“The human being is a tree of the field ” the Bible states. In fact, the Jewish calendar reserves one day each year, the “New Year for Trees” on the 15th of Shevat, for us to contemplate our connection with nature and the environment.
The Issue of Climate Change, Carbon Reduction, Water, Agriculture, and Food is now attracting worldwide attention. We are seeing an increased awareness around the world in the battle for Climate Carbon Mitigation by Governments, NGO’s and Companies to towards at zero-emission policy
This is led by the UN sustainable Goals and rising awareness of ESG/Impact. I have started sharing insights “Where Innovation and Meets ESG/Impact”. See my blog page https://innovation-esg.medium.com/a-deeper-look-at-where-innovation-meets-esg-impact-e7df4ebdc085.
One of the key ways of reaching Zero Emissions is by Tree Planting and Reforestation, Today there is The UN-REDD Program is the United Nations Collaborative Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) in developing countries. https://www.unredd.net/
Of course, in Israel, the Jewish National Fund (JNF / KKL) which began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people has been a leader in Forestation / Tree Planting for over 100 years. The JNF has launched a campaign for urban trees which are a vital part of the landscape of towns and cities, especially in Israel’s arid Negev desert region, and their benefit is felt immediately by those living nearby. By planting trees in parks, streets, and schools in Israel, we can improve people’s quality of life instantly. Trees beautify the landscape and provide much-needed shade and cleaner air. In addition, these are a key part of UN Sustainable Goal – no 11.
I want to share some history of leading Israeli Environment Innovation over the last 100 years or so. When the earlier pioneers of Israel came to Israel, they had turn unhabitable land into a fertile country. They had to overcome many hardships but these early forefathers of Israel planted the seeds of a great Agriculture Society and adopted Innovation. As early as 1906 Aaron Aaronson discovered specimens of wild wheat (triticum dicocoides) at Rosh Pinah, a discovery was the basis for the development of cultivated wheat throughout the world.
With that intro, let’s look at some history of Israel Agriculture Innovation
Drip irrigation systems – The huge worldwide industry of modern drip irrigation all began when Israeli engineer Simcha Blass noticed a tree growing bigger than its neighbors in the Israeli desert, and found that it was fed by a leaking water pipe. Netafim, the company founded in 1965 to commercialize his idea, is recognized as the worldwide pioneer in smart drip- and micro-irrigation. It has revolutionized the agricultural industry. https://www.netafim.com/en/
Hybrid cucumber seeds – In the 1950s, Prof. Esra Galun of the Weizmann Institute developed hybrid seed production of cucumbers and melons, disease-resistant cucumbers and cucumbers suitable for mechanical harvesting. Galun and his colleagues invented a technique for producing hybrid cucumber seeds without hand pollination.
Grain cocoons – invented by international food technology consultant Professor Shlomo Navarro, the GrainPro Cocoons provide a simple and cheap way for African and Asian farmers to keep their grain market-fresh, as huge bags keep both water and air out, making sure the harvest is clean and protected even in extreme heat and humidity.
Biological pest control – invented in Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu by a company called Bio-Bee, it breeds beneficial insects and mites for biological pest control and bumblebees for natural pollination in greenhouses and open fields. The company’s top seller worldwide and especially in the U.S. is a two-millimeter-long, pear-shaped orange spider that is a highly efficient enemy of the spider mite, a devastating agricultural pest. https://www.biobee.com/
AKOL – a Kibbutz-based Technology company that gives low-income farmers the ability to get top-level information from professional sources. https://akologic.info/
Reusable plastic trays – a Tal-Ya Water Technologies invention used to collect dew from the air, reducing the need to water crops by up to 50 percent. http://www.tal-ya.com
TraitUP – a new technology that enables the introduction of genetic materials into seeds without modifying their DNA, immediately and efficiently improving plants before they’re even sowed. It was developed by Hebrew University agricultural scientists Ilan Sela and Haim D. Rabinowitch.
Judean date palm – oldest seed ever to be revived, restoring an extinct cultivar. Dr. Elaine Solowey successfully germinated and grew six formerly-extinct date palm trees from ancient seeds preserved in archaeological sites, replicating her 2005 success with her original ancient date palm, Methuselah. These trees made international headlines in 2020 when she was published in the journal Science Advances and featured in the New York Times.
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The Tomaccio cherry tomato was developed by several Israeli laboratories, the dominant ones being those led by Professor Nahum Keidar and Professor Chaim Rabinovitch from the Agriculture Faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot Campus.
More recently we have seen SeeTree who raised a total of $30 million in Series B funding, with the World Bank‘s International Finance Corporation (IFC) leading the round. , See Tree e helps farmers optimize everything their trees do from agronomic and business decisions, to the management of farming operations, SeeTree provides farmers with the most advanced data and intelligence network in Agtech. https://www.seetree.ai/
We have seen the rise of the Israel FoodTech Industry looking at alternatives to meat as the breeding of cattle is one of the world’s biggest sources of climate-altering gases,. This is a very hot area, and we have seen the establishment of incubators in this area. One such example is http://www.foodtechisrael.com/?lang=en
Food Waste is a big problem not only in Israel but worldwide – There is a need to rescue surplus food for those in need. An estimated NIS 3.2 Billion wasted in Israel each year. https://www.leket.org/en/food-waste-and-rescue-report
Image Source – https://www.lifefoster.eu
Another area where Israel is rising to the challenge is Waste Recycling. Currently, roughly 80% of Israel’s waste is buried, and the remainder is recycled. We are seeing a number of Startups with Innovation to tackle this problem, such as UBQ™ has developed a revolutionary solution that converts Residual Municipal Solid Waste, destined for landfills, into the novel and patented UBQ™ Material Plastic https://www.ubqmaterials.com
All in all, there is a lot happening in Israel Environment Innovation. From energy and water sectors, other environmental technology sectors include smart and sustainable transportation, waste resource management, and advanced industrial manufacturing that streamlines raw materials usage, and smart grids.
Call to Action
I am currently involved in a few initiatives relating to Carbon Reduction and Environment Innovation. Feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com to help make an impact.