The environment is in peril and the climate crisis is likely to lead to catastrophic and destructive events. Whilst the responsibility and power to prevent disaster lies with governments, every individual, community and organisation must play their part in safeguarding the climate.
There is a beautiful story in the Babylonian Talmud that inspires the approach of JCoSS towards tackling the climate crisis. It is the story of Honi who meets a man who plants trees so future generations can eat the fruit of these trees, just as past generations have done for him and his generation.
Today, JCoSS declares a climate crisis and commits to the following pledges:
· To stop selling plastic bottles by 2024
· To reduce paper usage
· To ensure that all waste is disposed of properly
· To reduce the negative effect of uniform
· To remove plastic from the cafeteria by 2023
· To reduce meat and dairy consumption
· To make the school fully powered by renewable energy by 2026
· To reduce energy usage
· To plant or fund the planting of trees or an equivalent for every student each year
Along with this, we have created a plan that, for each pledge, outlines where we are now, where that information comes from and a set of suggested next steps. For example, the school uses around fifteen thousand exercise books and over one and half million sheets of paper each year. This plan will help guide us in how we can reduce our negative impact on the environment and is also replicable for future evaluations of progress. We are now working with students from other schools to implement similar projects in their schools.
Rabbi Hillel said “If I am not for myself, who will be? But, if I am only for myself, what am I?” To this effect, the intended result of this declaration is twofold. First is to reduce and eliminate the harmful repercussions of the school’s operation on the environment. The second is to enthuse, encourage and empower students, staff and other members of the JCoSS community to think deeply about the impacts of their actions and then to make changes where necessary. As members of society, we have both individual and collective responsibility to protect the future of humanity and of the planet on which we live and rely.
Today, many students take part in programmes run by sixth formers on the climate crisis and all members of the JCoSS community make their own personal pledge relating to the climate crisis.
Just like safety, mental health, gender equality and educational outcomes, the climate should be considered and prioritised in every decision. We commit to turning this belief into practice. We ask that you commit to this with us.