By Alon Tal
35 b/w photos, 1 map almost undeveloped 100 years in the past, Israel, the promised "land of milk and honey," is in ecological disarray. during this gripping booklet, Alon Tal provides--for the 1st time ever--a heritage of environmentalism in Israel, interviewing enormous quantities of specialists and activists who've made it their project to maintain the country's awesome improvement sustainable amid a century of political and cultural turmoil. the fashionable Zionist imaginative and prescient all started as a quest to redeem a land that bore the cumulative results of 2 thousand years of overseas domination and overlook. in view that then, Israel has suffered from its luck. A tenfold bring up in inhabitants and traditional of residing has polluted the air. The deserts have bloomed yet groundwater has turn into infected. city sprawl threatens to pave over a lot of the country's breathtaking panorama. but there's desire. Tal's account considers the ecological and tactical classes that emerge from dozens of circumstances of environmental mishaps, from habitat loss to river reclamation. toxins in a Promised Land argues that the priorities and methods of Israeli environmental advocates needs to handle matters past conventional eco-friendly agendas.
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Extra info for Pollution in a Promised Land: An Environmental History of Israel
The Yishuv succeeded in leaving a distinct environmental ethic as an integral part of the Jewish national culture it reinvented. It is sometimes argued that Israel’s environmental problems stem from a failure of Zionism. According to this view, Israelis still carry with them a conscious or subconscious alienation from public spaces which they inherited from the Diaspora. While in exile, the Jew felt unsafe when venturing out into the street or the forest, and thus the home became a fortress—clean, safe, and totally cut off from the natural world.
35 For many, a key element of this nostalgia was the lush scenery of Eastern Europe. One way to overcome the sense of alienation and the resulting cognitive dissonance was to transform nature into a more hospitable, or at least more familiar, form. tal 2002-03-22 09:56 Page 29 Reclaiming a Homeland / 29 local conditions are expressed in the fundamentally European styles of music, art, dance, theater, and literature of the Yishuv. Efforts to integrate local, Middle Eastern culture were only symbolic and peripheral.
There is hardly a nation on earth where the ecological destruction wrought by the twentieth century has not exceeded all previous anthropogenic harm throughout human history. Moreover, the magnitude of the damage is less important than understanding how environmental conditions deteriorated, if we are to ever begin the process of restoration. Understanding the Zionist vision is part of the diagnosis. How it might be transformed into a more environmentally friendly form must be part of the cure.
Pollution in a Promised Land: An Environmental History of Israel by Alon Tal