Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Silent Walls

People often blame  outer factors for their health issues: antennae, electric cables, screens, pesticides...the list is long. We seldom hear ,however, about the walls in our homes. 

indoor walls and ceiling  (Web picture)

The truth is that these walls emit toxicity at various levels. Silent, silent, but dangerous. Building materials, wall primers and paint , have improved over the years; and yet we're constantly advised, and rightly so, to keep windows slightly open during most of the year.

(Air conditioning, which requires closed windows and doors for its efficacity, has worsened things for many people, including me, causing various allergic reactions and dry skin). 

I don't trust any wall stuff. We don't really know what's in it despite regulations. The use of  lead in paint ( lead -  a metal that can be very toxic)  was banned in 1978, but  it still exists in walls of older homes.  Asbestos (silicate minerals)- based materials, are banned in most countries and yet they are not completely out of use.

The bottom line - we should keep the windows open (not all the way, just a few inches)  for as long as  possible. Of course, not during the night or in very nasty weather.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

A Neighborly Hand

I tend to compare Climate Change with an experienced army general. The later knows he cannot successfully fight a war with the tactics and strategies of the last war. He has to surprise the enemy.

Fires were not new to australians, and yet they got surprised by the highly devastating nature of the last fires.They needed all the help they could get (The neighboring countries New Zealand, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea were the first to offer help). 

In Israel, we don't have much rain . but 2-3 consecutive days of strong rain, some ten days ago, almost destroyed an entire city (Naharyia) in the north of the country.  The city was heavily hit by floods, and that came as a complete surprise.
The official explanation to the stunned citizens was that the severe flooding was perhaps due to the Gaaton river(crossing the town) being diverted to build a mall?!

Naharyia floods (web picture)

It would seem Climate Change is here to stay. So, there are two main urgent needs:
1.  lots of smart rescue plans to save lives (both human and animal).
2.  good neighboring country relations based on reciprocity and cooperation.  
Nations are more than willing to help other nations in distress, but sometimes because of distance, it takes precious time till the planes with the experts and equipment arrive at the scene of the disaster.  So, where possible, good neighbors are top priority.

Nine years ago we had a deadly fire on Mt Carmel (44 fatalities) We badly needed help and we got it from many countries. It was really heart warming.  Here's the list with the helping countries (it appeared on the internet):
Azerbaijan – 2 helicopters
Bulgaria – 1 plane and 92 firefighters
Croatia – 1 plane, 8 firefighters and fire repression materials
Cyprus – 1 plane and 1 helicopter
Egypt – fire repression materials
France – 5 planes and fire repression materials
Germany – 1 plane, 7 experts in firefighting and fire repression materials
Greece – 7 planes, 34 firefighters and fire repression materials
Holland – 5 experts in firefighting
Italy – 1 plane and fire repression materials
Jordan – 3 truckloads of firefighting equipment and materials
Palestinian Authority – 21 firefighters and 3 fire engines
Russia – 3 planes and 22 experts in firefighting
Spain – 5 planes
Switzerland – 1 plane, 3 helicopters and a team of 14
Turkey – 2 planes
UK – 2 helicopters
US – 5 planes, 11 experts in firefighting and fire repression materials
Among the countries that offered assistance which wasn't required: Australia (was ready to rapidly deploy a team of 5 incident management experts and 20 tons of fire retardant), Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Romania and Ukraine.

It's mutual. We always offer help to other nations in disaster cases. I especially remember the earthquakes in Azerbaijan and Turkey. Israel had  an important assisting presence there.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Pomelo Orchard

pomelos at the store

I'm very fond of the pomelo fruit; it's sweet, friendly to the digestive system, and has many health benefits. I do like to eat pomelos; I have, however, little knowledge about the cultivation and harvesting of this fruit.

There's a pomelo orchard by the tiny road leading to our local cemetery. On the way back from my annual visit at  the cemetery, I approach the place with the intention to either buy or get permission from someone in charge, to pick a few pomelos. Never saw/heard anyone there on that specific day;  it was rather spooky.

the little road leading to the cemetery

the pomelo orchard

 As far as I know, the orchard  is owned  by a citrus  company  whose latest  proprietor is a famous magnate. The rumor has it  he has bought the company only due to promises that the agricultural lands (orchards) that belong to it will be turned into residential/industrial property. 

 the orchard

Despite strong denials coming from the company, I tend to believe that rumor. This seems to be the trend nowadays. There's no big money in agriculture; water and labor are expensive .On the other hand, flat soil is  attractive to construction,  there's a lot of money involved, and that's the way the rich get richer.

However, converting agricultural soil to residential use, might have bad general consequences : food price increase, loss of open, green spaces and more. The government shouldn't allow that to happen. 

Yesterday, before posting on the subject I went back to the orchard to  refresh my memory. After two previous days of heavy rain, the soil was soft and muddy. The trees were full of fruit whose skin color was deep yellow. not green as four months ago when I last saw them. There were also  lots of pomelos on the ground.

trees full of fruit

pomelos on the ground

Do have a look please at the surprise in the video from  Elifaz (kibbutz in the south of the country which has one of the best pomelo orchards).