In response to the escalating Climate Change crisis, and as part of JFS’ commitment to Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World), in October 2022 the Board instituted the JFS Climate Change, Environment and Sustainability Policy which highlights key areas where JFS will take action to reduce its carbon footprint and address these issues at a local level.

In recent months, the Immigrant Services team has felt the increasing global impacts through the experiences of individuals and families who have recently arrived in our area. More and more are leaving their home countries, both out of fear for their safety as well as for economic reasons because of deteriorating conditions caused by climate change including water/food shortages, decreases in jobs/industry growth, and rekindling of ethnic conflicts – all accelerated by and resulting from global warming and alterations to their native ecosystems.

Here are the actions JFS has taken to date:

Continued remote work policy to reduce travel for staff while continuing to accomplish all mission requirements. In addition, continued use of remote meeting connection tools to reduce travel for both staff, volunteers, board members, and clients.

Continued policy at JFS of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle with a focus on ending use of plastics and other non-compostable products. Specifically:

  • Reduction of paper usage by employing digital tools. Transitioning from paper to electronic file/record storage.
  • Increase use of local businesses to reduce transport distances of products including medical, office, and other supplies.
  • Working with the JFS cleaning company to use non-toxic cleaning agents.
  • Replace office supplies with green/sustainable products (paper plates/cups/flatware/boxed water/filtered tap water, etc.).

Working with the 475 Franklin St Medical Office Condominium Trust to actively encourage the following building specific improvements as funds are available while taking advantage of Federal/State incentives:

  • Energy efficient lighting upgrades, inclusive of automatic timers to save energy.

JFS is also looking at community partnerships and education for the community. In this effort JFS has joined Adamah (Jewish response to Climate Change) and is also partnering locally with JALSA (Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action) and through that relationship, Mass Power Forward.

A focused effort of JFS (as an area social justice convener) will be engaging the community in volunteer efforts in this important work. If you would like to learn how you can get involved, complete the volunteer interest form now.