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    PM's zoning reform 'wins' Black Globe prize
    Israel's green NGOs give annual Green Globe excellence award to various groups, individuals; Netanyahu's planning bill named 'worst environmental idea' of 2012

    Israel's environmental groups held the 2012 Green Globe awards on Sunday, honoring – and criticizing – various environmental and ecological endeavors.


    The event was held as part of Israel's participation in Earth Hour events.


    The ceremony, held for the ninth year, was orchestrated by Life and Environment, the Israeli union of environmental NGOs, and honored excellence in nine categories.


    The 10th category – the Black Globe – marks what the group calls the "worst environmental idea" of the year.


    The Green Globe for Best Environmental Practices went to the Beit Netufa Towns Association for Environmental Quality, for its overall efforts within its six communities and 75,000 residents.


    The Green Globe for Local Sustainability was awarded to the City of Tel Aviv, for its Tel-Cycle project – the city's bicycle rental service, which the judges said was "a huge success, even on an international level." The project, which is only one year old, already has 16,000 regular subscribers.


    The Individual Environmental Effort award was awarded to Avihai Shelli, a blind man who fought for a new, direct bus line from Tel Aviv to the western Negev. The line now serves over 100,000 of the area's residents.


    תל אופן - פרויקט השכרת האופניים של ת"א (צילום: ארגון חיים וסביבה)

    A Tel-Cycle station (Photo: Life and Environment)


    The Israeli Forum for the Protection of Beaches was awarded the Green Globe for shoreline protection, for its efforts to protect public beaches from real estate moguls.


    The Green Globe for Environmental Efforts in the Business Sector went to Termokir Ltd – a green construction company.


    The Green Globe for Environmental Education went to two elementary schools in the Israeli Arab towns of Qalansuwa and Kfar Qassem for their efforts to incorporate environmental values in their curriculums.


    The Israel Bio-Organic Agriculture Association (IBOAA) was awarded the Green Globe in the sustainable food category. IBOAA has 550 members.


    Knesset Member Dov Khenin (Hadash) was also awarded a prize for his efforts on behalf of various environmental projects as a public officer.


    The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Green Globe was awarded to Dr. Martin Weil, CEO of the Beracha Foundation, "For his environmental initiative to restore the Hiriya waste dump and the creative ways in which he was able to rally political support and funding for the project.


    "Dr. Weil's personal efforts were able to turn a huge environmental hazard into a resource. His insistence on every aspect of the area's restoration and its upgrade are inspiring," the judges said.


    פעילי סביבה מוחים נגד הולילנד (צילום: מגמה ירוקה)

    Protesting the zoning reform (Phofo: Green Trend)


    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, was the recipient of the Black Globe, over his zoning and construction reform. This was the bill's second dubious win since 2010.


    The reform, the judges said, "Crushes the existing hierarchy of the planning process and violates laws meant to protect both the public and the environment via a delicate balance.


    "It allows those with power and money to impact the lives of each and every one of us by diminishing the Environmental Protection Ministry's authority and creating the basis by which the environment in general, and open spaces in particular, can be infringed upon."



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    Photo: Life and Environment
    Photo: Life and Environment