The country’s foremost environmental leaders will be recognized on Monday, international Earth Day, at the 10th annual Green Globe awards atop Ariel Sharon Park – the former Hiriya garbage dump turned natural oasis.
Held annually on Earth Day, the Green Globe awards are an initiative of Life and Environment – the umbrella group for Israel’s 130 environmental organizations and NGOs. The location for this year’s event is particularly significant, as the park itself won a Green Globe 10 years ago, when it was in the planning stages, Life and Environment officials said.
“International Earth Day is a day to honor the courage and determination of environmental activists,” said Naor Yerushalmi, CEO of Life and Environment.
Dubbed the “Environmental Oscars” by Israel’s green activists, the Green Globe ceremony will be led by Channel 2 weatherman Dani Rupp and presided over by Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz.
Life and Environment will award Green Globes to winners in a number of categories, including business, local government, environmental struggle, volunteer environmental activism and environmental education. As is customary, a Black Globe will go to a cause that has been deemed threatening to Israel’s environment.
“I will talk a lot about our successes and how we empowered our grassroots organizations, and how we’ve influenced decision-making,” Yerushalmi said. “But the truth of the matter is that the challenges are enormous and it’s almost every day that we have not just a battle, but an enormous battle – things that will go on for years and things that will have strategic danger to the future of Israel.”
Meanwhile, Israel’s Earth Hour ceremony will take place at 8 p.m. on Monday in 26 cities and towns, as part of a nationwide effort to turn off the lights and conserve energy for an hour. While international Earth Hour officially fell on Saturday night, March 23, Israel’s environmentalists thought the Earth Day timing would be more fitting this year, particularly because the global hour coincided with the end of Shabbat and fell on the night before Passover eve when traditionally families are at home busy checking for vestiges of leaven.
Opening events for Israel’s Earth Hour will likewise be held at Ariel Sharon Park, attended by Peretz, Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom and Israel Electric Corporation chairman Yiftah Ran- Tal. A musical performance will take place and be simultaneously aired on Reshet Gimmel- 88FM. This is the sixth consecutive year that Israel has observed Earth Hour, the Life and Environment NGO said.
Other events to occur on Earth Day include a conference in Beersheba called “50 Shades of Green,” which will examine a variety of green space.
In addition, Jerusalem will host day two of the six-day First International Symposium on Green Pilgrimage.
In Haifa, the Kishon River Authority will host students from local schools for a day of sustainability studies, while the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot will hold a conclusion conference for its “Environmental Researchers” high school program, during which students involved in the project deemed “most excellent” will present their results.
A conference on promoting sustainable consumption will take place at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
The Israeli Institute for Energy and Environment will hold its fifth National Convention for Energy in Tel Aviv on Monday. While the conference includes many environmental speakers, the advocacy group Adam Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense) said the organizers provided insufficient voices representing environmental and public interests. The organization also said that the conference was almost entirely devoid of female voices, with only two women among the 36 speakers.
The student environmental group Green Course will send representatives to stand outside the conference, protesting the government’s plans to export large quantities of natural gas.
In the same city and in honor of the upcoming Tel Aviv-Yafo municipal elections, a new party, called Green Transformation in the City, that is to focus on integrating environmentally friendly practices into urban needs, will announce its launch on Monday morning.
Among its members will be representatives from the Green Movement and from the animal rights organization Let Animals Live.
On Tuesday, the Ashdod Sustainability Conference will take place, and the Jerusalem Green Pilgrimage Symposium will continue.