Earthly blessings, responsibilities

For suburban — and even urban — dwellers, celebrating Tu B'Shevat may be more convenient than you realize.

possibilities also exist.

When the sun sets Tuesday and the New Year of the Trees begins, you can join a communal seder marking the holiday.

If that's not an option, spend some time outdoors, in awe of nature.

The holiday falls on the full moon, so go out and enjoy the light Tuesday night. Wednesday, find a park. Take a walk. Notice the trees that are already budding.

Plant spring flowers or a small tree. If you don't have a backyard, buy a new plant.

Dedicate yourself to at least one environmental cause. Protecting Headwaters Forest is one possibility right in our own backyard.

Do a personal and communal checklist of ways you're helping or harming the environment.

In Rabbi Arthur Waskow's book "Down to Earth Judaism," he discusses the concept of eco-kosher, asking us to muse on several questions:Sure, you can write a check to plant a tree in Israel. But for those who want to tap into their spiritual heritage, more personal

*"Are tomatoes grown by drenching the earth in pesticide `kosher' to eat at home or at a synagogue wedding reception?

*"What about windows and doors so built that the warm air flows out through them and the furnace keeps burning all night? Are such doors and windows `kosher' for a home or for a JCC building?"

Recycling is easier than ever. Try to purchase items with the least amount of packaging. Really think before you throw something away. Do the same at home, work and synagogue.

When you buy a new automobile, take into account the gas mileage and polluting power.

Next time you buy light bulbs, choose more energy-efficient ones.

And for one entire day, thank the Divine Presence for every bite of food you consume.

Chag Sameach.