Israel may be one of the smallest countries in the world, but add the amount of sea the country controls to their land mass and the size doubles.
“People have to notice that Israel has a sea, and that sea is 50 percent of the area of the country,” said Arik Rosenblum, the executive director of EcoOcean, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the marine and coastal environments of Israel and its region. “That half has wonders in it, from archaeological finds to a source of drinking water to the ability to find natural resources.”
EcoOcean operates the only privately owned marine research vessel in Israel.
Through April 26, the Georgia Aquarium is hosting an exhibit near the entrance of the Ocean Voyager Built by the Home Depot gallery featuring EcoOcean’s work in the Mediterranean Sea.
The interactive display details Israel’s plans for the sustainable development of its coast and includes a quiz and underwater artifacts discovered by EcoOcean’s research vessel.
Before the Georgia Aquarium, the traveling exhibit stopped at the National Aquarium in Baltimore and was part of the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America in Washington, where it was seen by Eric Robbins, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.
Robbins liked the message the exhibit promoted and made connections to bring it to Atlanta.
“This is a perfect way of talking about Israel in a nonpolitical fashion in a way that presents Israel as a country taking responsibility for its piece of the sea and the surrounding region,” Rosenblum said. “One of the most important lessons we can learn is that ecology has no borders.”
EcoOcean, based at Kibbutz Sdot Yam near Caesarea, is collaborating with several Middle Eastern countries in a project to compile all the data ever collected on the Mediterranean Sea. The project includes nine observatories around the Mediterranean, including four in Arab countries that do not have diplomatic ties to Israel.
EcoOcean will maintain the center of operations for the project in Israel.
After the Georgia Aquarium, EcoOcean’s exhibit will head to Chicago, and Rosenblum hopes to get the exhibit into more places, specifically at university Hillel houses.
“We’re really proud of being at one of the largest and most impressive aquariums in the world in the Georgia Aquarium, and we thank the staff and leadership for hosting our exhibit,” Rosenblum said. “We’re hoping that people will see it here and want it to come to their state.”
What: “Israel Sea the Future”
Where: Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St., downtown
When: Through April 26