Florida Jamatkhanas have turned to eliminate usage of plastic water containers and plastic bags. These are just two steps, in addition to other best practices, to “Going Green.” The initiative was launched January 1st in three Florida Jamatkhanas, and will continue to be implemented in the remaining two centers. 

Following in the footsteps of other regions, Florida Jamatkhanas have turned to eliminating usage of plastic water containers and plastic bags. These are just two steps, in addition to other best practices, of the national “Sustainable Nation” initiative, also referred to as “Go Green” in Florida. The initiative was launched in Atlanta in 2014, at the beginning of 2019 in three Florida Jamatkhanas, and will also be implemented in the remaining two centers. 
 
Care of the larger environment and the planet is every individual’s responsibility and by 
launching this initiative it is hoped that the Jamat will extend it to homes. The initial idea was presented by Amin Lalani, Volunteer Resource Management (VRM) Lead, and soon the project was approved under the direction of President Zahra Hayat-Daya and the  Council for Florida.
 
Naina Panjwani, the Sustainable Nation Project Manager began planning the requirements and next steps to make this a reality within six months. There were challenges to be overcome, including the cost of installing filtration systems in all centers, making eco-friendly bags available for naandi, plastic elimination, placing blue recycle bins in centers, and planning for increasing awareness in the Jamat to help them understand how they can contribute to protecting our environment with small steps.
 
“This project is a real initiative to improve lives in the community,” says Naina. The project has three objectives:
 
1) Reduce the amount of waste that we create; for example, by installing a water filtration system. Reducing waste is at the top hierarchy of this Green initiative. If we use less, then there is less to reuse and recycle.
 
2) Reuse the resources by implementing innovative ideas such as reusable bags.
 
3) Recycle the materials that we have used; the Go Green project will do this by introducing blue recycle bins.
 
“We will announce the benefits to the Jamat, every quarter,” said VRM Lead Amin. The idea here is to collect the data, and share it with the Jamat by means of educational videos, speakers, flyers, and even field trips to the recycling plants for REC students and seniors. He hopes this will inspire the Jamat to implement the initiative in their daily lives.
 
Based on the implementation success of the Florida centers, the second round of Sustainable Nation deployment would be nationwide. This would not only saving thousands of dollars, but also improve the general environmental health of our planet.
 
The national Volunteer Resource Management team has shared this initiative’s objectives, implementation process, and learnings with its Canadian counterparts, and a similar program will be launched there soon.