air pollution 390.
(photo credit: Thinkstock)
A new environmental project that examines the country’s consumption trends for
the past two decades and outlines potential outcomes and solutions for the next
two is asking that the public actively participate in its work.
project, called Sustainability Outlook for Israel 2030 (Kayamut 2030), was the
joint initiative of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies’ Environmental
Policy Center and the Environmental Protection Ministry in October 2010, and
aims to ask critical questions about Israel’s future and devise methods for the
country’s path toward sustainability, according to the Jerusalem think
The project, which has involved individual studies and workshop
participation by environmental experts all over the country, is slated for
completion by June.
“We’re looking for the big theme – we’re looking for
the concept of where we might be going, and it might not necessarily be the same
as in the past 20 years,” Valerie Brachya, director of the Environmental Policy
Center and an external lecturer for the Hebrew University’s Department of
Geography, told The Jerusalem Post.
One reason for conducting the project
is that environmental issues are no longer simply a matter of “green” concern,
but entail changes in consumption patterns, according to project officials. Such
sentiments were also key components of January’s World Economic Forum Annual
Meeting in Davos- Klosters, where the issues discussed included climate change,
carbon neutrality, water and urban sustainability, the think tank
During the earliest stage of the project, participants
identified 12 indicators from the past two decades that they felt were behind
many of the environmental trends that have taken root since. Among these
indicators were sulfur oxide, nitrous oxide and greenhouse gas emissions,
presence of particulate matter, groundwater salinity, open space,
transportation, urban waste and water and energy consumption, according to the
From the indicators, the researchers created scenarios for the
future – including a “business as usual” scenario and six alternatives:
regulated market, regulated fortress state, communal mosaic, unregulated market,
unregulated fortress state and evolving state.
The researchers then
created nine strategies for action, which would be suitable for most of the
“If you are trying to promote a strategy for the long-term
future, it has to be an appropriate strategy in a wide range of possible
circumstances,” Brachya said.
The nine strategies are promoting
innovation; calculating risk; employing nonmaterial values in determining social
status; strengthening communities; expanding the concept of security to include
social and environmental security; encouraging the dispersal of the population
to peripheral areas; promoting leadership that takes responsibility for future
generations; advocating for long-term approaches that integrate economy, society
and environment; and development assessment systems that take into account
environment, well-being and resilience.
By employing these strategies and
others, the country can come closer to achieving a vision of sustainability,
according to Brachya.
“We see it as an ongoing process that should be
created and recreated and improved and revised,” she said.
As such, she
continued, she and her colleagues at the Environmental Policy Center hope the
public will log on to the Outlook’s website to read all of the documents the
researchers have prepared, and then send feedback to the organization before the
final draft of the project is created.
“We felt that the materials being
prepared during the process were at least as important as the materials after
the completion of the process,” Brachya explained.
“We were deliberately
trying to create an awareness that something was going on and not wait until the
end, when it was too late.”
While she doesn’t expect the government to
immediately adopt all of the measures the Outlook suggests, Brachya does hope
that individual ministries and Knesset members will be able to reflect on the
data presented and employ the strategies in their decisions.
Environment Ministry itself will hopefully take the lead in generating and
promoting this process by promoting it and putting it on the table,” she said.