The environmental movement in Israel is wide and diverse. It includes activists, various grassroots groups and organizations, as well as academics, governmental and non-governmental institutions. Some of the organizations involved in the environmental movement are for-profit, as well as many non-profit associations.
Founded in 1975, Life and Environment is a long-standing membership organization that includes most of the non-profit organizations in Israel’s environmental movement. Our role as the umbrella for Israel’s environmental organizations is to build a broad, diverse, effective and participatory environmental movement in order to bring about profound social and cultural change, based on a clear ideological concept on the one hand, and factual and scientific grounds, on the other.
Life and Environment, is driven by a number of key values:
- Long-term vision for future generations – the understanding that future generations must be taken into account in every personal and public decision, even at the cost of giving up convenience at present.
- Equality – The concept of equality in the context of the environmental movement includes three dimensions: 1. reciprocity – social gaps lead to environmental crisis and vice versa; 2. equality must be intergenerational (ensuring that future generations will have what we have); 3. equality must apply also to other living creatures and natural ecosystems.
- Social ecology – Ecosystems exist thanks to the information they harness and the interaction between their individual entities. Diversity and mutual responsibility are essential for human and social existence.
- Nonviolence and non-aggression – Humans should not take over land and the environment nor should they control others. The exploitation of living creatures and the environment is not sustainable and is slated for failure, because those who are exploited are likely to eventually rebel.
- Humility and modesty – Ecological wisdom and gifts offered by nature must be valued and respected. The practice of humility is translated to modesty, reduced consumption, being content with less, and voluntary simplicity.
Life and Environment is focused on consolidating the environmental movement along four dimensions:
- Instrumental dimension:
- Build its foundations based on shared resources.
- Create structured cooperation within the environmental movement.
- Create support services for member organizations and initiatives.
- Strategic dimension:
- Revisit the change strategy of each member organization.
- Revisit the change strategy of the environmental movement as a whole.
- Ideological and ethical dimension:
- Engage in ideological discussions while defining personal and organizational values.
- Create the entire movement’s vision.
- Symbols and rituals:
- Design formative events for the environmental movement.
- Create shared ethos and symbols.
We believe that the role of the environmental movement is to take a critical view of the current situation, on the one hand, and be visionary, on the other. This vision should mobilize as many people as possible, while believing in their ability to bring about the desired change based on the aforementioned values.
The environmental movement must challenge the current system, create cultural alternatives that emerge from below, and sow the seeds of change.