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No Magic Olive Oil? Try Green Power.

Though we don't often think of it this way, Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of renewable energy—the renewable energy of the Maccabees, who pursued with much vigor their fight against the Assyrian-Greeks, and the renewable energy of some unusual olive oil, … Read More

By / December 4, 2007

Though we don't often think of it this way, Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of renewable energy—the renewable energy of the Maccabees, who pursued with much vigor their fight against the Assyrian-Greeks, and the renewable energy of some unusual olive oil, which kept the Temple's eternal flame alight for eight days instead of one.

This Hanukkah—as American power plants continue to emit roughly 10 percent of the world's annual global warming pollution, and as UN negotiators discuss whether they will solve the problem of climate change—we can celebrate the renewable energy of old by switching over to a new form of renewable energy called Green Power. Green Power is pollution-free electricity produced by wind turbines, low-impact hydroelectric systems, solar arrays and other renewable sources. Switching to Green Power cuts the average American household's greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent.

Of course, solar panels and small wind turbines are great ways to get in on the renewable energy action. But you don't need any special hardware to join the modern Maccabees. In many areas of the country you can get green power directly from local electric suppliers . The juice will still come through the same transmission lines and will still be serviced by your local electric company.

One of the best ways to find out how to buy Green Power is to visit the website of Center for Resource Solutions, an organization that certifies renewable energy. Click on "Buy Green-E Certified," and read the "Ways to Buy" so you understand the terms. Then enter your city and state into the search criteria. You will then see a list of suppliers who can talk you through the process of making the switch. They can also explain the effect that switching will have on your electric bill. (In most places, green power costs slightly more than the fossil-fuel-generated power that's cooking the planet.)

Another way to find a green power supplier is to Google "Renewable Energy," along with your city, county or state and check out what you find.

The rabbis of the Talmud debated which was the actual Hanukkah miracle: the seemingly impossible military victory? Or, that long-lasting organic olive oil? Who knows. But today, we can power our homes and businesses using nothing but thin air and pure light, with no superhuman effort necessary. That's pretty miraculous. By pursuing with great vigor the struggle against global warming, and embracing our own sources of renewable power, we appropriately honor the story of Hanukkah.

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Want more environmental tips for Hanukkah? Read Solving the Climate Crisis One Menorah at a Time, Arthur Waskow and Jeff Sultar's eight-day plan for the holiday.

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