Saving Green and Clean Places in Israel
I am excited to tell you that I’ve joined the Friends of Israel’s Environment, a group of concerned Americans who support the work of Adam Teva v’Din – the Israel Union for Environmental Defense. Adam Teva v’Din (ATD) is Israel’s leading non-governmental advocacy organization seeking to improve environmental protection and enforcement of environmental laws. Over the past decade, ATD has helped many thousands of Israelis tackle life-affecting environmental issues and reclaim their right to a cleaner, healthier environment and better quality of life.
In addition to protecting open spaces and upholding rights of free access to public beaches and municipal parks, ATD has closed polluting factories in residential areas, improved adherence to zoning laws, and provided neglected communities with improved sewage systems and sanitation services.
We know as leaders that a lot of the work we do to make change is legal, incremental, even bureaucratic, and not always so glamorous. But it’s actually thrilling that ATD is working to protect the fragile Dead Sea ecosystem by representing the public interest before an independent commission on the value of natural resources.
ATD’s Environment & Community Initiative empowers communities and local activists with the knowledge, tools and confidence needed to tackle the environmental problems which affect their towns and neighborhoods. We understand the power of volunteers and are creating local leaders, “giving the work back” to local people as an effective impact/change strategy. Over the years, ATD’s sought-after expertise has enabled members from all spheres of Israeli society — Jews, Arabs & Bedouins — to take active measures to improve the environmental conditions in the walls of their communities.
The economic, social and environmental repercussions of a new energy economy are tremendous. That’s why ATD has led the public call for clear, long-range policies and a statutory legislative framework to manage the new resource. ATD’s legal team is pressing to increase the government’s commitment to renewable energy, and has spearheaded the public campaign for transparency with regard to government policies on the export of offshore natural gas. And of course, there’s the always-present issue of water quality.
If you are a Wexner Israel Fellowship Alum involved in environmental and quality-of-life issues, I’d like to meet you. And to all Wexner alumni and faculty in North America, please let me know if you’d like to get involved with this dynamic and effective organization.
Mike Gildesgame, a Wexner Heritage Alum (Boston 2), has 30 years’ experience in natural resources project management and program administration, including 20 years as Director, Office of Water Resources at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and working most recently at the Appalachian Mountain Club as Southern New England Policy Manager.Mike serves on the board of Adam Teva v’Din and can be reached at Mikeg125@gmail.com.