Environmentalism in Israel

First of all, I would like to commend both UVM Hillel and its Israeli guests for putting the Israel forum together. However, I disagree with the impression that the speakers seem to have made regarding Israel’s “environmental ethic.” While Israel is not Vermont or the Pacific Northwest, there has been tremendous progress within the educational system in creating environmental awareness. Over the past 2 to 3 years, there has been new legislation and strong support for renewable energy development and energy efficiency technologies – for domestic consumption – after years of implementation abroad. While recycling has not become a habit in many Israeli communities, it is no longer regarded as an activity of the “green” fringe. As the guests pointed out, the main barrier to faster progress has been national budget priorities – fighting the terror war takes precedence over quality-of-life concerns. The progress made despite that war has been truly impressive. As a former Burlingtonian working in the energy/environmental sector in Israel, I hope this letter begins to set the record straight. I invite interested UVMers to come to Israel and see the progress being made. There is no revolutionary Act 250-type legislation here, but there are a lot of small steps in the right direction.