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20 Israelis leading the way out of the climate crisis – St. Louis Jewish Light
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20 Israelis leading the way out of the climate crisis – St. Louis Jewish Light

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A 120-member delegation from Israel recently joined world leaders in Glasgow, for the 2021 Summit. United Nations Climate Change Conference  (COP26). Many Israeli scientists, entrepreneurs as well as educators, clergy, and artists are working together to address the global climate crisis.

Beverly Goodman, University of Haifa marine scientist, said that it is essential to adopt a multidisciplinary approach.

“Solving the problems of climate change is not going to happen using any single approach. It’s going to require that everyone comes to the table with their strongest tools,” she tells ISRAEL21c.

“Israel’s State of Climate Tech 2021,” a fresh report from the Israel Innovation Authority and the Israel Innovation Institute’s PLANETechThe community includes 1,200 companies that are developing technologies that could reduce climate change in areas such agriculture, clean energies, mobility and transport as well as water infrastructure and other proteins.


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20 Climate leaders

Below, we present you to some of Israel’s most outstanding minds working on this pressing issue. Some are in Glasgow this week to participate or observe. We present them alphabetically, each with an action message or mission.

Yosef Aramowitz. Photo by Nicole Kaplan

Yosef “Kaptain Sunshine” Abramowitz He pioneered the development of solar fields in Israel and is an advocate for equal access to renewable energy. He is an investor who has made an impact on the world. Gigawatt Global, a renewable energy developer in Africa and other emerging markets. Energiya Global Capital,  Gigawatt’s partner in Jerusalem.

12 African countries nominated Abramowitz to receive the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. CNN named him as a Green Pioneer for 2012. He was part of the Israeli delegation that negotiated at the Paris Climate Conference.

“The climate crisis is a threat to our way of life, our food and water security, our national security, and our economy. We [in Israel]We don’t have an open and free energy market, and especially not for renewable energy. This is our greatest strategic threat. Israel could be a world leader in agrivoltaics — dual use of existing farmland to generate renewable energy. We could be the first country that can be 100% solar day and night using only 10% of our land. Israel should become a world center for expertise and implementation of agrivoltaics.”

Dr. Tareq Ab Hamed, executive Director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. Photo courtesy Arava Institute

Tareq Abu Hamed The new executive director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, which offers accredited academic programmes, research centers, and international cooperation initiatives that focus on environmental challenges.

In 2008, Abu Hamed established the institute’s Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation. In 2013, he served as the Israeli Ministry of Science’s deputy chief scientist, and later as acting chief scientist, becoming the highest-ranking Palestinian in the Israeli government.

“The pressing environmental challenges faced by the Middle East are transboundary, as water, air, flora and fauna are shared by the different countries regardless of the ongoing political conflict. Therefore, cooperation in solving these challenges for mitigating and adapting to climate change is essential.”

Prof. Ori Adam is the academic head of Hebrew University’s Climate Science Center. Photo courtesy Hebrew University

Prof. Ori Adams heads the Hebrew University Climate Science Center (HUCS) and is a senior lecturer at the university’s Institute of Earth Sciences.

HUCS is constructing the first Israeli climate model, uniquely tailored to the Middle East, to provide reliable and actionable information for the region’s climate mitigation efforts.

“Climate change affects each region in a unique way. In order to reduce pollution and emissions globally, mitigation must be focused at the state and regional levels. First, we need to focus our efforts on producing reliable and useful information. This information is not available at the moment. Only then can we devise technological solutions to mitigate the unavoidable additional warming expected in coming decades.”

Prof. Ofira Ayalon. Photo by Karnit Yahav

Prof. Ofira AyalonThe former director of the Israel Climate Change Information Center.

She heads both the Environment & Energy Cluster at Samuel Neaman Institute, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and the department of natural resources and environmental management at the University of Haifa.

“Planet Earth’s hourglass is running out fast. The point at which climate adverse effects are not returning is fast approaching. A joint effort of countries, organizations, investors, innovators, entrepreneurs, NGOs and all humankind to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and take the crucial measures to adapt to these effects, is compulsory.”

Gidon Bromberg (cofounder and Israel Director at EcoPeace Middle East), Photo courtesy EcoPeace

Gidon Brombergcofounded EcoPeace Middle EastThe, which brings together Jordanians and Palestinians to create shared water solutions and has been its Israel director since 1997.

Bromberg is a trained attorney and has presented before the UN Security Council and UN Climate Summit, the US Congress, the European Parliament, and other international forums about the relationship between water and peace in the Middle East.

“Conflict in the Middle East is a problematic situation made even more desperate by the climate crisis. That’s why EcoPeace introduced the Green Blue Deal — to create shared solutions in key areas, including energy, water, investment and education. By working together, a coalition of the willing is changing mindsets, fostering healthy interdependencies, and building a framework for peace.”

Dr. David Dunetz

David DunetzHe teaches about sustainability and climate change. He founded and directed the Green Schools Network. He is the head of education at The Heschel Center for Sustainability,  where he directed the Climate Change Project and is now establishing the first Climate Citizens Assembly in Israel.

“As [Canadian climate activist-author] Naomi Klein has written, ‘to change everything we need everyone.’ Meeting the huge challenge of climate change requires us to transform our lives and relationships — and that is at the same time the thrilling opportunity to get things right, to work to build a more just, humane, life-affirming society.”

Beverly Goodman-Tchernov

Beverly Goodman-TchernovChairs the marine gesciences department in University of Haifa’s Charney School of Marine Sciences.

She uses clues from sand, mud and soil to understand how climate is changing, how the environment is affected, how humans have interacted with these changes in the past and what we might expect in the future – for example, how increased storminess and coastal erosion could make disasters such as tsunamis more dangerous.

“I’m trying to analyze and assess conditions in remote places — the bottom of the ocean, coastlines, the Dead Sea – to understand how even in these places that seem untouchable we are changing the chemistry and composition of the most basic parts of this planet through our use of plastics, through all the ways we want inexpensive solutions for our day-to-day lives but don’t truly understand how costly and expensive this is going to be in the long term.”

Carmel Horowitz in Iceland. Photo by Doron Horowitz

Carmel HorowitzA 3D animator, Jeremy, launched a grassroots advocacy campaign called Climate-Ecological Emergency HeadquartersTo encourage Israel to achieve more ambitious climate goals.

He also posts videos, infographics, digital paintings and photos on YouTube. Facebook “to educate and inspire people everywhere to change themselves and their environment.”

“As concerned citizens who listen to top climate scientists, we realized that wishful thinking won’t close the immense gap between current climate plans and what actually needs to be done to save our future. I create digital environment art because I want people care. If you don’t care, you don’t act. And it’s hard to care because the problem is so big it’s hard to grasp.”

Maya Jacobs is CEO of Zalul. Photo by Dormalka

Maya JacobsCEO of Zalul,  one of Israel’s most influential environmental NGOs. She speaks on environmental issues at conferences and media. Her background includes media consulting, strategy, lobbying, public affairs, and media consulting. Lady Globes magazine named her one the top 20 Israeli activist women in 2019

“As we did with the immediate response to Covid-19, everyone, from all scopes of life, must do everything within their power NowStop the escalation and deterioration of climate change while you still have time. We don’t have time for halfway solutions and for greenwash. We must make a difference in many areas: stop using fossil fuels, move to clean public transport, change urban planning and stop using disposable plastic. Nevertheless, there is room for optimism, from creating new jobs, investments and opportunities to the impact people, companies and organizations gain from joining the international fight to secure a healthier and safer world.”

Dr. Paul Kamoun. Photo courtesy JCT

Prof. Paul Kamoun  heads the space technology and remote sensing laboratory at Jerusalem College of Technology.

He uses satellite imagery for climate change research and to quantify the natural and manmade causes.

“We are not able to say that the contribution of man to global warming is exactly this or that. If we had that data in our hands, all the countries of the world would more likely reach a consensus about what to do.”

Dov Khenin speaks at the Knesset in 2019, Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Dov Khenin, a former legislator, heads Tel Aviv University’s Change of Direction initiative that proposes policy aims for Israel in energy, transportation, agriculture, food, urban planning and education. He is also the head of the Israeli Climate Forum.

“Climate change creates a genuine emergency, around the world and in Israel. Scientists tell us that there are still opportunities for change. Israel can and must participate in the global effort to improve the world’s technological innovation and social solutions. These changes can also improve our daily lives, here and now.”

Uriel Klar, director at PLANETech at Israel Innovation Institute. Photo courtesy PLANETech

Uriel KlarDirects the PLANETechIsrael Innovation Institute’s community promotes the development and application of climate-change technologies. It also functions as a network to support the Israeli and global ecosystems in this field.

An environmental engineer, Klar’s specialty is connecting technology, business and environmental missions to solve climate change challenges. He started an environmental research venture, created an air pollution technology startup and established global partnerships in a multinational drinking water company.

“Israel is a global leader in climate tech, with 1,200 companies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Israel and around the world. Startups that fight climate change will build a new generation of unicorns in Israel.”

Prof. Noga Krunfeld-Schor is the chief scientist of Ministry of Environmental Protection. Photo by Yael Zürich

Prof. Noga Kronfeld-SchorHe is the chief scientist of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and a researcher at Tel Aviv University’s School of Zoology.

Her research focuses on environmental physiology, the impact of light pollution and global warming on biodiversity, and human and environmental health.

“The third decade of this century is characterized by the understanding that for us and our children to lead healthy and equal lives, we need to take nature into consideration, and we need to protect it. Global warming is threatening life on the planet. We are only beginning to understand the consequences. It is necessary to conduct extensive research. We need to develop the ability to predict the broad effects of rising temperatures, ecologically, economically and socially, in order to develop ways and means to deal with them if possible.”

Dr. Doron Markel is the chief scientist at KKL-JNF. Photo courtesy KKL–JNF
Rabbi Yonatan Neil, director at the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development. Photo courtesy of ICSD

Doron Markelis the chief scientist of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), Israel’s largest environmental non-governmental organization. He represented KKLJNF in 2019’s 12th international Climate Change Conference in Cuba.

Since before Israel’s establishment, KKLJNF has been implementing innovative land management solutions. It is a network of international experts that promotes large-scale research projects and shares expertise to help Israel address climate and desertification issues that affect the welfare of the local population.

“KKL-JNF is now developing a Global Center for Combating the Climate Crisis. This international innovation centre will be responsible for creating technological solutions to fight climate change. We hope to foster an atmosphere of international cooperation to promote these advancements with Persian Gulf countries and other regional actors.”

Rabbi Yonatan Neil, director at the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development. Photo courtesy of ICSD

Rabbi Yonatan NerilDirected and founded The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development  and its Jewish Eco Seminars  branch.

He speaks about religion and climate change. He co-organized 12 interfaith conference on ecology and climate. Eco Bible: An Ecological Commentary.

“At a deeper level, to curb climate change we will need to shift from a consumer lifestyle to one that connects to nature and shows care and concern for all of God’s creation.”

Prof. Colin Price from Tel Aviv University. Photo by Noam Wind

Prof. Colin PriceHeads Center for Climate Change Action at Tel Aviv University and chairs the environmental studies department at the university’s Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.

“After 30 years of researching the science of climate change, it’s time to look for solutions to the crisis. We have just launched a new initiative at Tel Aviv University. centerTo focus on innovative solutions for the climate crisis.

“These solutions include not only technologies, but also out-of-the-box thinking about regulations, policy, regional security, finance, behavioral science, public health and more. The interdisciplinary approach is key to solving these urgent issues.”

Arik Rosenblum was the CEO of EcoOcean, a non-profit organization. Photo courtesy EcoOcean

Arik RosenblumThe CEO of the nonprofit organisation. EcoOcean  for seven years.

EcoOcean operates the Mediterranean Explorer research vessel and Megalim Education Center. It teaches Hebrew and Arabic to schoolchildren about protecting the coastal and marine environment. Its programs are focused on creating marine protected zones, fighting single-use plastic pollution, and maintaining sustainable beaches. EcoOcean’s national network of sea emergency volunteers helped clean up a disastrous tar spillFebruary

“We provide data proving climate change and its consequences. We educate the public, and we try to educate decision makers. And we lead activities which try to reduce the impact of climate change as well as try to protect nature’s biodiversity and humankind’s ability to protect itself from its own follies.”

Prof. Daniel Rosenfeld of Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Prof. Daniel RosenfeldThe Hebrew University of Jerusalem is a world-renowned expert on climate change and weather modification. He studies the broad climate impacts of air-pollution particles found in clouds.

Rosenfeld co-chaired and chaired both the American Meteorological Society’s weather modification committee and the committee on weather modifications. aerosol-cloud-precipitation climate international initiative.  The only Israeli author and lead author of the Sixth Assessment Report  of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he says humanity is responsible for global warming of 1.09 degrees Celsius (1.9 F) since the industrial revolution.

“Human-made emissions of particulate air pollution can offset part of the warming induced by emissions of greenhouse gases, by enhancing low-level clouds that reflect more solar radiation back to space. Predicting global warming requires a quantitative understanding of how cloud cover and water content are affected by human-made aerosols.”

Photo courtesy Dr. Richard H. Schwartz (author of Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World and Revitalising Judaism).

Prof. Richard H. Schwartz is president emeritus of Jewish VegAuthor of several books. Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World and Mathematics, and Global SurvivalAnd Who stole my religion? Revitalizing Judaism, Applying Jewish Values to Help Save Our Imperiled Planet.

“While everything possible must be done to avert the looming climate catastrophe, the best approach is a societal shift to plant-based diets. This would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions — with far fewer cows and other farmed animals emitting methane — and permit the planting of vegetation on the vast areas now used for grazing and raising feed crops for animals, thereby reducing the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide.”

Prof. Alon Tal. Photo by Gabriella Tal

Prof. Alon Tal He is a long-standing environmental activist, member in Knesset and professor of public policy at Tel Aviv University. He helped establish many organizations such as Adam Teva V’din, The Israel Union for Environmental Defense, the Arava Institute, EcoPeace and This is My Earth.

“Climate change is no longer a remote and vague concern, but a real and threatening reality. We are witnessing extreme rain events, floods, frequent fires. Droughts. It is also very hot days here in Israel. Around the world, many have long since observed that we are the first generation to feel the warming of the earth — and the last that is capable of doing something about it. We must all be part of the international solution. We can yet serve as a ‘light unto the nations’ — a light that is entirely powered by renewable energy.”

This article was originally published On Israel21c.orgIt is reproduced with permission. 

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