Eco-kibbutzim: bringing biblical animals back to life

two Addax near sunset

During my trip to Israel I’ve found a kibbutz where rare animals mentioned in the Bible are being reintroduced into their natural environment.

cotton fields of Kibbutz Shamir c.1958

 

The original kibbutzim were highly regarded in the West and have long attracted idealistic young volunteers from all over the world. The new eco-kibbutzim offer an opportunity to work on the land, but also to learn how farming is gradually changing as new environmentally-friendly techniques are created and old ones rediscovered. I also discovered some very futuristic sustainability projects.

Last year Sue and I visited one of these, Kibbutz Lotan to the south of the country, close to Eilat and Jordan. Fortunately for us it was winter so the temperature was a cool thirty degrees or so, rather than the 40-degree plus summer desert heat Lotan dwellers are more used to.

Three kibbutzim with fascinating environmental initiatives:

houses, kibbutz Lotan

1. Kibbutz Lotan
As well as offering eco-tourism in its low energy mud-brick rooms Lotan hosts a permaculture centre offering a four week Sustainable Development & Permaculture Design Certification, a one week eco-experience work immersion and practical workshops in  local food production, natural building, sustainable community and alternative technologies.

2. Kibbutz Yotvata
On Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve endangered and locally extinct animals mentioned in the Bible are bred for possible reintroduction to the Negev desert.

Species bred include:
▪ Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx)
▪ Scimitar oryx (Oryx dammah)
▪ Red-necked ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus)
▪ Addax (Addax nasomaculatus)
▪ Asian wild ass (hybrids of Equus hemionus kulan and Equus hemionus onager)
▪ Somali wild ass (Equus africanus somaliensis)
▪ Caracal (Caracal caracal schmitzi)
▪ Arabian sand cat (Felis margarita harrisoni)
▪ Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr)
▪ South African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus)
▪ Arabian wolf (Canis lupus arabs)
▪ Dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas)
▪ Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus)
▪ Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana)
▪ Persian leopard (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica)
▪ Striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena)

algae production at Kibbutz Ketura

3. Kibbutz Ketura
Apart from the massive Arava solar farm Kibbutz Ketura houses Alga Technologies, which produces sustainable antioxidants using solar energy and purified water from local boreholes, 80% of which is recycled.

 

 

An Israeli solar farm keeps a 3000-year-old biblical law

Ketura solar farm

Being 60% desert Israel has a lot of solar energy to share. There is no doubt that having few natural “fossil fuel” energy resources encouraged Israel to develop solar technologies and has led to Israel’s current position as one of the world’s solar technology superpowers. Did you know that: Continue reading “An Israeli solar farm keeps a 3000-year-old biblical law”

8 Great eco-blogs too good to miss

Today I’ve decided to do a round-up of some eco-blogs I love the look of, and a few I just couldn’t leave out.

  1. treading my own path

    Treading my own path – names like this appeal to me. Various great ideas from Perth, Australia. I liked the look of this one:

 

2. The zero-waste chef We all love food. He’s just blogged on how to make your own tahini, mind you I didn’t know tahini was still ‘in’. Beautiful photos alone worth a look. Here’s an intriguing one: Continue reading “8 Great eco-blogs too good to miss”

I’m zero-wasting my life! Why fruit & veg should go naked

How sustainable is my life #3 – veggie wrapping

Veggies don’t need plastic either.

Here our journey starts. This is what our purple sprouting broccoli and green beans came in, delivered by our local Tesco supermarket. Gasp! More plastic! Something must be done.

I search for signs of recyclability, but there are none. Even if it is recyclable our local council has given up on these items. I need to find out why … Continue reading “I’m zero-wasting my life! Why fruit & veg should go naked”

I’m zero-wasting my life! Kicking the plastic bottle habit

a few soaks and I’m on the scrap heap – what a life!

How sustainable is my life? #1
This is where I start looking at my own life and making those small but vital changes towards sustainability. Let’s see what effect a few small changes can make. I’m going to start with plastic waste.

The large plastic bottle in the image, left, is what my herbal bath soak came in. More plastic on the recycling heap? OK, it’s better than chucking it out but there must be a better way. Continue reading “I’m zero-wasting my life! Kicking the plastic bottle habit”

9 reasons I’m getting all my stuff from Lush now

 

Lush something in biodegradable cello

We live in a commercial world. Very. Environmentalists and just about every other campaigner keeps telling me. So when I read about trendy companies like Lush, hear about them from all my female friends, pass by their store in my local town, I’m going to be a bit sceptical.

This is because we also have this thing called greenwashing. Greenwashing is where commercial concerns try to make out they care more than they actually do by spending loads of money they could be spending on actually caring more on caring less and making it look like they care more. Really, they couldn’t care less and I care about that, although I’m sure they also couldn’t care less that I care more. Continue reading “9 reasons I’m getting all my stuff from Lush now”

Why we should be more optimistic on climate change

@Washington Examiner

A number of years ago I was at a friend’s house listening to records. “One day” he told me “you’ll be able to switch on your TV and choose exactly what film to watch, what music to listen to.” At the time, this was the most implausible, futuristic thing I’d ever heard. I need hardly say how true that prediction became.

Interesting opinion piece in the Washington Examiner  criticising “black hole” scientist Stephen Hawking for his political statement that
Continue reading “Why we should be more optimistic on climate change”

Think your plastic-free life won’t make a difference?

Think you’re plastic-free life isn’t helping the planet? Read on.

My recycled plastic kitchen clock and thermometer, courtesy The Eden Project

I came across this question on the Plastic Free Support group on Facebook. This question goes something like this:

“What’s the point of me doing all this if no one else is? What difference will my tiny contribution make?”


Wondering if your commitment is a bit OTT (over the top)?
Nah, don’t worry. With concerns like these maybe a support group is a good idea. Standing out from the crowd, challenging the status quo, maybe looking a little odd and wondering if one actually is odd. Continue reading “Think your plastic-free life won’t make a difference?”

Battery powered cars – now who’s laughing?

 Carmaker Volvo has fascinated the world by announcing yesterday that all Volvos launched from 2019 will have an electric motor. Wow! That’s a world away from the beloved Volvo tanks I used to own in byegone days.

This is what I call a real car

Meanwhile car-making giant VW has unveiled its all-electric research car with a range of 250km and even robots that charge it. How futuristic is that? Continue reading “Battery powered cars – now who’s laughing?”