Israel Agriculture Minister’s Response To Water Shortage: Pray For Rain

Originally published on Planestave.
It bears remembering that much of what is now the Middle East and the Mediterranean was before the human population expansion of the last few thousand years humid and heavily forested, with incredible fertile soils — the reason that the region is the diminished shell that it now is follows from massive deforestation, the strip-mining of the soil for agriculture, and animal husbandry (over-grazing).
With all of that in mind, the recent news that the head of Israel’s Agriculture Ministry, Uri Ariel — a man who has a large ability to shape the country’s approach to water use and conservation — was leading prayers at Jerusalem’s Western Wall calling for rain is worth considering.
While Uri Ariel, an Orthodox Jew, arguably is claiming to do just that, I’m skeptical that the actions taken by Israel to date are at all serious as regarding climate change and water conservation.
So, while Ariel stated: “We significantly lowered the cost of water, we are carrying out many studies on how to save water in different crops, but prayer can certainly help,” I can’t help but hear someone saying that none of the available but unpalatable options are to be pursued, so we may as well put on a show so that it looks like we’re doing something.
To use the “exact” words: “Prayer is not a bad thing, but the minister has the ability to influence (matters) in slightly more earthly ways.” No kidding.
Shouldn’t you pursue the actions first and then use prayer to ask for proper guidance of your actions?
All of this is probably a moot point though, as truly effective actions to prepare for and limit anthropogenic climate change and the accompanying water scarcity in the region aren’t likely to be willingly embraced by a relatively wealthy population — like that of Israel.
“A crowd of a few thousand gathered at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s old city, the holiest place for Jews to worship, chanting a special prayer to end the drought.” The thing to bear in mind here, is that the expansionary agriculture and domesticated animals paradigm that turned much of the land of the Middle East, the Near East, and many other places into the diminished places that they now are is essentially the same one that calls for every expanding “growth,” resource extraction, and consumption — whatever the costs.
A reassertion of the need for self-responsibility and accountability would be welcome in my opinion — the truth is that every single person in the “developed” world, regardless of political affiliations, is contributing directly and significantly to what’s happening to the world’s climate, oceans, soils, wildlife, etc.

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