by Adeline Medeiros, Director – Brooklyn Initiatives, The Center for Community Leadership at JCRC-NY, Greening Fellow
When I first started the Jewish Greening Fellowship and took an inventory of all the changes that had to be made around our office, it was overwhelming. There were infrastructure updates, policies to be written, office culture to be changed, a larger building management team to get on board, and the integration of greening into our community work. How on earth was I supposed to do this on my own?
I soon realized I couldn’t and I didn’t have to. My experience in JGF has helped me connect with my coworkers in a new way. Prior to my involvement, I had no idea how many of our staff members gardened, composted, and shopped at their local farmer’s markets. I didn’t know that our office manager had fought to equip our office with reusable dishes and a dishwasher two years ago, unsuccessfully. But now we had a secret weapon: We had a team to get behind the cause!
From our first green team meeting to our official greening kick-off, I’ve been supported, encouraged, and emboldened by my eco-minded coworkers. The overwhelming work I was first faced with became manageable with their involvement. Now, although I’m the official greening fellow, we have multiple staff who lead different projects in the office.
There’s Rachel, who is hosting our first “lunch ‘n’ learn” for staff on the topic of composting. And Jennifer, who orders supplies for the office, has taken the initiative to send out excited updates about our new green supplies. She shares the thought process behind environmentally-conscious purchasing. And then there are all the staff members who send others back to their desks to get their reusable dishes during our family-style holiday lunches.
I’ve come to realize that this work cannot be done on our own. Not only does the involvement of others achieve more, but it makes the experience richer. A big part of environmentalism is community and I’ve found mine at the JCRC.