Israel has always been one step ahead of the technological world; from the contemporary communication of IMing and text messaging to the life saving radiation-free cancer devices, Israeli scientists have been at the top of their class for the past sixty years. It is, then, no surprise that they have come through yet again in developing methods of sustainability, with plans of action that are essential for our modern world. Realizing the immanent threat of climate change and the immense effect our actions have on the environment,Israel has become a leading force in the worldwide efforts to achieve eco-friendliness and partnership with the earth. A team from the Israeli Institute of Technology is working on the efficiency of non-polluting powered cars. More than 85% of the country’s waste is treated in an environmentally sound way. Israel has the highest number of solar power heaters per capita. An Israeli company was the first to install a large-scale solar power plant in California’s Mojave Desert. These are just a few of Israel’s many eco-accomplishments to date, and, make no mistake, they are just beginning; plans of the world’s largest solar power plant to be built in the Negev as well as tax breaks for residents of “green buildings” suggest their best efforts are yet to come.
The country uses its environmental methods not only towards the betterment of our natural world, but as a means to achieve stability between people in the Middle East. The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies on Kibbutz Ketura is, in my opinion, one of the country’s most important successes for the cause so far.
Arava is a center for leadership that stresses the environmental cooperation between both individuals and entire nations to achieve peace. By inviting young men and women of all religions to focus on their similarities rather then their differences, literally to recognize their shared turf, students have the opportunity to take responsibility for their actions, and, together, to design a more appropriate way to act – towards both the world itself and its inhabitant – in the future. In 2003, students launched a research enterprise to design sustainable water management for the Dead Sea basin. This effort was monumental; the endeavor which focused on a shared future was the first of its kind to include Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Another completed project of the Institute was a study of environmental education in the Israeli school system. Its shocking conclusions urged the Ministry of education to implement environmental literacy more seriously in schools. Some of the Arava’s current projects include an effort to restore the quality of streams in Israel, a study on the dangerous health effects of certain chemicals that pollute the air, and working to adapt different types of plants to the Israeli climate.
There is so much to be learned from the small state that is our homeland. Israel’s dedication to the cause is incredible but not unexpected. The country continues to live up to the ability that is synonymous with its name. So don’t let her small size or youth deceive you; and don’t be surprised if it’s Israel who leads the world into the next phase of history.
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