Arava Institute for Environmental Studies

Eilot, Israel

Arava Institute for Environmental Studies

Eilot, Israel

The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies is an accredited academic program for undergraduate and graduate studies located at Kibbutz Ketura on the Israeli side of the Arava Valley. It seeks to train future leaders of the Middle East in environmental issues so that they will be able to cooperate in solving regional environmental problems.The Arava is a sparsely populated desert valley that connects the Dead Sea region with the Red Sea, and is part of the Jordan Rift Valley. Between the Dead Sea and the cities of Eilat and Aqaba, the Arava forms the border between Israel and Jordan. Kibbutz Ketura, founded in 1973 by members of Young Judaea, is located only a few hundred meters from the border between Israel and Jordan. Kibbutz Ketura is one of a small number of intentional communities in Israel, and that makes it an ideal setting for a culturally diverse program. Members of the Kibbutz are both religious and non-religious Jews who have chosen to live together in the same community and maintain an egalitarian synagogue. The kibbutz is also a member of Israel's Green Kibbutzim movement, which seeks to promote environmentally friendly and sustainable practices. A portion of the kibbutz's agricultural produce is organic. Wikipedia.

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Amiel E.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev | Ofir R.,Dead Sea and Arava Science Center | Ofir R.,Arava Institute for Environmental Studies | Dudai N.,Newe Ya'ar Research Center | And 3 more authors.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine | Year: 2012

The biblical balm of Gilead (Commiphora gileadensis) was investigated in this study for anticancerous activity against tumor cell lines. The results obtained from ethanol-based extracts and from essential oils indicated that -caryophyllene (trans-(1R,9S)-8-methylene-4,11,11-trimethylbicyclo[7.2.0]undec- 4-ene) is a key component in essential oils extracted from the balm of Gilead. -Caryophyllene can be found in spice blends, citrus flavors, soaps, detergents, creams, and lotions, as well as in a variety of food and beverage products, and it is known for its anti-inflammatory, local anaesthetic, and antifungal properties. It is also a potent cytotoxic compound over a wide range of cell lines. In the current paper, we found that Commiphora gileadensis stem extracts and essential oil have an antiproliferative proapoptotic effect against tumor cells and not against normal cells. -caryophyllene caused a potent induction of apoptosis accompanied by DNA ladder and caspase-3 catalytic activity in tumor cell lines. In summary, we showed that C. gileadensis stems contain an apoptosis inducer that acts, in a selective manner, against tumor cell lines and not against normal cells. Copyright © 2012 Eitan Amiel et al.

Abu Hamed T.,Arava Institute for Environmental Studies | Abu Hamed T.,Dead Sea and Arava Science Center | Flamm H.,Arava Institute for Environmental Studies | Azraq M.,Arava Institute for Environmental Studies
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2012

The Palestinian Territories relies on Israel for 100% of its fossil fuel imports and for 87% of its electricity imports. Total energy consumption in the Palestinian Territories is the lowest in the region and costs more than anywhere else in the Middle East. The purpose of this paper is to present the current energy situation in the Palestinian Territories, evaluate the potential of renewable energies in meeting part of the energy demand and discuss the challenges and benefits of using these types of energies. It is shown that the main renewable energy sources in the Palestinian Territories are solar, wind and biomass. Using the available renewable energy sources in the Palestinian Territories may significantly decrease the energy reliance on neighboring countries and improve the Palestinian population's access to energy. It is estimated that solar sources have the potential to account for 13% of electricity demand and wind energy for 6.6%. The conversion of animal waste into biogas has the potential to meet the needs of 20% of the rural population. The conversion of unused agricultural residue into biodiesel could replace 5% of the imported diesel. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Schnell I.,Tel Aviv University | Potchter O.,Tel Aviv University | Yaakov Y.,Tel Aviv University | Epstein Y.,Tel Aviv University | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment | Year: 2012

This study suggests a shift in focus from studying environmental discomfort in urban strategic stations, from which average results for the city or specific results for selected sites are deduced, and from measuring environmental conditions in fixed monitoring stations to a study in which we monitor, with mobile portable sensors, the exposure of people to environmental sources of discomfort while performing their daily life activities. Significant variations in sense of discomfort were measured in this study, and almost half of this variability was found to be explained while four independent environmental variables were considered: air quality (concentrations of CO), noise level, climatic variables (thermal load), and social loads. The study conducted in the city of Tel Aviv, which suffers from hot, humid summers and cool winters, and noise levels that reach the average levels of 85 dB, and relatively lower levels of exposure to the other potential stressors. These levels of combined exposures result in moderate levels of discomfort for young, healthy people once they experience the more stressing environments in the city. It is shown also that noise from other people is the most salient source of discomfort in Tel Aviv. Levels of discomfort accumulate during the working hours, either due to the impact of social loads or noise, but the subjects showed good coping abilities that enabled them to recover in late afternoons. It seems that thermal load does not have immediate impact, but rather cumulative ones, mainly during transitional seasons when subjects are less adaptive to extreme changes in weather. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011.

Schnell I.,Tel Aviv University | Potchter O.,Tel Aviv University | Epstein Y.,Tel Aviv University | Yaakov Y.,Tel Aviv University | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Pollution | Year: 2013

The impact of human exposure to environmental factors on Heart Rate Variability (HRV) was examined in the urban space of Tel-Aviv-Jaffa. Four environmental factors were investigated: thermal and social loads; CO concentrations and noise. Levels of HRV are explained mainly by subjective social stresses, noise and CO. The most interesting result is the fact that while subjective social stress and noise increase HRV, low levels of CO are reducing HRV to some extent moderating the impact of subjective social stress and noise. Beyond the poisoning effect of CO and the fact that extremely low levels of HRV associated with high dozes of CO increase risk for life, low levels of CO may have a narcotic effect, as it is measured by HRV. The effects of thermal loads on HRV are negligible probably due to the use of behavioral means in order to neutralize heat and cold effects. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Wahbeh B.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev | Hamed T.A.,The Dead Sea and Arava Science Center | Hamed T.A.,Arava Institute for Environmental Studies | Kasher R.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev
Renewable Energy | Year: 2012

Hydrolysis of boron is investigated as a part of a boron/boron oxide solar water splitting-thermochemical cycle. Boron was hydrolyzed and boron oxide was gasified with steam in a tubular reactor. The effects of the reactor temperature and water flow rate on hydrogen production and boron oxide gasification were studied at different furnace set point temperatures and water flow rates. The produced hydrogen was measured by inline gas chromatography. Results show that the hydrogen production rate increased by increasing the reaction temperature and water flow rate. The range of hydrogen production efficiency of 95-100% was obtained for all experiments, as well as a full conversion of the boron particles to boron oxide, and the boron oxide to orthoboric acid. It was observed that the hydrogen production rate was high at the beginning of the hydrolysis process and decreased gradually with time. The X-ray analysis showed that the boron was converted into boron oxide and boric acid. The formation of a boric acid layer on the reactor walls was attributed to the gasification of the boron oxide. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Erukhimovitch V.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev | Huleihil M.,Arava Institute for Environmental Studies | Huleihel M.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev
Journal of Spectroscopy | Year: 2013

Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy (FTIR-M) can detect small molecular changes in cells and therefore was previously applied for the identification of different biological samples. In the present study, FTIR spectroscopy was used for the identification and discrimination of Vero cells infected with herpes viruses or contaminated with bacteria or fungi in cell culture. Vero cells in culture were infected herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or contaminated with E. coli bacteria or Candida albicans fungi and analyzed by FTIR microscopy at 24 h postinfection/contamination. Specific different spectral changes were observed according to the infecting or contaminating agent. For instance, both pure fungi and cell culture contaminated with this fungi showed specific peaks at 1030 cm-1 and at 1373 cm-1 regions, while pure E. coli and cell culture contaminated with this bacteria showed a specific and unique peak at 1657 cm-1. These results support the potential of developing FTIR microspectroscopy as a simple, reagent free method for identification and discrimination between different tissue infection or contamination with various pathogens. © 2013 V. Erukhimovitch et al.

Lehrer D.,Arava Institute for Environmental Studies | Becker N.,Galilée College | Bar P.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev
International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology | Year: 2011

This paper illustrates the use of alternative, non-market valuation methods to estimate the economic value of ecological damage caused by the invasive plant Acacia saligna. We discuss the motivation to perform an economic valuation for bio-invasion in general and then examine the costs and benefits of conservation management programmes that reduce the risk of A. saligna invasion at the Nizzanim Long-Term Ecosystem Research (LTER) nature reserve in Israel. The study found that the annual mean willingness to pay (WTP) for containment or eradication of A. saligna was US$8.41 and US$8.83, respectively. The value placed on conserving the nature reserve was then compared to the cost of containment or eradication of the species, enabling a standard economic benefit-cost analysis. The result of this analysis showed that, using the most conservative method of valuation of the nature reserve, eradication of A. saligna gave a net benefit. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.

Sagie H.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev | Sagie H.,Arava Institute for Environmental Studies | Morris A.,Arava Institute for Environmental Studies | Morris A.,The Dead Sea and Arava Science Center | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Arid Environments | Year: 2013

This research explores local resident perspectives on ecosystem services (ES) in the hyper-arid Arava Valley/Wadi Araba, which spans across both Israel and Jordan. Identifying and characterizing ES, an increasingly popular precursor for crafting sustainable natural resource management and land use policy, is an inherently multi-disciplinary endeavor. Our goal is to apply social research tools, in particular in-depth interviews with local residents, to understand their perspectives concerning ES. Since the research is conducted on two sides of an international border, it also illuminates the potential role of culture, nationality and economics in formulating perceptions on ES in deserts.The results show that, although deserts are often considered to be lacking in ES, local residents feel that their environment is abundant in services, particularly cultural services. Furthermore, although they live in a nearly identical ecosystem, local residents from two sides of the border showed distinct differences, as well as some shared patterns, in how they use and value ES. The study highlights the importance of applying social methods for ES identification and characterization in tandem with other disciplinary approaches, in order to avoid common problems including disregard of the importance of social and cultural perspectives, leading to undervaluing of intangible cultural services. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Harlev E.,Haifa University | Nevo E.,Haifa University | Solowey E.,Arava Institute for Environmental Studies | Bishayee A.,Signal Sciences
Planta Medica | Year: 2013

The ever-increasing occurrence of cancer and the severe side effects and limited efficacy of current cancer chemotherapy based on chemical drugs shift the attention toward drugs of plant origin. The Cactaceae family comprises more than 1500 species, but until recently only a few of them have been tested for their chemopreventive and anticancer attributes, leaving a wide unexplored area still waiting for researchers to investigate. Considering this fact, and also the promising results obtained with the relatively few plants of this family already tested, it should justly be expected that some plants of the Cactaceae family yet unexplored might possess outstanding anticancer attributes, exceeding those displayed by the plants already tested. This review presents in vitro and in vivo experimental evidence on cancer chemopreventive and therapeutic potential of bioactive phytoconstituents and extracts derived from cactus plants. It also examines the underlying biochemical and molecular mechanisms involved in the antineoplastic effects of plants of the Cactaceae family. Current limitation and future directions of research towards effective use of cacti to develop efficient and side effect-free future cancer-preventive and anticancer drugs are also discussed. © Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart New York.

PubMed | Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and Haifa University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: International journal of environmental research and public health | Year: 2016

Cities with a Mediterranean-type climate (Med-cities) are particularly susceptible to health risks from climate change since they are located in biogeographical hot-spots that experience some of the strongest effects of the changing climate. The study aims to highlight health impacts of climate change in Med-cities, analyze local climate adaptation plans and make adaptation policy recommendations for the Med-city level. We identified five Med-cities with a climate change adaptation plan: Adelaide, Barcelona, Cape Town, Los Angeles and Santiago. Beyond their similar Med-climate features (although Santiagos are slightly different), the cities have different socio-economic characteristics in various aspects. We analyzed each plan according to how it addresses climate change-related drivers of health impacts among city dwellers. For each driver, we identified the types of policy adaptation tools that address it in the urban climate adaptation plans. The surveyed cities address most of the fundamental climate change-related drivers of risks to human health, including rising temperatures, flooding and drought, but the policy measures to reduce negative impacts vary across cities. We suggest recommendations for Med-cities in various aspects, depending on their local needs and vulnerability challenges: assessment of health risks, extreme events management and long-term adaptation, among others.

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