Five Questions, Five Minutes
This month's topic: Environment
(Shevat 5763/January 2003)
Compiled by Audrey Shore
1. What's your name?
2. Where do you go to school?
3. What are some ways that you try to save the environment?
4. Does Judaism, to you, take an especially firm stance on
protecting the world? How so / how not?
5. Is being in a college a conducive environment to making
the world a cleaner, safer place? Why / why not?
1. M. Berk
2. Tacoma Community College
3. Threw my printer away (keep everything on the computer instead of on paper;
it's a lot easier when you have online classes or your teachers will let you
email them drafts or homework), encourage my workplace to start a paper
recycling program, pick up litter when I'm waiting for the bus and toss it in
the trash receptacle, etc.
4. I don't know about an "especially firm" stance, however I can't
recall ever going to a shul that didn't make attention to the environment part
of its value systems. The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (http://www.coejl.org) does a great job of
hosting texts which explain how Judaism and Ecology are interwoven, especially a
piece by Rabbi Saul Berman on "Jewish Environmental Values: The Dynamic
Tension Between Nature and Human Needs". Does my mother's crusading for
Hadassah's Organ Donor program count as ecological, as she wants people to reuse
5. I believe that it does. I think that being on a college campus draws
your mind into an awareness of the thoughts and concerns of other students.
Since so many students (up here in the Pacific northwest at least) are your
stereotypical vegan-save-the-world types, they make certain that there are
recycling bins and "clean up your mess" posters everywhere - and when
you see a trash can with a can bin next to it, the can is more likely to make it
into the bin than the trash can simply because it's there (even if you're not
really into saving the planet). Personally, I like recycling cans and bottles,
newspapers and even clothes; however I'll admit to being lazy and not doing it
at home unless it's something easy that I don't really have to think about. The
building I've lived in for the past year has a room on every floor next to the freight elevator which has the
normal trash bin, as well as bins for cans, bottles, papers, magazines, and even
clothes (the magazines, books, and clothes end up down by the washroom for
others in the building to take for free), which makes it easy, brainless, and
always makes me feel good as I walk back to my room from taking my items down
1. Tamar Fox
2. University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA)
3. I recycle obsessively, and I'm always picking up garbage off the ground.
4. Yes and no. There is certainly a lot of text devoted to
maintaining a safe and clean environment, but I haven't necessarily seen that
reinforced in many Jewish communities.
5. I don't think being in college is really conducive to
cleaning up the environment because so many students are so aesthetically
focused. While there are some student organizations on most campuses that are
concerned with recycling and environmental hazards, I don't think it's really a
prominent issue for most college students.
1. Steven Lautzenheiser
Community College (Tacoma, WA)
3. I am a student and do my part by doing more then just
recycling. I volunteer at my local zoo and help educate people about the world
and how to save and protect it.
4. Yes I think Judaism takes a firm stance on protecting the
world but for a more personal reason. I view aspects of Judaism to be very
personal, this being one of them. What one does in their life helps make Judaism
concerned with a certain aspect of the world. I am an Environmental
Science/Anthropology major and do my best to organize people into protecting the
world and doing their part.
5. Yes I feel that college is conducive to making the world
a cleaner place through education. By teaching students what is happening they
want to do their part in preventing the decline of the environment. At the same
time, I see smokers and careless people just throwing litter all around campus.
This causes me grief to think that someone could just be so heartless.
1. Joseph Brown
2. University of Indiana Bloomington, IN)
3. I often recycle and I try to use the car as little as
4. Yes we only have one world that HaShem blessed us with we
should take care of it is a blessing and we should thank HaShem each day for it.
5. You get to learn all of the major theories that are
involved in the world of science and you learn from many perspectives if you
take the right courses.