SPNI-Jerusalem leads and provides the headquarters for Sustainable Jerusalem (SJ), a coalition of more than 50 grassroots environmental and action committees. Under SPNI-Jerusalem’s leadership, SJ works to ensure that growth in the capitol is based on principles of sustainable development with the participation and input of its residents.
SJ Projects Include:
- Gazelle Valley – Gazelles trapped by roads from all sides have made a home in a 25-acre valley in Southern Jerusalem. SPNI-Jerusalem and nearby residents are working to preserve the site for the animals and build a nature and education center for all city residents to enjoy. Development plans for this tract have been defeated in recent years, but continued pressure to build on this unique habitat exists.
- Wildflower Sanctuary: –
Residents of Neve Yaacov, SPNI, and other supporters have transformed a 5-acre site that was once used as an illegal dumping ground into the first of its kind wildflower sanctuary with over 55 native trees and plants. The site is quickly becoming a recreation and education attraction.
- Cisterns – In Jerusalem, some 11,000 cisterns that once provided water for tens of thousands city homes are neglected or blocked off. SPNI-Jerusalem’s cistern restoration project intends to use this valuable source of non-potable water for gardens and other purposes.
- Community Gardens and Composting – Led by SJ, Jerusalem’s diverse population is working together to convert over 20 abandoned plots into beautiful and productive community gardens. Plans are also underway to establish compost sites at each garden with an accessible drop-off container, so that locals can dispose of their organic waste in the compost pile, rather than in landfills.
- Community Television – Sviv Ha-Teva is a monthly program produced by volunteers to educate communities about their surrounding environment and encourages people to become involved in public campaigns.
- Environmental Education – SPNI-Jerusalem has developed an innovative environmental curriculum for schools, using concepts of environmental protection, such as waste reduction, resource conservation, and sustainable agricultural techniques. The curricula are tailored to the needs of each school and surrounding area.
- Green Map – Jerusalem’s Green Map will increase awareness of urban ecology by identifying environmentally friendly accommodations, pedestrian trails, walking tours and more.
- Green Healthy Housing – Most dwellings in Israel are owner-occupied apartment buildings built years ago. The Green Healthy Housing Project, the first of its kind in Israel, is intended as a model of how housing can be upgraded and retrofitted in a sustainable and feasible way. Eventually SPNI would like to expand the model the on a national level, targeting areas most in need of upgrading.
- Judaism and the Environment: Torah scholars, working together with educators and environmentalists, are developing curricula that incorporate Jewish values into environmental education programs, awakening in students a spiritual link with green ecological ‘roots’.
Recycling: Recycling in Jerusalem is in its early developmental stages. SPNI and SJ have been instrumental in recycling development in the city, including the placement of bins in various neighborhoods, and increasing public awareness. SPNI-Jerusalem is also leading efforts to require the government and companies to make recycling in Jerusalem a reality.
- Sergei Courtyard Complex: As the headquarters of SJ and Jerusalem-area environmentalists, the Sergei Courtyard places a critical role in public education. Future plans for the Complex include establishing an urban ecological tourist and information center and operating a series of tours and cultural events.
- Street of the Prophets: Jerusalem city hall has proposed turning the Street of the Prophets into a multi-lane highway, which would destroy many historical buildings and the street’s unique character. SPNI-Jerusalem is promoting an alternative proposal: to integrate development, renovation and building projects into a comprehensive Closed Economic Market area within the historic city center.