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Making Jerusalem clean...for Bambi

by michael December 08 2008
EnvironmentMunicipal news

Cleaning up Gazelle Valley

Finally, the children are learning a useful trade

Yeah, it's true: we've been talking a lot about Gazelle Valley lately. But this time, we don't have anything to report about the mad machinations of our local robber barons. This is good news.

You see, Jerusalem (as well as the rest of the country) suffers from a terrible litter problem. Despite the love for the Land of Israel drilled into every Israeli kid as part of the public curriculum, not to mention built into the Jewish religion, far too few people make the seemingly obvious mental association between loving the Land of Israel and not throwing Coke cans and falafel wrappers all over it. Sometimes it's the people's fault: many older generations of Israelis hail from countries (or eras) where nobody ever considered the longterm ramifications of tossing trash out the window, and thus transmitted those values (or lack thereof) to their offspring; other times, it's the government's fault, both for not encouraging a green consciousness and for failing to install enough public waste receptacles.

But things are changing. Younger Israelis are increasingly aware of the effects of littering. And the government is throwing its support behind programs like Clean Up the World Day - which brings us back to Gazelle Valley.

Last week, dozens of local schoolchildren descended on the garbage-strewn valley, and under the watchful eyes of representatives from the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and the Jewish National Fund, removed 100 large trash bags full of refuse. Not only is it a nice thing to do for the residents of Jerusalem and the resident gazelles, it sends a symbolic message to the hungry developers hovering around the valley's periphery. It's ours! We cleaned it!

So good on you, children, and try to take the lesson to heart: every time you toss that Bissli bag onto the ground, a baby gazelle probably dies.

Image courtesy of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.

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