Hanukkah: A Time to Celebrate Sustainability!
When it comes to energy conservation and efficiency, Hanukkah is probably the last thing that comes to mind. However, the grand holiday known for latkes, menorahs, and Dreidel (although let’s be real, I’ve celebrated Hanukkah my whole life and have only played it twice) is much more a tale of sustainability than one might think.
A brief history lesson of Hanukkah: after the Jewish Maccabees finally defeated the Syrian-Greek army, they gathered at the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The Jews only had enough oil to light the temple for one night, but it miraculously lasted for eight nights. Now in celebration of that eight-for-one deal, we Jews light a menorah for eight nights while receiving socks and underwear as “gifts.”
So how can we use this holiday as inspiration for sustainability?
Switch to more efficient light bulbs
By getting rid of cheap, inefficient incandescent light bulbs, you can literally imitate Hanukkah with light that lasts several years longer! LEDs, CFLs, and halogens are all great options for getting the most bang for your buck. Plus, you’ll feel like you’re celebrating our beloved Maccabees for years.
You can find out which option is best for you here.
Keep the celebrations reusable
While celebrating any holiday, it’s best to use decorations and kitchenware that can be used year after year. Using the same decorations, plates, cups, and silverware for eight years instead of one not only makes fiscal sense, but it saves on waste as well. And if your celebratory garb can make it past eight years, consider it a holiday miracle!
Buy a more energy-efficient car
I’ll admit, this one is a bit extreme since most of us are not in a position to just go out and purchase a new vehicle. However, when the time comes you should try to get a car that can make it a full eight days on one tank of gas. Hybrids and gas vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius V and Honda Fit, all get you far without needing to constantly fill up. If you want to take it to an even greater level of efficiency, consider an electric vehicle that doesn’t even need gas to run!
Don’t go overboard with gifts
We all want to spoil our friends and family, but the holidays are really a celebration of love and shouldn’t revolve around presents. Of course, we’re still going to give, but we should try to be as sustainable as possible. I almost always buy from local stores that sell products made from local vendors. There is less travel involved for the products, eliminating carbon pollution from transportation, plus it helps support my regional economy. Giving homemade presents is also a great way to stay green, and it gives your loved ones a one-of-a-kind gift. If you must purchase gifts from outside stores, consider giving energy-efficient presents. They won’t need wasteful batteries, and will last longer than standard gifts!
Now, let’s enjoy the holidays and be inspired by the extraordinary eight-night celebration we call Hanukkah. After all, eight nights are better than one, so let’s try to make everything last as long as possible with more efficient choices. But let’s keep our dreidel games short, because honestly no one ever plays that game!
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