Green Team

Beth El members have formed a Green Team to work on reducing Beth El’s collective carbon and environmental footprint and standing for environmental justice consistent with our traditions. We spearhead initiatives to:

  • Reduce fossil fuel use by our own facilities
  • Assist our congregation’s households in taking action to reduce their carbon footprint —  join our Green Challenge to count your actions on the JCAN platform
  • Support advocacy and awareness efforts to advance the goals of our Climate and Sustainability Resolution in defense of Creation and a livable resilient world

Have questions on solar, composting, heat pumps, advocacy, recent laws? Contact John Harper at to connect with a Green Team person.

Climate Mensch of the Month: Cat & Alex Kaner


As the granddaughter and daughter of Holocaust survivors, my maternal grandparents and Mom lived the “waste not, want not” lifestyle. Things were repurposed, up cycled, repaired, and rarely thrown out. I grew up holding this value near to me and have passed on my love of conservation to Alex.

For example, I remember my Grandpa saving the white borders from pages of postage stamps, and using them as white out – likely before white out was invented. Now I’m the one who saves the white, extra, blank stickers that come on the prescription booklets from CVS; and we use those to label all kinds of things. We also save the cotton that comes in the bottles of nutritional supplements for later use.

 One of the best ways to help the planet is to not buy anything new, so we tie-dye stained clothes and ask for hand me downs for Alex when we want a refreshed style. We are part of two local “Buy Nothing” groups on Facebook, a fantastic way to de-clutter. Clothing that can’t be salvaged and other worn-out fabric items go into the pink recycling bags Framingham provides.

Mother Nature leads the way in our yards:  we don’t treat the grass, let wildflowers blossom

and mulch leaves and grass.  Four new trees were planted by Framingham High as part of the Treeplenish program.

We reduce food waste by putting expired food in the back yard and use food from local farms that would otherwise go to waste.  Just got a nice bunch of turnips that I roasted as part of our Thanksgiving dinner, then used the leftovers as part of latkes for Hanukkah. Our eggs and honey are from our neighbor who lives around the corner.

We conserve water by saving the cold water that runs before a shower and using it to soak dishes and water plants. We avidly recycle (or give away) paper, plastic, metal. Plastic wrappers from food and other purchases go right into the big garbage can in the garage, rather than into a plastic garbage bags. We reuse plastic grocery bags for trash. We favor reusable water bottles. No single-use plastic. We trade climate-saving tips and tricks with others in our city via Facebook groups.

In addition, we conserve energy by:

  • having a MassSave audit every 2 years 
  • setting heat no higher than 68 degrees and air conditioning no lower than 78 degrees, and favoring ceiling fans over AC.
  • installing heavily subsidized/discounted Honeywell smart thermostats,
  • getting 50% of our electricity from a wind farm via Arcadia.
  • turning off lights when leaving a room.
  • replacing dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer with more energy efficient models and run the dishwasher only when full.
  • having a solar charger for cell phone.
  • working from home – since 1988 – so don’t use car a lot.  
  • planning on a used, either hybrid or electric car for our next vehicle.