Off-Grid Kibbutzim | Israel

On our second day on Kibbutz Ketorah, Innovation was the forefront of our lectures. We began our day exploring off-grid communities and the technologies that helped to make them function. What piqued my attention during this unit was the use of simple and relatively inexpensive materials to create functional and sustainable living solutions for people in third world countries. Having cheap and sustainable housing as well as agricultural practices can not only benefit an individual and his or her family, but the whole community and could be applied to places like Detroit, Flint, Lansing and etc. Sustainability practices like Allen Farmers Market in Lansing and a few community gardens in Detroit already exist, but with such advanced practices, it's hard to understand why more people don’t partake in setting-up and forming their lives in off-grid communities.  Additionally, the ideation and implementation of the electric road is very intriguing as well, especially given that in today’s automotive world, car developers are struggling to advance their technologies when it comes to electric vehicles and keeping the automobile market alive. I think that the ability to keep driving, not having to stop for gas or to recharge a battery over the course of a few hours, could bring the automobile market back. Electric roads would not only be good for the environment, but would be worthwhile for those who really do love driving, or just spend a lot of time in their vehicles.  Developing new area (Arava) similar to Detroit innovation.

On our third day, we visited kibbutz Lotan. A bit outdoorsier than kibbutz Ketorah, Lotan hosted many environmentally friendly approaches to a green kibbutz life, which also differed from Ketorah's high-tech resolves to similar issues. Lotan's approach, as discussed in lecture, was both regenerative as well as sustainable. Not only were mud huts and formations utilized to help battle the desert heat, recycling was paramount to the operation. This is important when considering landfills and how we utilize our waste. In America, we really don't repurpose our disused items. Often times we send them to the landfill where they sit for eternity. What is so beneficial and yet so simple, and even fun, is how these waste items can be reused. Lotan served as a perfect example with various art sculptures, buildings and composting and agricultural techniques. Of course, these techniques that seem so simple don't generate high costs. As a result, similar to other sustainable eco-communities, places like Detroit could incorporate these practices into its city relatively inexpensively and could effect and sustain life in a city that has collapsed and is slowly being regenerated. In some instances, these practices have begun to occur around the city of Detroit and Lansing, but places like Lotan take these ideas to the next level. For example, composting toilets. Although not common and require a bit more contact with toilets than necessary, could ultimately inspire people to be able to provide agricultural benefits for themselves by doing something they are basically going to do anyway.

If these practices can sustain life in the desert and do so in a way that isn't harming the environment, they should be utilized in an urban environment more and more.


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