Thursday, September 09, 2021

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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truck exhaustJerusalem, September 9 - The Jewish holidays that bring legislative work in Israel to a standstill in late summer or early fall each year clear space in the parliament compound for other public-spirit activities and events, which in 2021 will see a large exhibition on environmentally-friendly means of conveyance and transportation, the pieces of which will require a massive output of diesel fumes and pollution from the vehicles that will deliver the equipment and remove it afterwards.

The Knesset began its holiday recess before Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish new year festival that coincided this year with September 7-8, and will continue through Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement - on the 16th, until after the eight-day Sukkot festival that runs from the 21st through the 28th. The hiatus in direct lawmaking activity has over the decades made the venue available for exhibits and public-awareness campaigns during this period; this year, organizers decided to stress the importance of ecological sensitivity, and invited both legislators and the public to attend a participatory event featuring bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles as alternatives to the fossil-fuel-run options that so many Israelis use to commute, run errands, or pursue leisure. The bicycles, scooters, and other emissionless items, along with all the pavilions, signs, booths, counters, cabinets, shelving, promotional materials, lighting fixtures, electrical equipment, and ancillary items will reach the Knesset in numerous gasoline-burning trucks, cars, and vans.

Event spokespeople stressed the importance of making the Knesset a venue for this crucial ecological message. "We have to enlist government figures and institutions in the campaign for ecologically-minded change," explained event assistant director Tzvi Ut. "I'm glad were able to snag the Knesset itself, which is so central an institution in Israel. Now we can commence the logistical and physical preparations: trucking in the hundred or so bikes, scooters, even unicycles and wind-driven experimental or novelty products, plus all the display pieces. It's a lot of materials - I think we'll need the volume equivalent to four or five semi-trailers. that doesn't include the refreshment and beverage stands that will also serve the event."

Ut emphasized the insistence on wind- and human-powered vehicles, as opposed to electric cars, scooters, or bicycles. "The embarrassing truth, for the ecologically minded, is that electric vehicles don't result in a net reduction in fossil-fuel use consumption or air pollution," he observed. "It just moves the emissions from the air around the vehicle to the air around whichever coal-, oil-, or gas-fired power plant that produces the electricity that eventually makes it into the vehicle battery. This kind of consistency and avoidance of dissonance is important for us and to the integrity of the environmental movement as a whole."

"I'm hoping we can get John Kerry to attend," he added. "It would really boost the profile of this event to attract someone who arrives via his own private jet."

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