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The Sheli Fund [Annual Conference]

Environmental Power Conference 1999-2004 

With the support of the Green Fund, every year at the end of
winter SHATIL organized an environmental conference in Israel.
The first conference took place in 1999, after a decade of
growth and development in the environmental movement set the
stage for a countrywide event of this kind. Since then, the
conference has fast become a central event in the Israeli
environmental movement, with more than 300 people participating
annually. The conference provides activists with a unique
opportunity to network, create new contacts, share information,
and undertake joint projects, thereby strengthening environmental

Topics addressed at the first conference included open spaces, shore
protection, air and water pollution, and public participation in planning. People
were also introduced to activism tools such as building coalitions and
partnerships, and utilizing legal and planning mechanisms. Participants at this
first annual conference overwhelmingly indicated its importance and
usefulness to the movement.

The second annual conference was held in 2000 and dealt with the
connection between environmental and social issues. Sammy Michael, the
writer, introduced the day, which was spent learning about environmental
justice, the local effects of globalization, and examples of cooperation
between Jewish and Arab activists. The final session focused on the
important role of the media in the movement.

In 2001, the conference focused on environmental organizations in the
context of civil society. Professors Arza Churchman and Elisheva Sadan gave
an opening lecture on the different functions of the individual and the
community in environmental issues and in civil society. Topics discussed
included the connection between the environment and politics, and between
quality government and environmental protection. In addition, the conference
focused on pressing current challenges such as the struggle against the
Cross Israel Highway. The final session focused on the public sector and the
establishment, and their roles as either rivals or partners to the environmental

The fourth environmental conference dealt with "Agenda 21" in preparation for
the global summit in Johannesburg. The opening address was titled
"Existence: Business Unusual" by Dr. Lea Ettinger from Heschel Center and
"Harmonious Environmental Protection" by Shlomo Shoham, the Knesset's
Commission for Future Generations. Study groups considered the major
accomplishments and setbacks that took place between the Rio Summit in
1992 and that in Johannesburg a decade later. Recurring topics such as the
challenge to open spaces and air pollution were discussed along with other
critical issues such as transportation, food and agriculture. The closing
session of the conference dealt with current events and their role in the local
municipal elections.

The fifth conference, in 2003, was held in the Hatikva neighborhood of Tel
Aviv, one of the city's poorer areas, to help participants focus on the role of
the city in the environmental movement. Topics that were addressed included
coexistence between residents and businesses in an urban setting, the role of
green parties in municipal government, consumerism and the temptations of a
city, and the question of restoring to a city some of its former charm. The
conference concluded with a Florentine circus that integrated different poems
about Tel Aviv.
Since 2004 and the realization that the environmental movement is s trong and well connected movement, the conference evolved into The Grren Globe Award, led by Life and Environment, the umbrela organization of environmental NGO's in Israel.

The Green Globe is awarded for excellence in environmental action and public health. Competition is open to individuals, companies and other groups which, in their activity have contributed significantly to the environment and public health in Israel. This is now the fourth year this competition is running and selection is done via a public committee of heads of organizations in a broad and inclusive process.

The event is an opportunity for the environmental movement to create unity around a common and central agenda. It places the movement in a position of power, where it is granting recognition awards for public health and the environment. Such an event normally attracts much media and public interest. Over the past two years, in addition to the hundreds of activists from around the country, there has been participation of Prime ministers, MPs, mayors and senior people from the business sector.

This year:
Life and Environment, Israel Union of Environmental NGOs, celebrated World Environment Day 2007 with its annual Green Globe Award Ceremony. Hundreds of environmental leaders and activists gathered in a Tel Aviv theater to attend the stimulating annual ceremony, in which champions of environmental defense are awarded the Green Globe Award. Among the honorable guests were the Minister of Environmental Defense and the Mayors of both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

This year, the Green Globe was awarded to: a coalition of civic groups, which succeeded in its campaign against a major building plan that had potentially devastating consequences concerning the urban structure of Jerusalem as well as its surrounding natural environment; the founder of the first-of-its-kind Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) environmental NGO; a woman leading a 15-Year long battle against Asbestos pollution; a Jewish-Arab coalition operating in the Galilee; and the Israeli-based Solel Solar systems Ltd., a world leader in the development and implementation of solar thermal technology. Ninety three year old former MK Yosef Tamir, known as 'the Israeli Mr. Environment', was awarded a special prize for his life's work and achievements.

the Green Globe Ceremony was folowed by a major media campaign . Every major television and radio station, as well as national and local newspapers, dedicated wide-scale coverage of World Environment Day, including in-depth discussion of local environmental issues and, of course, the 2007 Green Globe Ceremony itself.