Carnegie Mellon University

Rebecca Yasner

Rebecca Yasner

Class of 2012, Major- Global Studies; Minors- Technology Policy; Environmental Studies


Rebecca Yasner spent the summer between her sophomore and junior years (summer of 2010) working with two internships in Tel Aviv, Israel. One internship was with AraZim Consulting, a consulting firm that focuses on agricultural, renewable energy, and clean tech industries.  The second internship was with CityTree, an urban-environmental non-profit organization. Founded in 2006 by Tami Zori, CityTree is an ecological apartment located in the heart of downtown Tel Aviv, Israel. Utilizing both online and real world tools, CityTree empowers city dwellers to adopt more environmentally conscious lifestyles. CityTree has three main branches of activity: a model eco-apartment, a website with a wealth of materials and interactive tools, and an emerging local ecological business network. People from all walks of life visit the eco-apartment of CityTree, to learn how and engage in sustainable practices such as composting, water conservation, gardening and healthy nutrition, through workshops, courses, and volunteering.

Blog Entry from CityTree Internship

June 9, 2010

After a short bus ride from nearby Ra'anana I arrived at Tami Zori's humble abode--a literal tree in the carefree historical district of downtown Tel Aviv. Situated in a cozy corner by Kikar Bialik (Bialik Circle), CityTree in my mind is the heart of all things environmental in Tel Aviv.

I was excited for my first day of volunteering, and honestly had no idea what was on tap for me for the day.

Within a few moments of arriving Tami informed me that she had to leave for about an hour to run some errands, and that I would have full run of the place. On one hand I wasn't so shocked, I'm a very trustworthy person and have expressed many times to Tami how excited I was to be volunteering at CityTree. On the other hand, what if I was some crazy lunatic who trashed the place and split before Tami knew what hit her!? Luckily for everyone I was much more content to sit and complete my mission of reorganizing the library, albeit bookshelf, and to stamping each publication with CityTree's logo. I happen to love organizing, in all forms, especially if the overarching theme of what I'm organizing deals with the environment. The sheer range of information accumulated in the library was incredible: "Herbal Tea Remedies", "Feng Shuei for Children", "100 Ways to Reuse Newspaper", "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh". Within a half hour of arriving at CityTree I was woman-ing the phones and sifting through piles and piles of information with the sun on my back and a warm breeze running through my hair. "Ah".

As promised, Tami returned from her morning jaunt after an about an hour. The library was nearing completion. We sat for a few minutes sorting miscellaneous paper from the shelves into "compost-able" and "reusable" piles. A thought came to mind: why doesn't everyone do this? What would happen if everyone took three minutes of their day to think in those terms instead of "keep" and "trash"? But to CityTree this was already second nature, or should I say first nature. We then set about cleaning the house for courses that were scheduled for later in the day. Boring, you say? Why volunteer to clean someone else's house, you ask? In following ancient Jewish tradition, I'll answer those questions with one of my own: have you ever made your own cleaning supplies? What about in your blender? Again that thought came to mind: why doesn't everyone do this? It's so... natural, for lack of a better term.

We continued cleaning, sweeping, dusting, washing. It was refreshing to know that the dust I swept up and the water I used wasn't going to some far off never-never land, but instead to the papia tree out front. A little later in the day, Yonatan the gardener came to install a drip irrigation system, an internationally acclaimed technology used commonplace in Israel. It was so much fun to be outside in the dirt setting up a system that would save water and time. As we finished installing the irrigation system the cooking class participants of the evening had arrived and were busy tasting various organic/local/natural concoctions a-la-Tami. A course on traditional Arabic medicine and nutrition was being taught in the living room as various volunteers manned the phones and computers. CityTree was a bundle of activity, and I was so happy to be a part of it.