Middle East Environmentalism: Blogging for the Environment


Blog Action Day: Blogging for the Environment

The first rain of the winter is falling in the Negev. Nothing is more beautiful than water in the desert. Its presence honors Blog Action Day in which bloggers all around the world write about the environment.

Despite all that divides us, the natural resources of the Middle East are our common bounty. This entry honors those organizations who work together, beyond geopolitical differences, to protect the environment which is our heritage and our legacy.

Environmental Issues in the Middle East

Twenty-one countries belong to the World Bank’s Middle East/North Africa Group, and we are all facing common environmental issues:

  • Water scarcity and quality
  • Land and coastal degradation and desertification
  • Urban and industrial pollution
  • Weak institutional and legal framework in which to establish and enforce environmental regulations

Environmental Coexistence Organizations

I am aware that this is an incomplete list and welcome additions to it. Notably, this list does not include the work of Israeli universities who have many joint environmental research projects with their neighbors.

Arava Institute for Environmental Studies

“The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies is the premier environmental teaching and research program in the Middle East, preparing future Arab and Jewish leaders to cooperatively solve the region’s environmental challenges.”

Bridging the Rift Center

Bridging the Rift is a joint Israeli-Jordanian center researching the ecology of the Dead Sea. Founded in 2004 by Matt Kochavi, who hopes that science will form a “common language” between the researchers, the center collaborates with Stanford and Cornell Universities.

Ecopeace/ Friends of the Earth Middle East

Ecopeace brings together Israelis, Jordanians, and Palestinians to promote sustainable regional development. It is a member of Friends of the Earth International, the largest grassroots environmental organization in the world.

Global Nature Fund/ Living Lakes

The Global Nature Fund is an international organization founded to protect the environment, with a special eye to species preservation and sustainable development. Its Israeli branch focuses on the Dead Sea, which is rapidly evaporating leaving sink holes and raw salted desert in its wake.

Heschel Center for Environmental Leadership

“The Heschel Center is dedicated to building a sustainable future for Israeli society- environmentally, socially and economically- through education and reflective activism.”

Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture, and Sustainable Development

The MIO-ECDSE is a federation of Mediterranean non-governmental organizations that gathers periodically to address environmental issues in the region, including water, agriculture, energy, climate change, tourism, and environmental education.

Middle East Environmental Futures Project

The MEEF Project of Brown University seeks “innovative scientific solutions” to environmental problems. Collaborating researchers hail from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Tunisia, and Morocco. Says one Israeli researcher: “We realized that if we wait for the fighting to end, then we’ll wait forever.”

I will praise the day when the nations of the Middle East join together in robes and sandals, suits and ties to discuss the protection of our common resources.

Israeli Environmental Organizations

Although not the focus of this blog entry, I can’t help but list the names of Israeli organizations working on behalf of the environment. More information about them can be found on the website of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL).

Again, this may not be a list that includes every resource, but I welcome your education and additions.

The COEJL includes:

Adam Teva v’Din: the Israeli Union for Environmental Defense; Alma: the Association for Environmental Quality; the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (see above); Council for a Beautiful Israel; Ecopeace: Friends of the Earth Middle East (see above); For Bicycles; Green Action; Greenpeace Mediterranean; Greencourse; Heschel Center for Environmental Learning (see above); the Israel Economic Forum for the Environment; the Israel Green Party; the Israeli-Palestinian Center for Research and Information; the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; the Jewish Environmental Network; the Jewish National Fund; Kibbutz Lotan; Life and Environment; the Ministry of the Environment; Neot Kedumim; New Israel Fund; the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel; and Teva Adventure Israel

Additional Jewish organizations not included in the Coalition that you might be interested in are:

Adam v’Adamah; the Green Environmental Fund; Hazon; the Jewish Global Environmental Network; the Jewish Nature Center; the National Partnership for the Environment; the Shalom Institute for Camping and Conference Center; the Teva Learning Center; and Torah Treks

Links of Interest

  • YNetNews on Israeli environmentalism
  • “Hillel, JCPA Focus on Environment with ‘Carbon-Neutral’ Conferences”
  • “The Greening of Hadassah: Group Pushes the Environment”
  • “Synagogues Go Green”
  • “Tips to Help Make Synagogues More Environmentally Friendly”
  • “US Style Eco-Advocacy in Israel”
  • Working Group on the Environment’s Mission to the Middle East: recommendations for environmental cooperation among Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, and Jordan
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    11 Responses to Middle East Environmentalism: Blogging for the Environment

    1. Zalul says:

      Be sure to visit Zalul Environmental Association of Israel too (www.zalul.org.il) and our blog (http://zalul.wordpress.com). We are an environmental nonprofit dedicated to protecting and maintaining the seas and rivers in Israel.

    2. thenewjew says:

      Thanks for adding your name and URLs. I am very glad to know about your organization and the important work you are doing.

      Maya Norton

    3. […] “Middle East Environmentalism: Blogging for the Environment” (Blog Action Day post) […]

    4. […] here to learn more about Israeli and Middle Eastern environmentalism and the current state of the environment in […]

    5. Paul Tarry says:

      Hi My name is Mr. Paul Tarry I have a need for environmental project funding as I have a new technology that can water proof and salt proof sand. I have a full business plan and all Dubai Municipality approvals and test results done by Nakheel . I have a project on 140 sq Kms in the New Jebel Ali Airport. Dubai I would like to know if someone can contact me to set up a meeting in to review what I have, as this technology will change the way the the Middle east and Mena region managers and conserve water and waste water (STP) as this would all be underground working from below the surface. Please contact me on my mobile number
      in Dubai UAE, 00 971 55 686 7725 and forward an e-mail to the above e-mail at worthinvesting@yahoo.com. and I well forward a presentation and fulldetail for your review. I hope that someone can look at what I have got to help the environment not only in this region but also all over the world. I like what your group is doing and I would like also to promote it on our web site with your approval.

    6. […] “Middle East Environmentalism: Blogging for the Environment” – learn more about Israeli environmental NGOs […]

    7. […] “Middle East Environmentalist: Blogging for the Environment” (Blog Action Day 2007):  comprehensive review of nonprofit environmental organizations in Israel and the Middle East […]

    8. […] “Middle East Environmentalism: Blogging for the Environment” […]

    9. […] “Middle East Environmentalism: Blogging for the Environment” (Blog Action Day 2007) […]

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