliminated, purchase vetted carbon offsets.

Expanding Impact

The steps above can save money, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and make our organizations more sustainable and resilient. When we pair reducing our emissions with activities that amplify our climate action work beyond the walls of our institutions, our impact can be even greater.

  • Education and Nature Connection: Engage communities through programs, celebrations, and learning moments that ground us in our connection with Earth and inspire collective action.
  • Advocacy: Advocate for climate-smart policies.
  • Finance: Choose organizational investments, endowments, and banking relationships based on their climate impacts.

Sign-up Now!

 

Supporting Climate Action

All members of the Coalition commit to creating and implementing a Climate Action Plan, a strategic plan for an organization’s climate work. Climate Action Plans detail climate actions taken to-date, and set goals for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the coming year. Climate Action Plans will be shared annually around Tu B’Shvat (January/February).

There are no minimum requirements for Climate Action Plans.  

Hazon will support Coalition members in the following ways, so you can confidently commit to climate action:

Climate Action Webinars

Each month, Hazon will host webinars designed to support your climate action planning. Topics will include:

  • Creating and Buying Clean Electricity
  • Carbon Offsets: What are they? How to get them? Do they work?
  • Saving Money: Incentives, Retrofits, and Reductions
  • Making the Connection: Food and Climate Change 
  • Engaging Youth in Climate Action

Communities of Practice 

From synagogues to Federations, day schools to Hillels, youth movements to rabbinical schools, Hazon will connect each Coalition member with a Community of Practice, which will meet quarterly. Communities of Practice, facilitated in partnership with the founding partners, will afford Coalition members opportunities to network, inspire, learn, and share best practices with colleagues in similar organizations.

Office Hours and Consultation 

Each week, a Hazon staff person will hold office hours and be available for Coalition members to drop in and ask questions or seek support. Different Hazon staff members bring specific areas of climate expertise, which will be listed on the office hours schedule. 

Additionally, all Coalition members can schedule an annual one-on-one consultation with a Hazon staff person for customized support in developing your organizational Climate Action Plan.  

Youth Caucus

The Jewish Youth Climate Movement (JYCM) will convene a Coalition Youth Caucus for youth connected to Coalition institutions. Programming will empower teens to be in dialogue with the leadership of their Coalition organizations to collaborate on climate action.  

Climate Action Fund 

Hazon will have funding available in the form of interest-free loans and matching grants to support Coalition members in implementing their Climate Action Plans. The first pool of $500,000 in loan funding will be available in the first quarter of 2023. Stay tuned for more details.

All Coalition members will be eligible to apply for funding through the Climate Action Fund. 

Coalition Info Sessions

Learn more about the Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition at one of our upcoming Coalition Info Sessions:

View a pdf of the slides shared during the info session.
 

FAQs

Who can join the Coalition?

Any Jewish non-profit organization can apply to join the Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition. While the Coalition is open to Jewish community organizations anywhere, our climate action resources are geared towards North American Jewish institutions.

This sounds great! When do we start?

You can start right now by registering to join the Coalition or sending the registration link to the chief executive or rabbi of your organization! Once your organization registers, you will receive email confirmation and information about upcoming Welcome Sessions (mandatory for all new members).

Coalition members will be connected with their Communities of Practice upon registration.  Communities of Practice will begin meeting in January 2023.

Not sure if you’re ready to join yet? Join us for an upcoming Coalition Info Session to find out more about the Coalition and see if this program aligns with where you are on your climate journey.

Can I join at any time? When is my Climate Action Plan due?

Yes! We host monthly Welcome Sessions to welcome new members year-round.

While organizations can join at any time, all Coalition members are expected to submit and share their Climate Action Plans annually around Tu B’Shvat (January/February).

Coalition members who join in 2022/2023 will submit and share their Climate Action Plans at Tu B’Shvat (January) in 2024. Ready to get to work sooner than that? Great! Climate action work can start immediately… only the sharing of Climate Action Plans needs to wait.

If a Coalition member joins with less than six months before Tu B’Shvat, they can choose to share their Climate Action Plan the following year.

Why are Climate Action Plans due at Tu B’Shvat?

Tu B’Shvat, the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Shvat, is the new year for trees according to rabbinic Jewish tradition. Trees have their own new year, as a variety of traditional Jewish laws related to fruit trees depend on accounting for the tree’s age. In modern times, Tu B’Shvat has been embraced as a day of renewal and celebration for the Jewish environmental movement.

Tu B’Shvat is ultimately a Jewish day of nature accounting, taking stock of the past year and looking ahead towards the future. Similarly, we will use this date to account for our climate action work, each year noting the ways we are ensuring the future health and abundance of the natural world. What better way to honor the new year of the trees than by sharing out our collective Jewish community response to the climate crisis!

How long is membership in the Coalition?

Participation in the Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition is ongoing. Organizational membership is conditional on annual updating, strengthening, and sharing of Climate Action Plans.

What is the anticipated time commitment for Coalition members?

Coalition members should anticipate spending 2-5 hours/month engaging in climate action work. Your time might be spent participating in Communities of Practice meetings, attending Climate Action webinars, asking questions of Hazon staff during scheduled office hours, and/or working with your organization’s staff and lay leadership team to draft, implement, and evaluate your Climate Action Plans.

Is there a cost to join the Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition?

Nope! In fact, joining the Coalition offers your organization the possibility of receiving grant and loan funding for climate action through the Climate Action Fund.

Will there be funding available to support climate action work?

Yes! Through the Climate Action Fund, Hazon has funding available in the form of interest-free loans and matching grants to support Coalition members in implementing Climate Action Plans. The first pool of $500,000 in loan funding will be available in the first quarter of 2023. Stay tuned for more details.

All Coalition members will be eligible to apply for funding through the Climate Action Fund.

How can my organization set itself up for success?

Here are our recommendations for ensuring your organization gets the most out of the Coalition and is successful in your climate goals.

  • Identify a strong staff liaison. Your staff liaison could be someone on your organization’s senior leadership team (or someone who has access to your senior leadership team) who cares about climate change and is eager to take on this role. While familiarity with climate solutions is helpful, it is absolutely not required.
  • Develop a Climate Action Committee and engage your Board and lay leadership. While Coalition members are required to identify only a single staff liaison, the more support that person has the more likely your organization will achieve its climate action goals. And since some climate actions will require Board approval to move forward, we recommend engaging your organization’s Board and lay leadership in your climate action work as early on and fully as possible, ensuring their buy-in and support (for example, you can have your Board pass a resolution approving the signing of the Founding Statement).
  • Take advantage of the wide variety of climate action resources and supports available to Coalition members. The Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition has been designed to provide the knowledge, support, and connections necessary to achieve your climate action goals. Make the most of the resources available: 
    • Sign up for a Welcome Session after you register;
    • Actively participate in your organization’s Community of Practice;
    • Attend relevant webinars;
    • Read the monthly newsletter (which will have information about upcoming learning and funding opportunities!);
    • Join one or more of the Hazon staff person’s office hours with your questions;
    • Consult the Climate Action Resource Guides.

Having a Climate Action Committee will ensure your organization has the capacity to make use of all of these resources. 

My organization does not own (or even use!) a building. Can we still join the Coalition?

Yes! Each Coalition member will develop a Climate Action Plan that reflects their unique situation. So whether you are a renter, building owner, or don’t even use a building, you can join the Coalition and identify climate actions that are meaningful and achievable for you.

Ahh! I am excited and overwhelmed; inspired and daunted! Can you help me?

Yes, we can help you!

We at Hazon regularly feel overwhelmed by the climate crisis and we use the words of Rabbi Tarfon to remind us “Do not be daunted… You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” Or, in the words of environmental activist Pattie Gonia: “Here is the truth: We don’t need a handful of people taking perfect action. We need millions of people taking imperfect action.  Every. Single. Day. So, take your talent, skills, resources, and all your forms of capital and ask yourself, ‘What I can I do for our planet today?’”

We are not asking you to solve the climate crisis. You can, however, do your part by joining the Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition and committing to the doable and high-impact process outlined above. We will guide you through – one step at a time.

Wait! I still have questions!

Please contact us at coalition@hazon.org. We look forward to connecting with you!