Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Edible Landscaping: The Fields of Tomorrow

GreenWall vertical garden
Vertical gardens, an idea that has already taken off in America, can enhance bare walls, built structures and fences, and can increase the overall beauty and enhance interior design of homes and office buildings.

Environmentalists say that vertical and city gardens are an answer to the global water, energy and food crises. Vertical gardens use up to 90 percent less water than do traditional gardens, and growing food in place saves on the enormous shipping costs in terms of fuel and greenhouse gases. The walls have an insulating effect, buffering indoor temperatures by as much as 50 degrees F. Plus, plants clean and circulate stale indoor air.

GreenWall, Israeli company founded in 2009 in Ramot Hashovim, builds gravity-defying vertical gardens that climb walls in or outside the home or office.

Vertical gardens are not unique to GreenWall. The world market for such products has grown rapidly to $100 million. But while anyone can find online instructions for building vertical gardens using found materials like shipping pallets, GreenWall offers some innovations.

First, the company incubates the “look and see” wall at its farm before installing it at the customer’s location. The systems incorporate technical know-how from Israeli drip-irrigation pioneer Netafim; and GreenWall has developed its monitors, sensors and controls in cooperation with Israeli water-monitoring company Galcon.

GreenWall  has installed about a hundred living walls in Israel. Homeowners can also buy wall gardens of only a few square yards in size; the price starts at $800.The client doesn’t need to have a green thumb - if a section fails to thrive or if the owner wants to refresh or change the design, GreenWall will plant new components.

Company customer list includes such high-profile clients as Apple, Google, Intel, and Facebook.

Visitors to the World Expo 2015 in Milan (Expo Milano) next May will see a 1,200-square-foot GreenWall outside Israel’s pavilion growing wheat, rice and corn in keeping with the expo’s theme, “Feeding the world.” The pavilion will show off the inventions of several Israeli agrotech companies.

Source: Israel21c

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Green Dome: Trees to Protect Southern Israel from Rockets

IDF soldier plants a tree
Israel is employing an environmentally-friendly security tactic against terrorists in the Gaza Strip: tree-planting.  According to a report by Israel HaYom, dozens of workers are busy planting tall, dense trees alongside a new section of train tracks near the Gaza strip.

Hamas video footage uncovered in Gaza by the IDF revealed that detailed Palestinian surveillance of an Israeli passenger train was shot from a mere few hundred yards away. Security officials assessed the new Ashkelon - Beer Sheba train line and determined that several areas of the track were exposed to Gaza rocket fire.

After consulting with experts, Israel Railways and the country’s Defense Ministry decided to plant several hundred trees, a tactic that will conceal the tracks from prying eyes, all without harming the environment.  This method is expected to be implemented elsewhere along the Gaza periphery as well.

The tree chosen for the task is the eucalyptus, which according to experts will provide the necessary cover: they are tall enough to shield residential areas and are quick to grow, supplying the needed protection in a short period of time. These trees will further contribute to growing the bee honey industry in the vicinity.

Source: Breaking Israel News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Israel's First Bio-Waste Power Facility

Bio waste
Blue Sphere Corp., a Wall Street OTC market-traded US company and the Environmental Services Company (ESC) will work together to establish a biogas facility to generate electricity from organic waste, primarily food leftovers. The facility will be built at the Neot Hovav Eco Industrial Park in the Negev, at an investment of NIS 100 million, and is expected to produce 5 megawatts of electricity and process more than one hundred thousand tons of organic waste per year.

This project is the first of its kind in Israel, and a first step in the Israeli government and Environmental Services Company's initiative to close the gap between Israel and other OECD countries in matters of waste recycling and the production of "green" energy.

The waste-treatment process at the facility will significantly reduce the annual volume of landfill waste, and will thus prevent soil contamination caused by the landfill process. The process will also make possible the production of clean energy as an alternative to oil and diesel, which are more expensive and more polluting materials.

According to the regulation for the production of energy from waste, the project will be eligible for a license to produce and provide electricity for Israel Electric Corporation. The license is for a 20-year period, and the Israel Electric Corporation will commit to buy the electricity that Blue Sphere produces.

Blue Sphere Corporation deals in development, management, and operation of projects to produce electricity from waste around the world, and manufactures biogas from organic waste. The Environmental Services Company is a government company, founded in 1990, which specializes in environmental projects including the biological treatment of contaminated soil and land rehabilitation.

Source: Globes

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Israel, The Promised Land for Vegans

Israel - Go Vegan!
Israelis are embracing veganism, to the point where even the army now has options for vegan soldiers.

As per Omri Paz, organizer of the Vegan Fest fair, 4% of Israelis define themselves as vegan, the most out of any country in the world.

Tel Aviv's Vegan Fest attracted 15,000 people in a day. The most popular stand was American company Domino's, which launched its vegan pizza in Israel, reportedly selling 300,000 of them so far.

Furthermore, Israel's Big Brother show recently became a platform to spread veganism when vegan activist Tal Gilboa took part and won.

Even Israel's army now offers leather-free boots and an allowance to buy vegan food outside of mess halls.

Meanwhile, Facebook is filled with Israeli vegan pages.

Kosher dietary laws, which prohibit mixing meat and dairy, make Israelis predisposed to a vegan diet.

Read more about it here.

Off to enjoy a vegan meal on this lovely evening, till next time!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Solar eTree That Keeps on Giving

First came the Solar Tree – solar artwork created in 2007 by Ross Lovegrove, a Welsh industrial designer.

Then came the Strawberry Tree, the world’s first public solar charger for mobile devices developed in 2010 by Serbian company Strawberry Energy.

This October, Israeli company Sologic installed its first eTree in the Ramat Hanadiv Memorial Gardens and Nature Park near Haifa. It provides a shady LED-lit place to sit, an unlocked Wi-Fi connection, four USB ports for phone charging, and a chilled drinking water fountain whose wastewater then drains into a ground-level water bowl for pets.

The energy produced from the solar panels activates a camera and LCD screen display providing visitors with weather information as well as educational and environmental content. The LCD screen allows for communication between eTrees planted in different locations around the world.

An eTree costs between $15,000 and $150,000, depending on the number of branches. The most deluxe models will be able to produce up to 50 liters of water per day by harvesting the humidity in the atmosphere.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Israel, Finland And U.S. Are Top Countries For Clean Technology

Blooming flower with star of David
Israel was recently listed by a cleantech index as having the world's most vibrant clean-technology industry, ripe for producing viable startups to commercialize sustainable innovation over the next decade.

Produced by Cleantech Group and World Wildlife Fund, the index ranked forty nations based on both the development of clean technology and the creation of market demand for that technology.

A powerful combination of government funding and venture capital support secured Israel the top spot for its high impact cleantech startups. Despite cleantech revenues being low in Israel, supportive government policies for the technology have increased.

Per the report, Israel scored so high due to its culture of innovation. Israel is able to compensate for its small domestic market, sensitive geopolitical setting and water constraint by drawing the attention of both local and foreign investors to bet on its pool of high-tech entrepreneurs," the report stated.

Relative to the size of its economy, Israel has a large number of cleantech companies, some of which treat industrial wastewater, while others develop non-GMO breeding technologies.

As finite resources diminish, the world will increasingly depend on high-tech industries to share and reuse these resources globally.

Read more about it here.

Off to enjoy a little bit of green time at the local park, till next time!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Israel To Host World's Largest Vegan Festival

Girl with a fruit basket
On October 13 at Leumi Park in Ramat Gan from noon to 11pm, Israel will host the world's largest vegan festival! Approximately 15,000 people are expected at Vegan Fest, will feature 100 food stalls, top musicians, celebrity guests and a full roster of speakers including Prof. Richard Schwartz, president of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America.

Per the latest statistics, Israel has the largest percentage of vegans per capita in the world, approximately 4% of the population, or about 300,000 people, in addition to 560,000 vegetarians. Previous festivals focusing on veganism and animal rights were a great success.

This year's festival is expected to outshine previous similar festivals, complete with major corporate sponsors like Domino's Pizza, who launched their vegan pizza in Israel.

Israeli reality star Tal Gilboa, who won Israel's 2014 "Big Brother" is vegan and has greatly influenced Israeli viewers to reconsider their eating habits.

Similar vegan festivals in other nations attracted a much smaller number of participants, but Israel is quickly becoming the world's first vegan nation, with vegan menus and vegan options appearing in restaurants all over the country.

The festival will be taking place during Sukkot and will feature a sukkah in the park, along with various kids' activities, free yoga and pilates, and plant powered food samples.

Read more about it here

Off to enjoy a vegan meal of my own, till next time!


Monday, September 29, 2014

Israel Becomes First Country To Ban Horse Drawn Carts

horse-drawn cart
Israel has become the first country in the world to ban horse-drawn and donkey-drawn carts. These carts had “no place in a modern country like Israel,” said officials at the Israeli-based animal rights organization, HaKol Chai.

The campaign against the use of horse-drawn and donkey-drawn carts was launched over a decade ago by HaKol Chai, which means “Everything Lives.” HaKol Chai is the sister organization of the US-based organization Concern for Helping Animals. The newly approved regulation materialized from a HaKol Chai appeal to the Transportation Ministry and mayors throughout the country, as well as the Tel Aviv-Jaffa City Council.

The ban prohibits peddlers from using horses or donkeys to pull carts full of repurposed second-hand items. Peddlers used to navigate through the city streets collecting residents’ garbage, including anything from appliances to clothing and furniture, presumably for resale, scrap metal or junking. While some environmentalists praised the reuse of old items, animal rights activists argued that the horses were paying the price.

The committee did make an exception for animal-drawn carts used for tourist purposes, on condition the animals receive proper care and their health does not suffer from being used..  There is a concern that this loophole in Israel’s new ban may still be exploited by peddlers who might pretend to be transporting tourists. Activists argue that it would be in everyone’s better interest if pickup trucks or rickshaws were substituted for horse-drawn, and donkey-drawn carts, and carriages.

“Just as the alte zachen [“old things” in Yiddish] vendors can switch to pickup trucks, those who use carriages for tourist purposes can switch to an open car or rickshaw, without interfering with traffic or causing animals to suffer,” said Yossef Wolfson,  a lawyer representing Israel-based animal rights NGO Let Animals Live (Tnu Lahayot L'hiyot).

Regardless of whether the ban is foolproof, it is certainly a step in the right direction. “Israel became the first country in the world to make a nation-wide ban on the use of horse-drawn and donkey-drawn carts in streets and highways. Many researchers proved that there is a direct connection between violence toward animals and violence toward people,” said Reut Reshef, HaKol Chai’s representative in Israel. “The decision taken today is an important landmark in the process of revolutionizing society and making the world more compassionate.”

Source: Haaretz

Off to cuddle with my own animal friends, till next time!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Israeli Startup Offers “Tow” To Space Junk and Lost Satellites

Passing through our planet's orbit has become a challenge due to the ominous presence of space junk, which can throw satellites out of orbit. However, satellites that have been tossed out can now get a ride back into position thanks to an Israeli startup.

Effective Space Solutions, an Israeli startup, has developed a robotic space tow truck and is now in talks with manufacturers. It expects to launch within two years.

Inventors at Effective Space Solutions aim to help satellites reposition if they've gone off course. Currently, there are two stranded Galileo Project satellites and Effective Space Solutions seeks to bring them back on course.

Read more about it here

Off to gaze at the stars in space, till next time!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hovering Sky Cars Are Coming to Tel Aviv!

In a bid to reduce congested automobile traffic, skyTran and Israel Aerospace Industry have teamed up to create Judy Jetson-style sky cars using magnetic levitation technology.

The idea of installing sky cars over Israel has been considered for quite some time, the idea being that elevated traffic reduces pollution and congestion from traditional automobiles.

Each of the cars can hold two people and travel up to 45 mph. Once testing proves successful, they will likely be able to travel at much faster speeds. Users will be able to call up a car from their smart phones.

The system should be ready for testing in Tel Aviv in 2015, with future systems likely to be set up in India, USA, and France.

Read all about it here

Off to enjoy a beautiful Summer Sunday, till next time!


Monday, March 24, 2014

Meatless Monday Thrives in Israel

Meatless Monday Campaign's Initiator Miki Haimovich
The Meatless Monday campaign led in Israel by former news anchor Miki Haimovich has proven to be quite successful. Recently published figures show that 20.8% of Israelis have adopted the initiative since it was launched one year ago. This reduced consumption of meat in Israel contributes to the quality of the environment and is the equivalent of taking 20,000 vehicles off Israel's roads.

Many workplaces have joined the Meatless Monday initiative in the past year. Intel, HP, Motorola, the Electric Corp in Haifa, some of Teva's offices and a variety of kibbutzim are among them.

The Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv has joined the Meatless Monday initiative presenting vegetarian dishes aimed at making the hospital's patients and staff forget about meat products. The Sourasky Medical Center is not the first hospital to adopt the campaign. It was preceded by Assuta and Bnai Zion, but it is definitely the biggest hospital to join, and the first to implement it in patients' menus as well.

Three municipalities have adopted a city council resolution to promote the campaign: Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva, and Modiin.

Health Minister Yael German has announced that in light of the initiative's success, she is considering incorporating the idea into the entire health system.

Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz has declared Meatless Monday a state flagship project which will help advance environmental protection. In addition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara have adopted the Meatless Monday initiative at the prime minister's official residence.

As part of its support, the Environmental Protection Ministry has launched a new radio campaign explaining why it is important to reduce meat consumption.

Source: Ynetnews

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Israel is Going Vegan Crazy, Holds First Vegan Congress!

Vegan Israel
When it comes to veganism and vegan-friendly culture, Israel is leading the pack while the rest of the world struggles to keep up. Initially, the big story was that the Domino's Pizza chain opted to present its vegan pizza option in Israel. Domino's vegan pizza is not available anywhere else on earth. And now, Israel hosted over 600 people in its first ever Vegan Congress on March 7th of this year.

After discussing matters at the Congress, members of the Vegan-Friendly group plan to drive a “Vegan-Mobile” around the country. They’ll park at a different major city each month to screen videos about veganism and offer various activities for people to learn about the health, environmental, and animal-welfare benefits of maintaining a plant-based diet.

Also, the group plans to have a vegan barbecue (or mangal) on Israel Independence Day as well as a Shavout festival, traditionally associated with eating dairy foods, without cheese. Israelis came out in droves for the last festival: about 10,000 strong.

In addition to discussions about grand plans of furthering the vegan frenzy in Israel, a barbecue for Israel's Independence Day celebration and a vegan mobile, offering information and activities related to veganism as it drives from city to city in Israel were planned with exuberance.

Israeli vegans seek to focus on the positive side of veganism as opposed to the oft cited violence and gore commonly used among vegan groups to steer people away from animal-centric diets.

Israel just might be the easiest country in the world to be vegan.

Read more about it here

Off to enjoy a vegan meal of my own, till next time!


Friday, January 31, 2014

Israel Goes Vegan!

Israel - the First Vegan Nation?
Israeli Chef and food writer Ori Shavit made the switch from meat eater to vegan a few years ago. Since then, she has become the face of the vegan revolution in Israel, running a popular vegan website Vegans on Top, making media appearances, and publishing articles on the subject. The growing dietary trend in Israel is driven by concerns about health, the environment, and animal welfare.

"If you have been told all your life that you have to eat three dairy products per day, and then you see an exposé about what’s really going on in the dairy industry – or in slaughterhouses or the egg industry — you will realize the lies you’ve been told about your health and animal treatment. Then you can make a real choice.," Shavit says.

Israel is leading the vegan revolution around the world, with vegan restaurants popping up all over the country, taking veganism from a small movement for hippies into a mainstream cultural shift.

By comparison, approximately 3.2% Americans don't eat meat vs. 13% of Israelis. An additional 13% of Israelis are considering going vegan or vegetarian.

Shavit often gets requests from restaurants to help them develop animal-free menu options.

“Restaurants are putting vegan dishes on the menu and marking those dishes so they are easy to find, so as a customer I will feel welcomed and normal. What is going on here is really remarkable. I don’t think this took hold so quickly and intensely in any other place in the world,” Shavit observed.

One of several options is Legume Salad — bulgur, lentils, quinoa and baked sweet potato cubes with cucumber, tomato, pepper, onion, parsley and mint, seasoned with olive oil, lemon and date syrup and served with bread and tahini.

Shavit offers an English-language restaurant guide on where to find such dishes because “Israel today is a destination for vegan tourists,” she says. “The next thing should be promoting veganism in hotel chains, and I am working on this.”

While Israelis lag behind the rest of the world in meat substitutes, vegan tahini, hummus, and falafel are staples in Israeli cuisine.

Read more about it here.

Off for a yummy vegan meal, till next time!


P.S. Ori Shavit at TEDxHiriya (in English)

Monday, January 20, 2014

72% of Israelis Favor a Ban on Recreational Hunting

A Deer in the Grass
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) commissioned a survey about Israelis' attitudes toward hunting and found that 72% of the Israeli public favors a prohibition on hunting.

This figure and other results of the survey were presented to the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environmental Committee in early January. On the table is a proposed amendment to the Wildlife Protection Law that would ban recreational hunting. Government support for the amendment has already been approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on June 30 of last year.

Currently, Israel has a legal hunting season from September through January. Hunting in Israel is much less popular than it is in the United States and Europe. Approximately 2,400 people are registered as hunters in Israel, which represents less than 0.3% of Israeli society. Corresponding numbers for the United States and European Union are approximately 4.4% and 1.4%.

A clear majority of survey respondents felt that Israel should increase enforcement against those who injure or poison wildlife. SPNI calls on decision makers to advance this legislation.

Read more about it here.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, till next time!