Canada: Holiday Gifts: Reduce Carbon Footprint And Build Peace?

Last Updated: December 20 2012
Article by Dianne Saxe

Dear friends and faithful readers,

Here are two ideas for easy holiday gifts that make the world a better place: a local option, and one in the Middle East. (We have no financial stake in either.)

The local option is the exciting project, Evergreen at the Brickworks. It is becoming everything we hoped for it, and a model for green cities: http://ebw.evergreen.ca. Gifts of Nature (trees) can be planted through the website, and the physical onsite store sells dozens of delicious, local, sustainable treats that support farmers and artisans around the GTA. Each has a small carbon footprint. The sales help to support Evergreen's programs, which include powerful experiences that introduce underprivileged GTA youth to nature. And our clients have raved about the treats.

In the hope of building peace in the Middle East and a smaller carbon footprint, we also purchased offsets through an innovative Israeli program. This Jewish-Arab team helps Bedouin switch from dirty, unreliable diesel to solar power: www.goodenergy.org.il. It thus does something to help on two challenging issues: the place of Arabs in Israel and Climate Change. Read what the founders say:

"POWER OF THE SUN begins by observing that many Bedouin do not have acceptable "deeds" to their lands and as such can't access home equity loans or government services like water, roads or electricity. They make do as best they can and for electricity they run diesel generators. It is around these generators that our two issues converge:

Diesel generators are one of the dirtiest forms of electricity known to man. They are noisy, polluting, and prone to spillage, carcinogenic and prodigious emitters of greenhouse gases. They are so expensive that they are only run four hours a day — most Bedouin have no power for the other 20 hours. Our project allows them to disconnect this toxic technology and switch to clean, quiet, 24 hour solar power. In so doing we provide more computer time for children's homework, more light for mother's housework, more power for home businesses and refrigeration so medicines remain effective (and hospital visits are reduced).

POWER OF THE SUN works by calculating the CO2 That Will Not Be Emitted because a given diesel generator is displaced by solar panels. This quantity is verified and expressed as certified carbon offsets. These are sold to anyone who wants to 'neutralize' their greenhouse gases. The proceeds from the sale subsidize the purchase of the solar panels so the Bedouin pay about the same for solar as they formerly paid for diesel.

While this project's main purpose is CO2 reduction, it also contains significant peace building possibilities. Through its intercultural origins the project is a microcosm of the Middle East: Over the years it took to launch, forward-looking Jews worked tirelessly with and learned to depend on a small group of Bedouin village elders. All of them had to overcome major trust barriers to make it happen. To illustrate the trust deficit, initially no ordinary Bedouin would sign on to the obvious benefits of changing their 4-hour-a-day diesel for 24-hour solar (at no extra cost). Not until four months after a trusted elder had a system installed and working on his house did the first ordinary Bedouins stepped forward.

But there is more here than a few people learning to trust each other across a reinforced cultural divide. There is the issue of how Israel is seen by its neighbours, particularly the "Arab street". To the average Arab in the countries around Israel there are few political issues more important than how Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are being treated. These are essentially the same people as the Israeli Bedouin.

By improving the living conditions of the Negev Bedouin, Israel seizes some of the high moral ground in this debate. It shows that it cares about its minorities and in particular that it is willing to treat its internal Palestinians with dignity and respect. As it now stands Israel is vulnerable to the charge that it tolerates third world living conditions for its Arab citizens. POWER OF THE SUN not only improves the living conditions of these marginalized people, but, if implemented broadly, would allow Jewish culture to compare itself favourably with less tolerant Middle Eastern cultures. In the court of world public opinion it only benefits Israel to show that Israeli Arabs are able to enjoy modern civilized lives.

This project allows GEI and Bedouin leaders to reduce CO2 while inviting these former desert dwellers into the educational, health, business and social life of contemporary Israel."

And here are MORE details:

"the project is PLANNED to produce 11,000 tons CO2eq from the first 90 families we recruit. Out of this number we have installed 60, and have sold carbon credits from 30 systems (20 with sick or disabled members to the Negev Institute for economic development – NISPED, and 10 to Kata-Manfrotto bag company). We are trying to sell carbon for the next 30 installations.

Each family produces 122 tons CO2 over the project's lifetime as assessed and approved by both the international DNV carbon verifier, and by BDO-Israel – as a third party. When this sells at 17$ per ton it generates 2074 USD or 7880 NIS

Each subsidy is worth 5000 NIS. The rest of the money is used for project expenses including locating the family, explaining, negotiating, diesel-use figuring, contracting, installation monitoring, and long term monitoring for 25 years – as is required by the CDM guidelines for these types of projects.

The panels are installed all right. We are there to install them personally with Interdan – or visit each and every system within 2 months of installation. We visit each proposed site beforehand to see the diesel generator, electric system, and lack of PV. This is why the project expenses are rather high – jacking up the price of carbon. 2 visits per household at least to insure the process, and 3 more visits to monitor over the years.

Money loans are paid back – just like all the microloans system work – way better than the normal banking loan return rate. Planetfinance gives the loans, and collects them in order to re-distribute them to other members of the community. This cycle puts a social pressure to return the loans according to plan – because your neighbor/cousin/brother is probably waiting for the loan for their PV. The loans CAN be paid because the PV saves diesel costs – and they understand it very well.

The Bedouins know they get help from Jews and non-Jews in Israel and abroad – both for their microloans, and for their carbon subsidy. We have been working VERY hard to make them feel proud about selling carbon subsidies – because its an environmental benefit that they create. Its different than a loan. Still – they know that it's a good good opportunity created by eco and peace supporters, mainly abroad.

Nevertheless – they know, see and feel that Jewish NGO's like GEI, PlanetFinance Israel, and NISPED are helping out against all odds, and unlike the State. They see that and are thankful about it.

Which brings us to the most difficult and subjective answer about the peace-bringing value of this project. I had a staff meeting this morning about this and we all agreed to declare that this project is a heart-opening, hope bringing project – done by people, for the benefit of people. The Issue of Jewish-Muslim peace is too large and vulnerable, and beyond our reach. It's a definite step in the right direction. Its definitely adding to peace between humans and the planet. Less crude oil is less friction and funding of terror-supporting regimes, and happier Bedouin citizens are a lot less prone to negative actions – but we cannot fully pledge to more than that.

As true as I can be on it

Love and Happy Chanukka

Eyal"

I found this inspiring, and hope you do too. Go ahead, buy a tree or an offset... please.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Dianne Saxe
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions