Planting To Fight Climate Change

On Sunday, November 21, our teens engaged in their first social action for the school year – learning about climate change and planting trees to help fight it.

Thanks to AJ’s wonderful congregants, Lorna and Murray Rosenberg, who are both environmental experts and activists through their education, professions and life, a wonderful program was created for our teens. Lorna and Murray prepared an interesting learning session about climate change and its impacts on our lives. They highlighted the Jewish connection and commitment to the environment, and they discussed the ways to fight climate change with the teens. It was wonderful to see how much our students already knew, and how much they care.

Lorna and Murray are also responsible to the “shidduch” between JTC and Mindy Lemoine, from the PA Horticultural Society Tree Tenders. PHS Tree Tenders program is planting and caring for thousands of trees throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. The program is based on hundreds of volunteers who together form more than 80 local Tree Tender groups, who are planting trees in residential neighborhood to better the communities they live in.

Mindy, together with Tree Tender Dan, met with us on a Sunday morning in a Wyncote neighborhood. They brought three bare-root trees for us to plant and explained the planting process step by step and with plenty of patience. Our students learned that as trees grow, they help stop climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. They learned that tree canopy reduces surface temperatures by shading homes and releasing water vapor into the air. They also block cold winter winds, attract birds and wildlife, clean our water and make our neighborhoods more beautiful, healthier and safer places to live in.

Armed with work gloves and shovels, JTC students began digging, removed damaged roots with a pickaxe when needed, measured, covered, watered and even fenced the trees. The teens really got their hands dirty, worked very hard, but seemed to enjoy every minute of it. In Hebrew there is a common say people use when coming back from trips: “chazarnu ayefim ach merutzim”, which translates to – we came back tired, but well-contented. I think it summarizes our day perfectly!!