Protecting Israel’s Environment
When Amiad Lapidot was in high school, his teacher would chastise him, telling him that if he did not work harder, he would end up collecting garbage. Amiad now recounts the story with a chuckle. After getting a BA in Geography and an MA in City Planning as well as completing several fellowships in environmental programs, Amiad is fulfilling his dream: collecting garbage.
With the assistance of the New Israel Fund and Shatil, Amiad has built an organization dedicated to sustainability in Israel. Eretz Carmel, named after a moshav located in the lush, green mountains of the Galilee, aims to improve environmental awareness in Israel today, an awareness which is lagging behind much of the Western world. Through resourceful educational methods and practical implementation of its Compost HaKerem project, Eretz Carmel is pushing to achieve a sustainable world where people live healthily and in harmony with the environment, while safeguarding its existence for future generations.
One of the organization’s most successful projects is a composting initiative. What began as a one-man crusade has grown in scope to a program adopted by several villages and towns throughout the North, totaling thousands of households. Simply separating out the organic materials from trash meant for landfills (where organic material cannot decompose quickly due to lack of oxygen) significantly reduces the amount of trash. The organic materials are then added to a community compost pile, and after six months, the organic garbage turns to compost that can be used in the garden at home or in public gardens. The venture has also saved the villages money, as transporting garbage is a costly endeavor.
Through its innovate programming, Eretz Carmel hopes to reduce household output of garbage by 40%; reduce greenhouse gases; reduce transportation and burying expense; and create changes in the attitude and behavior of people towards organic waste recycling by teaching them ways they can use it to achieve a better and healthier environment.
Amiad practices what he preaches. Aside from composting at home, he single-handedly built a home for his family, which is regarded as a prototype for environmental design.