But on the other hand, chemical-dependent intensive farming has polluted Israel’s soil and groundwater, not to mention putting the safety of farmers at risk of exposure to pesticides.
So it’s timely that Tel Aviv University’s Porter School for Environmental Studies is hosting a symposium this week (Wednesday 8 April) on environmental technology research, including the issues of renewable energy and environmental rehabilitation.
However, a cursory glance at the programme includes topics on the wonders of biofuels and genetically-modified crops. Could this be a case of greenwash?
Less than a week ago reports came through that turning over millions of hectares of food crops to produce biofuels has contributed to soaring food prices and worsening global food security. According to the Earth Policy Institute, land used to grown biofuels in the US alone in the last two years would have fed nearly 250 million people with average grain needs. Other drawbacks of biofuels are that they are far from ‘sustainable’, typically being grown with large inputs of artificial fertiliser and pesticides (therefore consuming energy and oil).
Sustaining the earth’s natural resources for future generations doesn’t mean being a technophobe. But we should be wary of ‘magic bullets’ to environmental problems which may serve to mask the symptoms rather than tackling the causes.