Just Another Day For The Environment?

We should have mentioned this earlier, but didn't because the idea kind of made us yawn. Earlier this month, on July 17, members of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) declared the date to be "Environment Day". There was no mention of this being an annual affair, mind you, and we wonder why they just didn't get to their green business on Earth Day. No matter. According to the Jerusalem Post, a series of "green" motions were passed as part of the day dedicated to environmental causes.

A report titled "Greenifying the Knesset," focused on issues of recycling and waste management, energy and water conservation, ecological gardening, and sustainable transportation solutions was presented by leaders of the Knesset Socio-Environmental caucus, together with environmental student organization Green Course. The plan laid out the basic principals we learned in a Canadian elementary school - like 80 years ago - on the three R's: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. However some new ideas came about when participants looked at how parliamentary houses in other countries made their buildings more environmentally friendly.

There is this funny thing about Israeli society — most visible among the Tel Aviv community (the business hub of the country) — that it so much wants to be a copycat of something, somewhere else in the world. Go to a bar in Tel Aviv and the owner will swear it's just like New York; a café where everyone will tell you that it feels like London ... and so on.

We tip our hats to the news that Israeli diplomats will soon be driving hybrid cars in the US; but what about over here in Israel? Is President Shimon Peres (our new neighbor) driving a hybrid; what about Prime Minister Ehud Olmert or the Foreign Office's Tsipi Livni? We are not asking facetiously, just curious to know.

We think that it's high time for the Israeli government to set its own trends, instead of sadly lagging behind other developed countries. And Israel does have a lot of strengths to offer, mainly in the areas of agriculture and clean technology.

"The Knesset now has a historic opportunity to become one of the leading parliaments in the world in the field of environmental protection," said Michael Melchior from the Labor party.

"Israel must realize that global warming is no less dangerous than any other security threat facing this country," said Environmental Protection Minister Gideon Ezra, speaking before a nearly-empty chamber.

Sigh. ::Jerusalem Post