“Joint learning, activism and action are the flame that the Institute ignited in me”
Lior Gottesman – founder of the Social – Environmental Hub at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, and graduate of the ‘Incubator’
Lior, tell us about the Hub
The Hub integrates 70 organizations and agents of change, from environmental designers through urban farmers, urban planners, agro-tech and clean-tech start-ups and through to social entrepreneurs. This is a space in which meetings take place between fields that promote urban sustainability.
What fields does it deal with?
It deals with solutions for creating urban sustainability – smart towns, renewable energy, smart transportation, social justice, health and food, and interdisciplinary collaborations. The Hub also examines how the Botanical Garden is relevant to all of these.
How do you do it?
We hold events with content and offer a network of consulting hours and joint research projects. For example, a startup for storing rainwater, urban beekeepers and more. We map the enterprises that operate within the city and make connections between them and the various authorities.
What is the scope of your activities?
The Hub operates 20 community-based environmental programs, employment training, therapeutic gardening for the people with disabilities and those suffering from PTSD, youth leadership, training youth at risk in East Jerusalem as gardeners, and more.
And how does all of this connect with studies at the ‘Incubator’?
I could not have asked for a better B.A. degree. The environmental track introduced me to the connection between society and the environment, and led me to this present occupation. The Institute showed me the systemic and interdisciplinary approach that connects everything; it broadened my horizons and taught me critical thinking. Inspired by the ‘Incubator’ and the instructors I continued the studies for my M.A. degree in sustainable economy in England.
And something to end with?
I had the privilege of being part of the legendary “chavruta” incubator. This is a significant group in my life: together we took initiative, we dreamed, we established projects and we learned what we are capable of. The students in this track are the best in the country and this is a network that supports me to this day. Joint learning, activism and action are the flame that the Institute ignited in me.
Israel 21c article