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Boost the budget!

November 27, 2007

We were doing a bit of research the other day and came across some statistics that illustrate quite clearly the dire situation of environmental regulation in Israel.

– Finland’s environment policy budget is €980 million in 2007, which includes €10 million towards a new pollution-fighting vessel for the Baltic Sea.
– The total budget for Netherlands Spatial Planning and the Environment Ministry for 2008 is approximately €1.3 billion.
– In Israel, the Ministry of the Environment has been guaranteed a grand total of 145 million shekels (or approximately €25 million… down 19 percent from 2007). And, assuming the Ministry meets certain conditions, it will receive another 110 million shekels (or approximately €19 million). Making the potential budget of Israel’s Ministry of the Environment a whopping 255 million shekels or €44 million.

The green “trend”, as some might call it, has hit the political scene here in Israel with members of Knesset all hoping to be the next Al Gore. This recent editorial piece is an excellent illustration of the long path ahead for raising environmental awareness and literacy among those in government. The amazing realization of Likud party members over the fact that organic food is not only good for you, but tastes good too is one small step in the right direction.

But may we suggest the next step? Increase funding for Israel’s Ministry of the Environment. Provide them with enough strength to stand up to big-business polluters and to conduct widespread education in Israel’s school system. Perhaps then our next generation will have clean water to swim in and leaders who see the need for environmental protection and sustainable development as not just a tool for achieving a Nobel Prize, but also means of providing a safe, lasting home for many years to come.

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