By: Andrew Lee
In Jerusalem, most of the trees are slightly yellowed and fragile. Basically, the trees look like they are constantly clinging onto life. The heat and dry climate certainly have something to do with this! However, last weekend I did the Yam-to-Yam hike, from the Mediterranean sea to the Sea of Galilee, and I truly came to understand that Israel cradles three ecological zones. Past Rosh Hanikra, towards the Sea of Galilee, the land becomes much more lush and green. In a way, it reminds me of the boreal forests of Ontario — yet it was much more dynamic. Rather than being primarily one type of forest, as we walked closer towards the Sea of Galilee, the land would slowly shift. From rocky terrain flanked by mountains, to lush landscapes with water spouting from the ground in such a small piece of land (compared to Canada) — it was truly mindboggling. I never would have expected to experience such biodiversity in Israel.
Andrew Lee is a Canadian student currently studying in Israel.
The switch that Netanyahu and Edelstein symbolically flipped for this day of conserving energy is located near the entrance of the Knesset, beside Edelstein’s office.
Earth Day encourages people around the world to switch off lights for one hour beginning at 8 pm to stress awareness of conserving the planet.
The international Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) competition, held in Denmark, has begun taking entries, and is now also open to Israeli teens.
The contest means to encourage teens and youths to investigate and report on environmental issues and their solutions via journalistic vehicles, such as writing, photography or video.
Teenagers who are interested in entering the competition are required to prepare a short written or video article focusing on a local environmental issue and its solutions and post it, via their school newspaper, local media or social networks. A digital copy must be submitted by March 21.
The works will be reviewed by the judging panel as well as leading environmental journalists.
The judges are comprised of representatives of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the European Environment Agency (EEA), the International Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and The Times.
The winners of each category – who will be the semi-finalists – will be announced in April.
The winners will be announced in Denmark on the next Earth Day, in June.
Entry details and instruction are available be emailing the competition or on the competition’s Facebook page.
This year, 27 counties will be participating, including Israel, Canada, the United States, China, Cyprus, France, Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Malta, Morocco, Montenegro, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Britain, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the UAE.
Fashion students at Israel’s Shenkar College of Engineering and Design were recently given a unique challenge – creating innovative designs using surplus clothes deemed disposable by a local leading fashion retailer.
The project marks the growing green trend in the fashion industry, as it – much like its contemporaries in the consumer product sector – is becoming more eco-conscious. The industry is making a global effort to offer consumers fashion items made from recycled materials, turning the “reclaimed” into super-chic must-haves.
As part of this growing trend, students at the Master’s program of Shenkar’s Faculty of Fashion Design have recently taken part of a project exploring “design as an engine of social impact.”
The students were also asked to design their clothes in the spirit of a potential target-market, and find an association that represented that market.
The items designed were then mass-produced and sold on discount, or designed as a unique one-piece, to be auctioned off. All proceeds went to the respective associations.
“The clothes we were given to work with were surpluses garments that were not sold, as well as items that had small defects,” class instructor Ayelet Carmon explained.
“We’re used to thinking of surplus from purely industrial point of view, but many companies actually get stuck with inventory because the law states that you can’t import goods that are not for immediate sale. Since the system encourages buying in bulk to get a better price, importers later face having to deal with surplus inventory.”
But if the students are using ready-made garments, where is the challenge? Carmon summed it up with “scarcity”: “Students would start working with something and then literally run out of it, so they had to improvise. The projects approach was ‘what you get is what you use.’”
The growing trend has been noted by retail giants as well: in December, Sweden’s H&M announced recently that as part of its social and environmental responsibility practices, it will offer customers a chance to recycle their old clothes.
The Israeli franchise is included in the venture, which will span 48 nations worldwide.
Already the methane emitted from Hiriya is harvested to power a nearby factory and the surrounding area is being converted into an urban park that is safe for a variety of outdoor recreational activities. Now Yosef Messer Architects have won the Econtainer Bridge Competition, which may result in the construction of a bridge made of recycled shipping containers linking Arial Sharon Park with the main thoroughfare leading to Tel Aviv.
Each year, 800,000 maritime shipping containers are spit out into the world with nowhere to go. As a result, resourceful designers have frequently incorporated the into art and design projects. They are used for pop-up shops, for temporary restaurants, mobile eco-lodging and all sorts of other creative uses.
But to our knowledge, Yosef Messer Architects is the first to propose utilizing them as the main construction material in a 160 meter bridge.
The Israeli firm places great emphasis on reusing existing materials in order to reduce waste and on fast, efficient and inexpensive construction.
About 70 percent of the ECOtainer bridge will be constructed in a factory, which goes a long way to reducing site damage, and wooden platforms will create a path through the shipping containers, which will comprise the project’s “skeleton,” according to the design team.
Both a passageway for cyclists, pedestrians and light vehicles, the Econtainer Bridge will also be a destination in itself. Benches will be available on either edge, and rooftop platforms will frame panoramic views of southern Tel Aviv.
Photovoltaic panel louvers will serve the dual purpose of creating shading and generating energy for lighting so that the bridge will be completely self-sufficient.
Additional louvers will be included to ensure that the shipping containers, which are made of steel, won’t bake park visitors during the summer months.
Of different shapes and sizes, the recycled containers offer a variety of volumetric options, giving the client a great deal of design flexibility. And most of all, this extraordinary project, if it gets off the ground so to speak, will become a fabulous teaching tool.
Already Hiriya offers tours to people interested in urban reclamation and improved waste management, but a bridge constructed with recycled shipping containers sets a whole new precedent in a country that consistently breaksground in water conservation, wildlife management, clean technology and green architecture.
It has our vote of confidence.