Archive for the ‘Green’ Category

recycleI just came back from the new Jerusalem recycling center . Not many people there, just the guy who looks after it and he looked kind of bored. He was very helpful. Looks like he has loads of time on his hands.

The center is opposite the Herzog Hospital in Givat Shaul on the road that goes down to the cemetery. It is all nicely laid out with bins for paper, card, plastics, glass and a hut where you can leave electronics, books and clothes.

Just not many users.

I think this may be one of those things that if we don’t use it we’ll lose it, so get down there now with you recyclable garbage.

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Today is Yom HaZikaron (memorial day) which is held the day before independence day – Yom HaAtzmaut.

Much has been written about this almost impossible juxtaposition of grief next to rejoicing. The idea is that in order to rejoice we need to remember those who enabled our independence. A very beautiful idea and one that focuses the whole country on a day of national, often very sentimental, mourning. Everyone knows someone who has a close relative who has died in our never ending war from independence to this day. Thus the public mourning focuses not on the achievements and the heroism, but on the personal loss and tragedy of our best young men and women who we send to defend us.

Most people work half day (except those who attend memorial ceremonies in the morning). I have the whole day off work, so I am making good use of the free time. The first thing I did this morning was to do my country a good turn and I collected up plastic bottles left on the badly kept path and undeveloped land next to our home. Five minutes work and I came back with a large bag bursting full of bottles.

I made a resolution that when I go out walking at nights (another resolution I am trying to keep to), I will collect up at least once a week discarded bottles.

The number of discarded bottles on the edges of undeveloped plots and under bushes on the side of the road never ceases to amaze me. Who drinks all these 1.5 liter bottles? Some of the ones around the park next to our house are left every night by kids who smoke nargilas there. We have a big problem with garbage in the park and although the city sends someone once a week to clean up, there is a lot of mess there.

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By coincidence Climate Progress had a post yesterday about environmental action by faith communuities in the US. I looked at one of the links – lo-Watt Shabbat. Not amazingly exciting. I’m looking for an halakhically acceptable solution for wasting less electricity keeping an urn of hot water and a hot-plate heated over Shabbat.

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Why are religious people so often so totally ungreen? A post appeared recently on the “Beit Shemesh List” decrying the total lack of awareness in Ramat Beit Shemesh for civic cleanliness. The post was worded in a haredi rhetoric style but embedded in the post are a point that I have thought about for a while:

We call ourselves religious people, and we allow our neighbors to desecrate Hashem’s Holy Land? We write graffitti that calls for people to dress “tzniusly” but don’t mind the fact that it is written on the walls of our neighbor’s homes?

Shouldn’t preserving the environment be way up top of any religious person’s values and their to-do list? If you really and fervently believe that the world is God’s creation then where is the care for looking after his handiwork? The answer to the conundrum comes I think is that environmentalism isn’t on the map not only because its new and hadash assur min hatorah (sic), but also because this is just another case of mixed up priorities and lost direction.

They’re spend all their energies looking for imaginary bugs in strawberries, fussing over supposed sexual improprietary on mixed seated buses and in even in the mixed sex government that is causing the world economic recession, bothering over what shirt other people wear to play ball on Shabbat afternoon and generally getting worked up over unimportant things. They have no time left for looking after the land that is “palatin shel melech” that “aynay hashem bah me-reshit ha-shana ad akharit shana”. Hashem yishmor or just let the hiloinim worry about all that goyim naches.

Traditionally Israel has been more excited about development than conservation and environmentalists are still this day considered reactionary wimps standing in the way of progress. Real halutzim have no time for wimps. It is interesting though that conservatives and patriots the world over seem to have this same problem. I would have thought that near on if not number one on the list for any patriot should be preserving the environment of his beloved country.

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Australian Fires

Today I read that around 150 people have been killed in the bush fires in Australia. Some gruesome stories and some frightening pictures.

Australia is currently in the middle of a drought and now record temperatures in Victoria on the one hand and flooding in Queensland on the other. On the other side of the globe, the UK is having its heaviest snow in two decades and temperatures way below zero and here in Israel we are having our worst drought on record with about a third of our expected annual rainfall after several previous exceptional dry years.

Is this what they were warning us about global warming?

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A video article from JPost.com.

As usual, after years of neglect and short-sighted mis-management there is a government enquiry going on about how come we don’t have any water.

Unfortunately this doesn’t mean that anything is actually being done about it. As I blogged a couple of days ago, we are going to start paying considerably more for water over a base “ration” of 2.5 m3 a person a month.

However collecting more money for water will not magically refill the aquifers. Demand for water is not that elastic and with little public awareness and only twelve inspectors to enforce watering bans over the whole country, even the water authority optimists are only expecting to make up about a third of the 100 M m3 shortfall.

So what are we going to do. We can pray and hope that we won’t run out of water or do irreversable ecological damage before the overdue desalination plants come on line starting in 2010.

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Israel is officially in a drought. As if we needed anyone to tell us that. The level of the Kineret today is at -214.37m which is over 5.5m from its maximum and although the winter had an early and promising start it hasn’t rained seriously since. Our local weather station at Kibbutz Tzora is showing a pitiful 144mm which is about a quarter of the annual average of somewhere around 550mm. If you look at the expected rainfall in the months up till now, you still get over 300mm. This is all after five years of below average rainfall and little public awareness or action.

News is that soon water will be rationed to 2.5 cubic meters per person per month. That’s about 70% of what my household uses right now and I don’t think we are that wasteful. Shorter showers and less toilet flushing. Did you know that a third of domestic water usage is flushed down the toilet and further third goes on showers and laundry?

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