Hadassah Celebrates Earth Day

22Apr10

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Our Projects
Hadassah and theJewish National Fund (JNF) have been partners in Green Zionism since 1926 and have collaborated to meet many of the essential needs of Israel’s environment. Through this important and passionate coalition, our organizations are united in an effort to help Israel avoid environmental catastrophes.

Hadassah has worked together with JNF toward reforestation, preparing the land for agriculture, creating inclusive parks, playgrounds, recreation sites and providing urgently needed water conduits. To learn more about water certificates or to plant a tree, contact jnf@hadassah.org.

In Israel
Israel has been taking the lead in a number of alternative energy fields aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and promoting the use of renewable energy. It is one of the first countries to actively promote zero-emission electric cars and prepare the infrastructure for the mass marketing of such vehicles. An Israeli company is currently active in developing and designing efficient solar power plants around the world; Israeli municipalities are contributing to international projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and in late 2007 Israel and the United States initiated a joint alternative energy research program that was signed into law.

The First-Ever Electric Car Network
By the end of 2010, Israel will be home to the world’s first all-electric car network. Electric cars will reduce the world’s dependency on oil, lower air and noise pollution and eliminate carbon emissions from cars that create greenhouse gases. Better Place, a company owned by Israeli-American entrepreneur Shai Agassi, will provide lithium-ion batteries to power the cars and the infrastructure to refresh or replace them. One battery will enable the cars to travel 124 miles per charge. Better Place will install parking meter-like plugs on city streets and construct service stations along highways to replace the batteries. Solar technology, being developed in southern Israel, will generate the electricity to power the cars.

“Jerusalem will be the first city in the world with this technology,” said Better Place CEO Agassi. Israel is not only the first country to host this technology, but was also where the original technology was invented. As of March 1, Israel’s electric car grid project in Israel was on schedule, according to Better Place. The company aims to have 70-100 vehicle recharging stations in operation by 2011. In September 2010, Better Place will begin testing cars. “Under the Better Place model, consumers can either buy or lease an electric car from the French automaker Renault or Japanese companies like Nissan,” wrote New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, “and then buy miles on their electric car batteries from Better Place the way you now buy an Apple cell phone and the minutes from AT&T.” For more from Israel at 62: Facts and Resources, visit www.theisraelproject.org.

Through our Programs
To learn more about Shai Agassi and how Israeli culture fosters a unique combination of innovative and entrepreneurial intensity, check out Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Dan Senor and Saul Singer, a featured selection in our On The Same Page: A Hadassah Book Club guide, available Spring 2010. For more information, email programming@hadassah.org.

On the Ground
Hadassah units across the United States recognize the importance of protecting and enhancing our environment by organizing tree plantings, water conservation projects, holding special environment awareness programs geared to local youth, planting trees in Israel through JNF, cleaning up local highways, coordinating community recycling projects and so much more. To learn what Hadassah does in your community, visit www.hadassah.org.

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