Greening Local Politics

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Municipal elections will be held across Israel in November, and here in Jerusalem the current incumbent, Uri Lupolianski, will be challenged by Nir Barkat and Arcadi Gaydamek.

While Jerusalem is always hotly contested for many reasons, this year a coalition of green groups has launched an initiative to get the environmental agenda high on each candidates list of priorities. Hopefully local politics across the country will start to green.

The coalition, called ‘Green Now!’, includes the Israel Union for Environmental Defence, SPNI, Green Course, Shatil, and several smaller local activist groups. The coalition is organising events in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Be’ersheva, Haifa, Nazareth and Modi’in, to present their plan.

The Heschel Center in Tel Aviv is supporting the campaign, and is offering all political leaders seminars to familiarise them with environmental issues and strategies. Orly Ronen, deputy head of the Heschel Center, said that most politicians were adept at “talking green,” but the gap between ‘green spin’ and real positive environmental action remains wide.

The four demands that the coalition has drawn up are:

– cleaner air: a 15% reduction in air pollution and greenhouse gases every year Country-wide

– open space for residential areas: every home should be within a 5 minute walk of a park or urban green space

– leave the car at home: creating City & Country-wide cycle paths as well as improved walkways, and improving public transport

– green for everyone: a minimum 25% increase in environmental infrastructure for poorer neighbourhoods

‘Green Now!’ have vowed to monitor each mayoral candidates green credentials, and follow up with them after the elections have taken place.  Green Prophet salutes the ‘Green Now!’ coalition, and hopes that future mayors translate the plans into actions, and that green Cities spawn across Israel.

Original article from the Jerusalem Post

Green Prophet related posts: 15 Cities pledge to cut back back emmissions

Scary video of air pollution in Haifa 

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