The World Needs Israeli Climate Tech Alive
How did the Climatech Israeli system react to October 7?
What was cancelled, postponed or adapted to the new situation?
Climate is still a burning issue and we badly need the Israeli innovation spirit to come up with new solutions.
We are dealing with a climate crisis and some of the crucial climatech solutions are being developed nowhere else than here in Israel. Where adversity is the reason for creativity. Where discontinued state of war makes people think they have to count only on themselves to survive. Where the new generation of startuppers have recently shifted their energies from non-existential challenges to solving the most burning issues of the planet. Where for example, the whole water economy has been disrupted. And where new energy, carbon capture, recycling, new materials, and agritech are being reinvented.
Israel always finds its own ways to cope with scarcity, with war and despair (see the indestructible Israeli humor!).
So how does Israeli Climatech meet with the October 7 trauma?
Planetech was supposed to hold its 2nd edition mid-October, gathering tons of good people, good vibes and tech for good. Planetech is the new main crosspoint to promote green partnerships between Israel and the rest of the world.
Rather than waiting for the postponed physical version of it, some partners initiated a series of virtual events to keep the ecosystem connected. It’s not too late to register to the first startup pitches on November 28th.
Some say that October 7 was a dramatic Israeli failure in anticipating Hamas’ atrocities. They are right. It has something to do with the positive spirit of some Israelis who firmly believe in their capacity to build and rebuild, to develop, to grow and prefer to obliterate negative signals who do not go their way.
The week of the massacres, a new place for nurturing climate startups was about to open near Tel Aviv. “A place to grow” says the Netter co-working place is still empty for the time being. Yet, Israelis dream high and they will not be stopped.
On November 15th, after launching 2 satellites to the space, the startup Tomorrow.io has put on the air its weather forecasting platform, NextGen, powered by the company’s core modeling capabilities, initial satellite data, and generative AI.
TomorrowIO was founded by 3 airforce pilots. They dream of empowering the world with accurate data to cope with climate change.
Israelis can even make water out of air.
Watergen Ltd machines are converting air to drinking water. At least three machines out of seven are reportedly still supplying clean water to at least 2,000 Gazans a day. It’s a drop in an ocean of tears, but it's working.
In 2020, Watergen had installed a device in Al-Rantisi pediatric hospital in northern Gaza as part of a collaboration with the water and power Palestinian company, Mayet Al Ahel. The Israeli Defense Force revealed last week that Hamas operated a command center and likely held hostages in the hospital.
In 2020, Watergen installed a water from air device in Al-Rantisi pediatric hospital in Gaza as part of a collaboration between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
On the morning of October 7, I was not in Israel but rather 4 hours away from the first airport, in the jungle of South Ethiopia. On top of the hill, when sun rose and I got messages from Israel, the first loss I heard of, was that of ofir libstein. He was exactly that kind of Israeli, a pioneer, an entrepreneur, a public fighter that had many dreams for his Kibbutz, for his region and neighbors. Ofir was the elected head of the regional council for the last five years. On that morning, he came out to defend his Kibbutz Kfar Aza from the assault, and got killed.
Ofir had extraordinary dreams, such as opening a shared industrial zone with the Palestinians from the other side of the border. He is only one of the losses of that day, all lost to humankind. We’ll have to invent other dreamers to rebuild a common future.
The third week of October, I was supposed to be in Jordan with EcoPeace Middle East for their yearly event, to advance environmental cooperation between Palestinians, Jordanians and Israelis. Ecopeace exists for 25 years and more. They will survive that horrific round of violence hopefully.
No one knows when the Green-Blue Deal between Jordan and Israel will become a reality, when Israel will finally and as promised, be able to export vital desalinated water from the Mediterranean in exchange for vital solar energy coming from the beautiful valleys behind Wadi Rum.
I do not know either how many Israelis will be present at COP28. For sure, not quite the hordes that rushed into COP27. I won’t be there. And it doesn’t matter.
We continue the good work from here.
This article is dedicated to Dr. Shoshan Haran from Kibbutz Be'eri who was held hostage in Gaza for more than 50 days. She is the founder of Fair Planet NGO, so active in Africa, and especially in Ethiopia.
Anne Baer, CEO