We inform and enforce the human imperative to protect our world.
Citizens for the Environment is one of the primary organizations that work to preserve and protect the environment in Israel so as to ensure the health of Israel's citizenry. We believe in the strength of a united public to ensure environmental protection and public welfare: we promote industrial transparency, develop environmental protection law, prosecute environmental offenders, and rally the public in support of a safer environment.
Environmental preservation chronically falls by the wayside in Israel, precipitating grave and perhaps irreversible health hazards. Serious environmental felonies are perpetrated by Israeli corporations because industrial activity is unmonitored, and because too many turn a blind eye. The state is in a constant battle for its security, economy, and social character. For many, the impact of environmental preservation on the health and wellbeing of citizens pales in comparison. To compound the issue, Israeli industry is notorious for closeting information with the “blind” support of government and media. Thus the public is neither aware of, nor can it take action against, ruinous environmental practices. The result is the unfettered endangering of public health.
Who We Are
Citizens for the Environment (CFE) was established in 1990 as a social/environmental NGO that works to protect Israel's environment so as to ensure public health and welfare. We are led by a group of concerned Jewish and Arab citizens that champion public awareness of deleterious practices which cause far-reaching harm to Israel's environment, to the detriment of human health and wellness. We bring the environment and public health to the fore of government policy on the national and municipal level. CFE has succeeded in shifting the environmental policies of many industrialplants and has gone as far as creating legislation to enforce environmental protection. In 2013, The Leo Baeck School in Haifa awarded CFE the prestigious “Tikun Olam” prize. Public support of our activities climbs daily through social media, and the scope of our activities grows steadily each year.
Areas of Activity
1. Environmental Transparency: Research and Publicity
Our foundation for the study of the relationship between environment and public health conducts meticulous, in-depth research of environmental offenses and their dangers in Israel. Our professional, published finds enable us to affect legislation, law enforcement, and public awareness. Our research and public campaigns have brought about practical changes in the treatment of Israel’s environment, with a direct beneficial impact on citizens' health and wellbeing.
Research and Awareness: To date, we have published six extensive reports on industry offences to the environment, on exposure to harmful substances in the workplace, and on municipal transparency as relates to the environment. In the coming year, we will focus on the Haifa Industrial Zone, an area that currently endangers the environment and the lives of thousands.
Legislation: In 2005, we successfully brought about legislation for freedom of information: municipalities are now required to make environmental information (water/air pollution, levels of radiation, etc.) available to the public. Our legislation protects citizens’ right to choose safe residences, and to lobby in support of safe practices. We are currently pursuing prosecution of municipalities that refuse to comply with the law.
Publicity: We run a website that gathered 37,000 hits in only six months, and we spearhead environmental leadership campaigns. Recent elections saw us affect close to 100 government leaders who pledged to place environmental protection on their legislative agendas.
2. Conspicuous Consumption: Multi-Faceted Campaigns:We operate several campaigns to raise public awareness about today’s consumer culture and the effects of pollution and unsustainable consumption on long-term human wellness. Through online publicity (information and graphics), social and public media, conferences, and crowd campaigns we encourage consumers to pay attention and to reduce consumption and pollution through needless purchases. This past year we ran a crowd funding campaign that gathered the support of 200 individuals and three entire kibbutz communities.
3. Lifestyle of Sustainability – Health Education for Healthy Habits: Environmental sustainability and personal health and wellbeing are a mutually complimentary aim, attainable through healthful nutrition habits. To this end, we have developed a social education initiative which provides information to the public on the detrimental impact of highly processed and artificial foods. We also provide workshops for the wider public on healthful food preparation using locally grown produce. A qualified food engineer will lead research harmful practices in Israel’s food industry and lobby for safe food production policies, including farming customs and unhealthy additives in processed and “fresh” food.
4. Yizhar Fund for Environmental Social Entrepreneurship: The Yizhar Fund, named after our founder Yizhar Reshef may his memory be blessed, advances environmental activism through grant opportunities. We partner with students in academic departments across the spectrum in launching ventures based in their field of specialization which will directly and positively impact society.
Jamila and Liora, co-directors of CFE Discuss the political Situation