2010: Environmental Challenges in Canada, Israel and Beyond
Environmental Challenges in Canada, Israel and Beyond
13th Biennial Jerusalem Conference in Canadian Studies (2010)
The term "environment” encompasses the physical, ecological, social, legal, economic, cultural, political, institutional, technological, and the personal — to name a few. And from June 28 to July 1, 2010, scholars from Canada, Israel, India, Japan, China, Poland, Russia, the United States, Brazil, and Australia gathered at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to share knowledge and perspectives on "Environmental Challenges in Canada, Israel and Beyond.” That was the theme of the13th Biennial Jerusalem Conference in Canadian Studies, sponsored by the Halbert Centre for Canadian Studies and the Israel Association for Canadian Studies (IACS).
The theme of climate change and policy surrounding it ran through many of the sessions. David Runnalls, president of the International Institute for Sustainable Development delivered a stimulating keynote address on "Canada and climate change: How not to make public policy.” Galit Cohen, from the Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection, gave a talk on "The Environmental Policy of the State of Israel.”
At a four-hour symposium, 11 speakers from different fields were invited to present the ways in which their areas of specialty relate to the environment. The result was an engaging and diverse discussion that encompassed the environment as it relates to Judaism, the Inuit, urban planning, psychology, film, and even environment and eco-criticism and literary studies. Participants responded favourably to the session format, and many remarked that they intended to use it at future conferences of their own.
A special session in memory of Peter Oberlander was especially moving. Oberlander was one of Canada's leading urban planners and was the first visiting professor atthe Hebrew University's Halbert Centre for Canadian Studies, in 1979. Since then, he remained an excellent friend to both the Halbert Centre and the IACS. His wife, leading Canadian landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, presented a history of his achievements. The conference's final event was a half-day tour of Jerusalem organized by the city's vice mayor, Naomi Tsur. The tour, dubbed "Jerusalem of Green — Transforming the Holy City's Urban Environment,” focused on some of the environmental projects conducted by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.