|Written by Ruby Ong|
They Paved Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot: NIF and the Green Environment Fund
Israel is a country that has always faced unique environmental issues. Israelis have long had to balance growth with preservation of the country's ancient archeological treasures, as well as developing both industry and agriculture in an arid landscape where water is precious and scarce. Today, environmental concerns in Israel, as in the rest of the world, are multiplying and becoming more urgent with the passage of time. In the past decade, consumption of electricity and cars have dramatically increased the carbon monoxide levels which, in addition to adding to global climate change concerns, have spurred an increase in respiratory illness and cancers. Irresponsible agricultural policies and industrial controls have placed water sources at risk, and once out-of-the-way open spaces are being devoured by unfettered development. And as with other areas of the world, environmental degradation disproportionately affects those on the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder.
NIF is a key partner in the Green Environment fund, which is at the forefront of Israel's environmental movement and the largest funder of environmental NGOs in Israel. Together with the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, Pratt Foundation and an anonymous foundation, GEF is creating solutions for a safer, healthier, cleaner and greener Israel. GEF aims to strengthen and professionalize Israel's environmental movement, educate the public and promote sustainable growth and living while emphasizing environmental justice.