Who would think that Switzerland and Israel have anything in common?
Switzerland brings to mind lush mountains, flowing streams and delicious chocolate. Israel has the well known (and personally loved) chocolad para but it doesn’t quite compare.
I guess it takes a diplomat to make the connection.
Monika Schmutz-Kirgöz, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Swiss Embassy, found ways to link Israel and Switzerland when she opened the international conference on “Green Architecture and Urban Sustainability: From Switzerland to Tel Aviv” at Tel Aviv University last week.
Apparently, the two nations have the same number of people, a lack of natural resources, and a strong R&D record. Also, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) has built an eco-building on their campus, as will TAU’s Porter School of Environmental Studies.
Both buildings are designed to include housing for university facilities as well as teaching labs for renewable energy.
Arch. Mark Zimmermann, a senior lecturer at the ETH Zurich, spoke about the ETH eco-building and also introduced the 2000 Watt Society, a concept created by Novatlantis, which depicts prosperity and sustainability in a society that uses only 2000 watts of energy per person.
Typical of European thinking, the 2000 Watt Society represents a long term strategy with short term goals to further a sustainable lifestyle.
The concept seems to be well supported in Switzerland; recently 70% of the population in Zurich voted in support of putting the 2000 Watt concept into practice.
In energy consumption, perhaps Israel could think a little more Swiss.
This guest post was written for Green Prophet by Jennifer Garr from the The Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University. The School offers degrees in Environmental Studies at PhD, Master’s and post-doc levels, and grants scholarships to its students.
[image via daveclark]