With all due respect to Tu Bishvat (aka the Jewish Arbor Day), Sukkot is the Jewish calendar’s eco-friendly poster child.
For starters, the week long holiday celebrates the harvest. Throughout the week Jews celebrate by dining, star-gazing, and sometimes even sleeping in a handmade, outdoor hut made from natural materials called a sukkah. Furthermore, they carry around an etrog (a fragrant, lemon-like citrus fruit) and a lulav (a bundle of date palm fronds and other branches), which they wave around at services and inside their sukkah.
With so many natural green connections, it is a no-brainer to celebrate Sukkot with sustainability and the environment in mind. Here are some ideas to keep your holiday green and awesome:
Decorate Local Farmer’s markets are brimming with squash, gourds, dried corn, dried flowers and other autumnal goodies this time of year. So forget the plastic fruit and stock up on beautifully, locally-grown decorations.
Recycled Chic Back in the 1990s, trendy decorators strung unwanted CDs from their sukkahs like tiny, flat disco balls. Bring back that retro idea and add to it: string together corks from old wine bottles, or make a chain out of toilet paper tubes painted in different colors.
Educate, Beautifully Paint your favorite environmental quotes on recycled paper and hang them around the sukkah. Or, make a 350.org banner to spark conversation about climate change in the sukkah.
Sustainable Supper Once you are all decorated, invite your friends over for a vegetarian potluck meal. Invite people to bring a plate to reduce waste, or if you must go disposable, use compostable dishes.
Donate, Donate. Invite friends to bring canned goods and other non-perishables to dinner and set up a collection box inside your sukkah. Bring donated food to a soup pantry after the holiday.
Talk Green. Start an environmental discussion at your Sukkot table. Bring printouts of texts and resources to get you started.
Find more sustainable Sukkot tips on Hazon’s website. How are you adding DIY or eco-friendly touches to your Sukkot celebration?