Sustainability and Equity in a Desert Environment: The Case of Israel
- The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
For two thousand years, a litany of conquerors largely exploited the land of Israel and left it eroded, deforested, and extremely impoverished. The advent of Jewish settlement at the start of the twentieth century was catalyzed by a Zionist ideology that was extremely aggressive in its approach to economic development. The initial results were mixed. On the one hand, a massive afforestation initiative began a remarkable ecological restoration process and public health improved dramatically. But there was also massive damage to water resources, habitat loss, and extreme industrial pollution.
During the past decade, several strategic changes in the country's environmental policies have been adopted, although there are still many issues which remain unaddressed. This lecture will offer a summary of where Israel's environment has been and where it needs to go if the Holy Land is to be preserved for future generations.
This event is made possible by a grant from MASA as part of an ongoing partnership with Arizona State University.