Environment and Sustainable Development

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The photo illustrates the difference in the water line at the Dead Sea from the year 2000 until today.
Photo by Joern Boehme


Environmental issues have always been of central importance to the Greens and to the Heinrich Boell Stiftung. The main issues are: Global warming, energy production and efficiency as well as air quality and water. These issues have gained attention, but the process of changing old patterns and of putting existing technologies to work for the benefit of present and future generations is still much to slow. Existing environmental problems often affect the already disadvantaged parts of the population disproportionately. The foundation supports a variety of Israeli environmental organizations, which over the years attempted successfully to have a growing impact of politics and society.

Climate Change

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Meat Atlas - Facts and figures about the animals we eat

Food is a necessity. And it’s very personal. Satisfaction reflects ethical decisions, and private concerns can be very political in nature. We are more and more alienated from what is on our plates and in our hands, so responsible food consumption is something that an increasing number of people demand. These people need information on which to base their decisions and to answer their questions.

This publication sheds light on the impacts of meat and dairy production, and aims to catalyze the debate over the need for better, safer and more sustainable food and farming.

Click here for more information and to download the publication


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Climate, Energy and Resource Politics in the MENA Region

 In the midst of turbulent times in the Middle East and North Africa, the State of Qatar is hosting the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha from November 26 to December 7, 2012. This trilingual webdossier presents analysis and perspectives from a wide range of international and regional experts on how climate change, resource and energy politics relate to political and social change. Read the dossier

Please click here to read the latest edition of Perspectives Middle East: QATAR: ASPIRATIONS & REALITIES

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Climate Change Policy in Israel Must Become a National Priority

- October 15, 2012 -
As a relatively
new player in the climate change arena, Israel is quickly catching up with many
developed countries. However, the road to a comprehensive climate policy is
still long.

Maya Milrad-Givon more»

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Position Paper

Israeli NGOs Call for a Non-Business as Usual Future

- June 19, 2012 -

A delegation of ten representatives from the Paths to Sustainability Coalition, a coalition of dozens of environmental organizations run through HBS's partner Life & Environment, are participating in the Rio + 20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero over the next week. They will be joining another 50,000 participants worldwide from the business, government and NGO community who are coming together to promote sustainable development and green economy issues. The coalition prepared a position paper that it will promote in Rio regarding the policy in Israel and will advance the recommendations to the almost thirty member official delegation of the Israeli government, also participating in Rio.  Click here to read the position paper.Coalition coordinator Maya Milrad Givon wrote an opinion piece on Rio that appeared in Maariv online. Click here to read the opinion piece in Hebrew.

For more information, please visit the Boell Foundation's web dossier on Rio+20.

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Gender Relations and Women’s Vulnerability to Climate Change

- May 17, 2012 - The study analyzes the way in which an adaptation measure carried out in the Mexican state of Tabasco has contributed to modifying gender relations. In the relocation program analyzed, implemented in response to severe flooding in 2007, the housing units built were granted to women. Jenny Jungehülsing more»

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Policy Paper

April 4, 2012 - In this essay, the president of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Barbara Unmuessig, critically reflects on the opportunities for and the shortcomings of the concept of a "Green Economy" to influence economic policy making globally, its relationship to the paradigm of sustainable development and the need to rethink our understanding and focus on growth. Barbara Unmüßig more»

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Climate Change Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

- April 4, 2012 -
Climate change – and climate change financing – is not gender-neutral. Women, who form the majority of the world’s more than one billion poorest people, are often disproportionally affected by climate change impacts. Liane Schalatek more»

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"Step in the Right Direction" - Cancún Results Assessment

- January 9, 2011 - In Cancún UN members affirmed that average temperatures on Earth must not rise by more than two degrees. They also decided to establish a new Green Climate Fund and called for a timely follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol. In an interview with Hans Dembowski, Barbara Unmüssig, board member of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, assessed the results. more»

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United Nations Climate Change Conference

Delegation of Israeli NGO representatives to Cancun

- Balmy weather greeted the hundreds of delegations that arrived in Cancun Mexico on the first week of December for the United Nations Climate Change Conference. The Paths to Sustainability Coalition, run by Life & Environment and funded by HBS Israel, sent a delegation of three NGO representatives to participate in the conference following their participation in preparatory meetings with the official Israeli delegation. In addition, the coalition published a position paper in English and Hebrew critiquing Israel's climate policy thus far. The NGO representatives' participation is part of an overall strategy of the coalition to engage decision makers and advance climate policy in Israel.


The Coalition’s position paper and more»

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The Development of Israeli Policy to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

- August 26, 2010 - The Institute for Desert Environmental Research at Ben Gurion University's Sde Boker campus together with the Heinrich Boell Stiftung’s Israel office hosted a workshop in May which allowed for an objective, international, peer review of the McKinsey / Israeli greenhouse gas mitigation policy. Three top international experts were recruited for the workshop and participated in the day of multi-sector learning and dialogue together with a group of leading academics, environmental leaders from civil society, top officials from the Ministry for Environmental Protection and business leaders from Israel. The next day, the international experts were invited by the Knesset Environment/Health Sub-Committee to present their findings and recommendations. read more and see a video of the workshop»

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Climate Change and Democratization - A Complex Relationship

- August 25, 2010 - The paper examines whether democracy at the country level and global climate change matter for another. It raises the question of how to support democracy’s advance in the face of multiple challenges that include the adverse effects of global warming and extreme weather events merits much more attention than it has received so far. Peter Burnell more»

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Failure or Oppurtunity?

- March 23, 2010 - From a sheer climate protection perspective, various experts claim that the outcome of the Copenhagen climate conference has been a failure. Two months after the Copenhagen climate summit, this paper sheds some light on the different regional and national evaluations of the conference and analyzes how perceptions on the outcome of the conference vary between key countries and regions. more»

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Israel's Road to Copenhagen

- December 9, 2009 - From December 7th to 18th, 2009 the much awaited for United Nations Climate Conference (COP 15) is taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Heinrich Boell Foundation in Israel is supporting a delegation of Israeli NGOs from the Sustainability Coalition  - working under the auspices of the environmental umbrella organization Life & Environment - to actively advocate for a comprehensive climate policy by the Israeli government. more»

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Climate Change Action

350 Campaign Leader Comes to Israel

- October 21, 2009 - Environmental activist, author and co-founder of the 350.org campaign, Bill McKibben came to Israel on September 6-7, 2009 as part of a worldwide tour to raise awareness for climate change action. The 350 campaign is organizing an international effort that will culminate in a global day of climate action on October 24th. Amazingly, there are over 4,200 events scheduled in 170 countries on October 24th, the largest international political action ever recorded in human history! more»

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Climate Change and Israeli Policy

- The Heinrich Boell Stiftung has defined the issue of climate change and sustainable development as being central to its work internationally, both in the areas of mitigation and adaptation. It advocates and advances an agenda for development rights for developing nations and contributes to seeking solutions in many international forums while at the same time, adapts its work to the specific context of each of its 28 offices around the world. more»

Energy Policy

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Transitioning to Renewable Energy - Pathway to a more sustainable and safer world

June 26, 2013 -
During his visit to Israel, Germany's first Green State Prime Minister, Winfried Kretschmann, of Baden-Württemberg, discussed the German Energy Transition and German-Israeli cooperation on green economy with Israeli Environment Minister Amir Peretz at the public event "Economic Powerhouse meets Start-Up Nation", jointly hosted by the Heinrich Böll Foundation Israel and the German-Israeli Chamber of Commerce on June 25, 2013.
Click to read the Prime Minister's speech»
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The German Energy Transition

Germany has drawn a lot of attention for the Energiewende - the aim to switch to a renewable energy economy, phase out nuclear power and leave fossil fuels behind. But what exactly is the German energy transition: How does it work and what challenges lie ahead? A new website seeks to answer these and related questions more>>

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Policy Paper

Angst or Arithmetic? Why Germans are so Skeptical about Nuclear Energy

- May 17, 2012 - Is it hysteria or emotional populism that Germany has decided to phase out nuclear energy? On the contrary, a majority of Germans has been unconvinced of its merits since the early 1980s; the source of this anti-atom consensus lies in the persuasive, fact-based arguments of a powerful, grassroots social movement. Paul Hockenos more»

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Policy Paper

Myths and Facts: The German Switch from Nuclear to Renewables

- March 20, 2012 -
Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power after Fukushima has been criticized as it would lead to rising emissions and a shortage of power supply. A fact check proves these claims to be wrong. Today renewable energies provide more than a fifth of electricity demand in Germany. The country is on track to surpass its ambitious climate targets and even exports electricity to Europe’s nuclear power house France. 
Craig Morris more»

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Myths About Nuclear Energy - Hebrew Edition

- April 21, 2011 - The Israel office of the Heinrich Boell Stiftung published a Hebrew translation of the book, Myths About Nuclear Energy: How the Energy Lobby is Pulling the Wool Over Our Eyes originally published in German as part of a HBS series on ecology. In addition to the translation, HBS Israel commissioned Dr. Shahar Dolev from the Israel Energy Forum to write a preface and summary in order to provide background and context to the Hebrew speaking audience on nuclear energy and the current discourse in Israel. The book debunks seven commonly held myths on nuclear energy including issues of safety, atomic waste disposal, climate protection among others. Marc Berthold Click here to read the foreword and to download the publication»

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Myth of nuclear power - a guide

- The recent earthquake damage to a number of reactors in Japan has again highlighted the potential hazards of nuclear power in a dramatic way. The description of nuclear power as reliable, secure, and a source of unbeatable energy has turned out to be a myth. To address the myths of nuclear power, the Heinrich Böll Foundation has commissioned renowned international nuclear experts to deliver reports that provide the public with an overview of current, facts rich, and nuclear critical know-how. On April 6th, 2011 the Heinrich Boell Foundation in Israel will be co-hosting a conference on the issue of nuclear energy as an option for civilian use together with the Hartog School for Government and Policy at Tel Aviv University and the Israel Energy Forum. We will be launching the book, "Myth of Nuclear Energy", written by Dr. Gerd Rosenkranz and translated into Hebrew with a chapter on the Israeli context written by Dr. Shahar Dolev. More about the conference and the guide»

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An Alternative for Nuclear Power

A European Community for Renewable Energies

- According to an ambitious initiative launched by some of Europe's largest companies, the Sahara will become a power hub to provide renewable energy to Europe by the mid of the century. This project should become a cornerstone of a new European Community for renewable energies. By Ralf Fücks, Co-President of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung more»

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Nuclear Power is not an alternative!

- August 23, 2009 - The controversy about the use of nuclear power continues. In connection with the debate about climate change and what can be done about it, the nuclear industry and political forces that support it have undertaken efforts to present the use of nuclear power as a means of combatting climate change. The Heinrich Boell Foundation has published a paper “Nuclear Power – Myth and Reality” as early as February 2006, which argues against this notion.
The heated debate has recently become more evident also in Israel. In the Israeli newspaper Haaretz from August 7, 2009, Gal Luft demanded a serious debate on the use of nuclear energy in Israel, while practically proposing its use. Joern Boehme, the director of the Israel office answered the claims made by Gal Luft concerning the debate in Germany in a letter to the editor, published in Haaretz on August 18, 2009. Read the op-ed by Gal Luft followed by the response letter by Joern Boehme»

Environmental Governance

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opinion piece

For a just economy, Israel must adopt 'Green New Deal'

June 1, 2013 -
Former MK Mossi Raz and current Chairperson of Life & Environment, provides an analysis of the new Israeli budget just pushed and passed by Yesh Atid and offers a new economic model that suggests real solutions for the three-fold crisis we are in - financial, social and environmental. The Israeli model, called Economics of Tomorrow could be the building blocks of a more sustainable economic strategy for the future than Yesh Atid's (There is a Future) current vision.

Mossi Raz more»

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Policy Paper

Economics of Tomorrow - A Green New Deal for Israel

- December 20, 2012 -
The Heinrich Böll Foundation Israel, Life
& Environment and the Forum for Economics of Tomorrow 
proudly present the study "Economics of Tomorrow - Green Policy for Economic Resilience". A comprehensive and
holistic program to create a sustainable economy, achieve social
justice and combat climate change in Israel. This
Hebrew document includes executive summaries in English and Arabic.


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Study Tour

Innovations for Ecological Change

- May 8, 2012 -

This week the Heinrich Böll Foundation Israel is taking an Israeli delegation on a Green Economy Study Tour to Germany. The common goal is to learn about new ways to green economic growth and sustainable development.


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European Climate Leadership – Durban and Beyond

- May 6, 2012 - Can Europe assert leadership on climate change in light of its myriad problems? The EU was key in shaping the outcome of the last UNFCCC negotiations, the so-called Durban Platform.  This paper analyzes the prospects for Europe to continue to act as a driving force towards a greener planet, both at home and abroad. Hans JH Verolme more»

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Opinion Piece

It's the 'Green' Economy, Stupid

- March 22, 2012 - The First National Green Growth Conference in Israel was held at the end of February 2012, with notable speakers including Prime Minister Netanyahu, a parade of major cabinet ministers, Bank of Israel Governor Fischer and others. The long day ended with an inter-sectorial roundtable meeting on Green Growth. Are we (finally) on the Green Brick Road? And what can we do to get there?

Sagit Porat more»

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Climate - Migration - Security

- February 16, 2012 -
Growing evidence of links between climate change, migration, and conflict raise plenty of reasons for concern and it’s time to start thinking about new answers to these multifaceted crisis scenarios. A report from our colleagues in North America and Center for American Progress.

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In Tel Aviv – Tears; In New York – Cheers

- February 16, 2012 - Industry in Israel must understand that internalizing social and environmental considerations will improve not only the future for all of us, but also its own financial sustainability. Naor Yerushalmi, Director of Life & Environment posits that the business community should become global market leaders in environmental innovation. This article first appeared in Hebrew in The Marker on February 7, 2012. Naor Yerushalmi more»

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The climate is changing – so should our economy

- December 7, 2011 - As the UN climate conference convenes in Durban, South Africa, Maya Givon, Coordiantor of the Paths to Sustainability NGO Coalition,  says that our ability to deal successfully with the unprecedented challenge of climate change is connected to our ability to transition to a greener, more sustainable economy that will significantly augment mitigation efforts. The summit in Durban is an opportunity for leaders worldwide to answer this call, by removing political barriers and allowing a continuation of joint global effort to halt climate change. Maya M. Givon more»

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How Germany Became Europe’s Green Leader

- November 15, 2011 -

This article examines how German environmental policymaking over the last 40 years transformed Europe’s economic engine into the international driver of green growth.

Ralph Buehler, Arne Jungjohann, Melissa Keeley, Michael Mehling more»

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Growth of Limits

- May 11, 2011 - On the road to ecological modernity, prosperity is possible without having to destroy the basis of our livelihood.
Ralf Fücks more»

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Global Environmental Governance and Rio +20: Thinking Big – Doing Little?

- May 1, 2011 - There is little faith in the reform of the UN system; nonetheless, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 – also known as Rio +20 – is not only to set the stage for a green economy, but also to provide an impetus for the institutional reform of the UN environmental sector. The ministerial-level advisory group brought together by the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) is preparing the reforms. The state of the discussion is analyzed here by Barbara Unmüßig, board member of the Heinrich Böll Foundation.



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Toward a Transatlantic Green New Deal: Tackling the Climate and Economic Crisis

- The Heinrich Boell Foundation has published a report, "Toward a Transatlantic Green New Deal: Tackling the Climate and Economic Crises". The report, which was prepared by the Worldwatch Institute for HBS, is part of a new paradigm for an integrated approach to the climate and economic crises in order to create sustainable economic progress into the future. Read the introduction and download the complete publication»

2014 Project Partners

Israel Energy Forum, Sustainable Energy for Israel –The Israel Energy Forum conducts original research in the areas of energy efficiency and sustainable energy policies, as well as promoting relevant legislation, while fostering public debate on the issue. As Israel confronts increased demand for energy, it faces new challenges in shaping and developing its energy market, in light of its newly-found offshore natural gas deposits. The need for innovative approaches in the sustainable management of the country’s energy market for present and future generations is stronger than ever. In 2014, the IEF is promoting a comprehensive policy document titled, “Zero Carbon Israel” and roundtables will be held with relevant stakeholders. They will also conduct advocacy with decision makers on the energy transition needed for a post-carbon era.

Life & Environment, Paths to Sustainability NGO Coalition – The Sustainability Coalition, while working with its member organizations, seeks to impact Israeli policy on climate change through the production of reports and position papers, ongoing dialogue and advocacy with Knesset members and government officials, raising awareness in the media and conducting public campaigns. The focus in 2014 will be ongoing advocacy work with decision makers on climate policy, bringing adaptation issues to the public discourse and coordinating an environmental lobby in the Knesset.

Injaz: Professional Center for the Advancement of Arab Local Authorities, Catalyzing Environmentally Sustainable Development in Arab Towns Injaz seeks to strengthen the local authorities as a driving force for social-economic development, based on the principles of democracy and transparency regarding decision-making, allowing the public to participate in establishing policy regarding municipal development and growth. Injaz Center leads the way in introducing new working methods and strategic solutions that are tailor made to the actual needs and situation of the Arab local authorities and citizens.  In the decade-plus since its creation in 1998, the Heschel Center has become the foremost address for creating a sustainable future for Israel, based on a vibrant democracy, ecological health and social justice. Together, the two organizations are working with Arab mayors and senior municipal staff to initiate a long-term process of building awareness, knowledge and capacity in integrating environmental thought and policy into the strategic plans of participating towns and cities, affecting the social, environmental and economic health of Arab municipalities across Israel.

The Heschel Center for Sustainability, Regenerative Cities – A Framework for Israeli Resiliency - Our cities have become very greedy; they absorb resources, create services for us, and emit enormous amounts of pollution and waste. The growth of cities upon this linear model has created numerous challenges, many of them related to the fact that every single activity depends on a constant supply of energy, food, water and numerous other resources which have to be imported into the city. Consequently, these activities produce enormous amounts of solid waste, sewage and toxic gas, which in turn have to be exported as far as possible from the city. This model not only proved itself as unsustainable, but also distanced urban inhabitants from the hazardous consequences of their acts.  While recognizing this conceptual fault we must ask ourselves what direction global urban development will take over the coming years. In this urban era where cities will shape the future of more than 90% of humankind a new paradigm is needed.

'A Regenerative City' is a new paradigmatic model for planning, design and living urban patterns which can utilize every bit of urban space for production and simultaneously enable a local production-consumption circular loop. Such an approach requires more than a few changes in the way we think of urban spaces, from the construction materials to energy flow in open spaces and from ownership models to citizen's accountability and especially from the point of view of the legislator and policy maker, whether local or national.   

The Heschel Center for Sustainability is one of the leading national environmental organizations in Israel, promoting new models and building capacity, engaging in education and leadership and working on the local level with municipalities.

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