Beth Am Environmental Team

“There is no away. We all live downstream.”

Each action we take has environmental implication. Everything we do has an impact. At Beth Am we concern ourselves with environmental issues in many areas of our common life, from our individual households, to our synagogue, to our neighborhood, to global issues. We envision working together as Shomrim Adamah, guardians of the earth.

The Beth Am Environmental team, made up of congregation members, has been active since 2008. We are affiliated with the Jewish Climate Action Network and Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake. We work with other organizations as well, especially our neighbors at the Reservoir Hill Improvement Council.

We meet bi-monthly on the second Wednesday of the month. Our meetings are open to all Beth Am members. The dates and links for committee meetings are in the Beth Am weekly emails and on-line calendar. We also are part of, and work closely with, the Social Action Committee, Social Action.

Contact us.

Current and planned activities

Currently we are engaged in or planning to:

  • Replace three trees in front of the synagogue which died and were removed;
  • Lead the Discovery Lab Bnai Mitzvah class in pruning and removing vines on trees in the Reservoir Hill neighborhood;
  • Combined with the Social Action Committee to express support for traffic calming on Druid Park Lake Drive and improved pedestrian access to Druid Hill Park.
  • Along with the Social Action Committee support the Environmental Human Rights Amendment to Maryland Constitution
  • Organize along with our friends at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church a walk in Druid Hill Park Walk to highlight its resources, the impact of climate change on the park, diverse park users and plans for the park’s protection: [link to another page on Beth Am website]
  • Sponsor a canoe trip in the Baltimore Harbor with the B’nai Mitzvah class to learn about pollution and watershed issues
  • Encouraged the synagogue to consider installing solar panels on our new office annex.
  • Review and comment on planned landscape plans for new courtyard between the synagogue and office building
  • Bring attention to the need to weed and maintain small, old Jewish cemeteries in Baltimore

Past activities

In the past we:

  • Organized a 50th anniversary Earth Day panel with Beth Am members of different generations who work in a variety of environmental positions
  • Organized an environmental Tu B’Shevat sedar
  • Cosponsored an environmental movie program with Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church
  • Sponsored a residential solar power educational session for members
  • Organized a nature walk along Stoney Creek
  • Replaced two trees that had died on Chauncey Street next to the synagogue
  • Led a tree maintenance project in Reservoir Hill with Jewish Discovery Lab B’nai Mitzvah class

Any suggestions for future activities? Let us know!

Want to put solar panels on your roof? Check out Civic Works. Beth Am members are active in this combination of energy efficiency and environmental justice. Tell them we sent you. Here’s the link.

See Joe Nathanson’s article on “Climate Change at the Local Level” for a short, clear introduction to Baltimore’s Climate Action Plan and the Baltimore Office of Sustainability.

Want to follow environmental issues in Israel and the Middle East? See Stu Schoenfeld’s website, “Environment and Climate in the Middle East.”