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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.

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.

Lehrer D.,Arava Institute for Environmental Studies | Becker N.,Galilee 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.

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.

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.

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.

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