Now that the Christmas shopping spree is over, and Channukah's wild nights of gorging jelly-filled doughnuts finished, here's the latest in dumb "green" gifts for the holidays. This time we go all the way to the Holy Land for this little treasure: a plastic encased turd of donkey dung. My friend James from Green Prophet, reports: "The Christmas season in Europe is often silly season for the world's media outlets, when they outdo each other to find the strangest, weirdest and oddball news story to give people an extra sparkle to their celebrations."
He continues, "Strange shaped vegetables, or bagels that bleed are the sort of stories that crop up. Despite the crisis in the South of Israel, the BBC managed to find its own silly and strange story in the Holy Land, close to the Galil. Dung, from horses, donkeys and cattle, has for many centuries and across many countries and cultures, been used both as a fuel for heat and as a fertiliser for agriculture."
I've read that burning animal waste is actually not so hot for the environment, but according to James, it is green: "This is one of the most basic, and successful, forms of recycling that there is," he says. "Reusing animal waste, which is generally made up of green plant matter, is extremely green. So green that many herders collect it as an essential item, and might look at you strangely if you commented on it!"
Menachem Goldberg, the man who runs a visitors' centre at Kedem, and who is featured in the above video, has come up with the idea of preserving pieces of donkey dung within a plastic cube. The cube is inscribed with holy writings from the Talmud, apparently.
I'd be interested to hear what the rabbis have to say about this one.
Mr. Goldberg says that the idea came to him from the Talmudic phrase: "Let the Messiah come...may I be worthy to sit in the shadow of his donkey's dung."
Hmmm. We'll ponder that one for a while.