Pollution in a Promised Land: An Environmental History of Israel

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University of California Press, Aug 1, 2002 - Nature - 564 pages
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Virtually undeveloped one hundred years ago, Israel, the promised "land of milk and honey," is in ecological disarray. In this gripping book, Alon Tal provides--for the first time ever--a history of environmentalism in Israel, interviewing hundreds of experts and activists who have made it their mission to keep the country's remarkable development sustainable amid a century of political and cultural turmoil.

The modern Zionist vision began as a quest to redeem a land that bore the cumulative effects of two thousand years of foreign domination and neglect. Since then, Israel has suffered from its success. A tenfold increase in population and standard of living has polluted the air. The deserts have bloomed but groundwater has become contaminated. Urban sprawl threatens to pave over much of the country's breathtaking landscape. Yet there is hope. Tal's account considers the ecological and tactical lessons that emerge from dozens of cases of environmental mishaps, from habitat loss to river reclamation. Pollution in a Promised Land argues that the priorities and strategies of Israeli environmental advocates must address issues beyond traditional green agendas.
 

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Contents

The Pathology of a Polluted River An Introduction to Israels Environmental Crises
3
Reclaiming a Homeland Zionisms Mixed Ecological Message
21
Palestines Environment 19001949 Prelude to Disaster or Benign HalfCentury?
37
The Forests Many Shades of Green
71
The Emergence of an Israeli Environmental Movement
115
A General Launches a War for Wildlife
157
The Quantity and Quality of Israels Water Resources
201
Israels Urban Environment 19481988 The Politics of Neglect
245
A Ministry of the Environment Comes of Age
285
Israel Arabs and the Environment
329
Environmental Activism Hits Its Stride
369
Toward a Sustainable Future?
407
Notes
437
Index
519
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About the author (2002)

Alon Tal is founder of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and chairman of Life and Environment, an umbrella group for Israel's eighty environmental organizations. He has a law degree from Hebrew University and a doctorate from the Harvard School of Public Health.

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