The "Green Hive" aims to shape 2013 municipal elections

Green Hive

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Israel and the environmental organization "Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel" (SPNI) share similar interest in elevating environmental awareness, implementing green principals in local development policies and strengthening the network of green activists and organizations in Israel. As a result, the Green Hive was born. 

The Green Hive aims to strengthen local democracy and transparency, to monitor decision making procedures and to insure environmental pledges given during election campaigns are kept. The project's activities engage residences from diverse ethnic groups and backgrounds, in a joint social-environmental action. The Green Hive brings people of diverse backgrounds together, with shared interests and values in protecting nature that is virtually in their back yards.

This project is crucial in 2013 due to this year’s municipal elections. This project ensures transparency, public involvement and accessible information regarding decisions taken in environmental issues by local politicians in Israel's largest metropolis. However, we aspire to leverage achievements from 2013 and to carry this project in the future in order to ensure the implementation of healthy democratic norms and environmental agenda.

On June 18th, we hosted our first Green Hive event, in which over 90 environmental activists from across the country discussed ways to increase environmental awareness towards 2013 municipal elections in Israel. SPNI introduced its policy paper on issues of urban sustainability in Israel, which will be a significant tool in our public work.

The policy paper which was released by SPNI and fellow environmental organizations, dealt with important current issues which were compiled after an intensive survey conducted by our urban planners. Some of the topics touched on national issues: global and national environmental trends, the issue of open spaces in cities, the state of urban nature in Israel, international treaties that have influenced SPNI’s views and various principles of urban environmental management.

The second section of the report goes into topics on the local level and especially in central cities where SPNI is active. Examples of issues discussed include: residential construction, infrastructure development, local planning and the conduct of committees and forums dealing with sustainability and the environment. The last two elements represent aspects of the quality of government: transparency, accountability of local authority and the manner of their public behavior.

The symposium included three expert panels that gave practical tools to the activists. The panels mostly discussed social media, delivering a message and other approaches and platforms of engaging new audiences. At the end of the event, the head of the local SPNI offices in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, gave an overview of the numerous projects that they run and successful examples for environmental campaigns were analyzed. The positive conclusion of the evening was therefore: "Yes, we can go green".