The top 65 ways Israel is saving our planet

Since 1948, Israel has set itself a task of finding creative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. To celebrate Israel’s 65th birthday, ISRAEL21c looks at some of the best achievements.

A member of IsraAid helping out local residents in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Photo courtesy of IsraAID.

A member of IsraAid helping out local residents in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Photo courtesy of IsraAID.

11. Israel is the only country that permanently opens its arms to children sick from radiation caused by the Ukrainian nuclear disaster in Chernobyl over 27 years ago. More than 2,755 affected children, ages eight to 15, have been brought to Israel for treatment and resettlement.

12. Israeli researchers and farmers have combined the best of Israel’s agri-tech and clean-tech innovation to create a new artificial desert oasis that could help feed millions of desert-dwellers.

The oasis was developed by researchers from Ben-Gurion University and the Central and Northern Arava Research and Development center, and uses Israel’s expertise in growing salt-resistant crops in the Negev desert with little rain under a harsh sun. The oasis uses low-cost desalination technology that runs on solar power to turn brackish water into sweet water.

13. An Israeli company is developing a new contraceptive with the potential to provide a safer, long-acting, non-invasive solution for women in developing nations. Hervana recently won a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its accessible, cheap and socially acceptable LJ-102 suppository, which has to be applied only once or twice a month via a non-hormonal vaginal preparation.

According to the World Health Organization, there are at least 220 million women who don’t have access to effective contraception, and some 50 million abortions per year in the developing world.

14. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the White House and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) called on Israeli company Waze to use its real-time traffic navigation updates in an effort to bring fuel to New Jersey residents suffering from shortages at the gas pump.

15. An Israeli company has developed an alternative seed treatment that could revolutionize farming, protecting vegetable seeds from infestation, fungus, bacteria and even drought, without the side effects of genetic engineering (GMO).

Morflora’s product, TraitUP, “inoculates” any seed from foreseeable challenges without altering its genetic makeup in new generations — just like a mumps or measles shot in humans. The product has won international awards and goes on the market this year.

16. Doctors from Israel are restoring the gift of sight to hundreds of people in developing countries thanks to Israeli non-profit Eye from Zion.

The organization sends eye doctors from Israel to do free cataract removal operations in places such as Vietnam, China, Myanmar, the Maldives and even Muslim countries including Azerbaijan. The doctors are all volunteers, and most of the people arriving at their mobile clinics are blind in either one or both eyes. The organization also brings doctors from developing countries to Israel for training.

17. Overfishing and pollution are seriously depleting the number of fish in the sea and threatening some fish species with extinction, but now an Israeli company, Grow Fish Anywhere (GFA) has found a way to raise saltwater fish anywhere, even in the desert, without any of the usual problems of pollution. The company has facilities in Israel and New York.

18. An international charity is building a $6 million factory in Africa to build cardboard wheelchairs designed and developed in Israel. The wheelchairs are the brainchild of Israeli entrepreneur Nimrod Elmish of I.G. Cardboard Technologies, and are made entirely of cheap, recycled materials. The charity, which is dedicated to providing free wheelchairs for the disabled in developing nations, spends more than $6 million annually on buying metal wheelchairs from China and sending them to Africa.

19. With its plentiful year-round sunshine, it’s no surprise that Israeli companies are leading the way in creating viable and successful new solar energies that are already helping reduce the world’s dependence on pollution-causing oil.

Israel has become a startup nation for the sun with dozens, if not hundreds, of companies operating in this field, many of them driven by the early solar pioneers Zvi Tabor and Levi Yissar, and then later ones David Faiman, Jacob Karni and Avi Kribus.

Aside from BrightSource, mentioned in an item below, solar companies to watch include Aora, HelioFocus and Arava Power.

20. Israeli educational entrepreneur Shai Reshef founded University of the People, the world’s first tuition-free, online academic institution offering a recognized bachelor’s degree. More than 3,000 professors from major universities volunteer as lecturers and tutors for students from many countries, including China, Pakistan, Haiti, Rwanda, Mali, Peru, Nepal, Saudi Arabia and South Sudan. “I believe that if you educate one person, you can change a life; if you educate many, you can change the world,” Reshef says.

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About Nicky Blackburn

Editor and Israel Director, Nicky Blackburn has worked extensively as a journalist and editor both in Britain and Israel for a range of national and international publications including The Cambridge Evening News, London News, Travel Weekly, Israel High Tech Investor, and The Times of London. She was the Associate Editor at LINK Israel’s Business and Technology Magazine, and the High-Tech Correspondent for The Jerusalem Post.
  • http://www.facebook.com/bernie.harland Bernie Harland

    It’s a great shame that the world doesn’t recognise that these brilliant works aren’t publicized or recognized lots more instead of negative response best part of the time

  • http://www.facebook.com/edi.stadler.7 Edi Stadler

    Wow, I didn’t know that Israel was so progressive. Thank you for this wonderful article.

  • disqus_U1UZ3IAD3B

    great work Nicky loved the story love the people love the country live from Super Natural British Columbia the 2nd greatest place to live in the world

  • Amos Leitner

    Please also list “Tevel B’Zedek” who does exemplary work both in Haiti and in Nepal

  • Mary opiyo

    Prof berta sivan that was a great achievement. Proud of you.

  • Anti-Zionist

    ISreal saving the planet. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

    I nominate this for the joke of the week. BTW, I wonder what the Palestinians have to say about all the magnificent ways in which it is “saving” the planet. Not to mention American tax-paying suckers. This right here is the personification of hubris and delusion. But keep on plowing Chosenites, the truth shall set the rest of us free.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.berger.148116 Daniel Berger

    ccWITT TECHNOLOGY (www.witt-energy-solutions.com) DOES BETTER THAN ANY OF THESE 65!!!

    WITT OFFERS THE WORLD ENERGY INDEPENDENCE, BY GENERATING ENERGY FROM ANY TYPE OF MOTION!!!

    WITT TECHNOLOGY IS AVAILABLE FROM THE MOSLEM, HINDU, JEWISH, MIDDLE EAST ISRAEL GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE!!!

    OUR CHAMBER ALSO HAS $25 A BARREL, NORTH SEA QUALITY ALGAE CRUDE OIL;

    CARBON FIBER, HYBRID ELECTRIC HYPERCARS THAT GET 240/KM FOR 4 LITERS OF FUEL

    SEWAGE TO DRINKINKING WATER TECHNOLOGY

    PASSIVE SOLAR ENERGY THAT USES PHASE CHANGE SALTS THAT ALLOW FURNITURE, WINDOWS AND WALLS GENERATE ENERGY

    FUSION NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY, AND A LOT MORE!!!

    WHY IS IT THAT ONLY THE EPIC TIMES OF JERUSALEM HAS GIVEN NEWS COVERAGE TO OUR CHAMBERS WORK.

    MASS MEDIA OUTLETS IN ISRAEL SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    NEITHER MARSHALL McLUHAN NOR EDWARD MURROW OR WALTER CRONKITE,OR HUNTLEY BRINKLEY WOULD CONDON SUCH LAZY JOURNALISM

  • Akhabue

    Thank you Israel. You are a blessing to the World.
    Bereshit – Genesis Chapter 12
    Now HaShem said unto Abram: ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will show thee.
    2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing.
    3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Bible/Genesis12.html

  • Akhabue

    Bereshit – Genesis Chapter 12
    1 Now HaShem said unto Abram: ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will show thee.
    2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing.
    3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Bible/Genesis12.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/zgadjanski Zoran Gadjanski

    Now, if you would be so kind and find a country for Palestinians.

  • thefifthcolumnreport

    Israel is a remarkable country and Israelis are a remarkable people. Imagine how much better off humankind would be if they embraced and supported Israel and its people?

  • http://twitter.com/MikiZBell miki bell

    ongrats to Israel’s 65th, I was there dancing all night 65 years ago. Keep on doing the good that you do to better humanity.Stay safe

  • http://twitter.com/MikiZBell miki bell

    I mean Congratulations to Israel, may you stay safe, prosperous and productive. My web site is:www.mikizbell.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/sabina.shalom Sabina Shalom

    Not
    only am I filled with pride,awe and enormous admiration and respect for all
    that I have read and seen, I am also filled with a deep and searing angst that
    Israel’s magnificence goes so largely unacknowledged world wide. With so
    many brilliant minds, how is it that the media does not seem to have been
    sufficiently encouraged (or approached) to show at least some of Israel’s
    miraculous

    achievements
    especially as they are designed for world-wide use and adoption.

    Ignorance,
    lack of knowledge and understanding continue to undermine Israel’s superb
    achievements. This must be remedied – propaganda, promotion, influential
    names, companies, every source to be contacted. Ambassadors of goodwill, eloquent speakers,
    all should be touring the Nations with these incredibly wonderful films,
    documentaries and such personal stories filled with the continuing human
    outreach that Israel
    extends to the entire world.

    These
    wonderful, beautiful films, make me smile and make me cry. But it is not tears that effect change. One does not need to convince the convinced,
    though it does not harm to remind the Jewish people of our duty and our
    obligations. It is the earnest attempts to rectify a
    situation. To bring that Light unto the
    Nations to shine more brightly and widely across this blessed earth upon which
    we the Jewish people were destined to serve.

    Sabina
    Shalom

    http://www.sabinashalom.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lenya-Biyat/100001956420493 Lenya Biyat

    Bless Israel. A light unto all nations.