Sheggy Shachar is one of the founders of the "Green Eilat" association and is involved in various other initiatives. He is also the owner of a SUP surfing school, and he takes his SUP surfers on many environmental adventures.
In this interview, we discussed life as an ecological activist and entrepreneur in Eilat, Israel's southernmost resort town.
How do you deal with global environmental challenges?
"I have been an environmental activist for several years concerning the sea, so I am involved in beach cleaning and other water activities to raise awareness among the public. I spread the message with our SUP surfing community. We collect garbage that the divers and teens who clean the beach can't reach.
We recently did a kind of flotilla whose purpose was to raise awareness of protecting the sea and the environment. We took our boats, kites, SUPs and surfboards on a stylish car, tagged it and gained a lot of buzz. "WeSea" are our friends who do these projects with us."
Do you see a positive change regarding the protection of the sea on a broad level?
"Yes. In recent years, I have joined the "Eilat Youth" faction and supported the law for No More Plastic. Our goal is to ban the sale of single-use plastic along the shoreline, which should prevent much of the garbage that flows into the sea from reaching it.
At the same time, I'm working with a very serious group to promote the topic of an artificial wave in Eilat's artificial lagoon. It's called 'Five Waves.' It's very important that we will create a perceptual change of Eilat's image, and that the local content and experiences will be a little better and down to earth."
You are part of many groups and initiatives. What exactly are you doing?
"I meet with entrepreneurs with a great idea, understand what they are trying to do, generate some conversation with them, give them the motivation and direction. And then, these big kids go and make it happen in their own way. That's it.
In my perception, if I can help even a little bit - even just with the connection to key people. If somebody says they need my help and guidance, I'll be there and contribute. I probably got it from my mom, such an instinct of being involved in things, and yet I try to release with love."
Do you have any tips for entrepreneurs trying to develop a new initiative?
"It is essential to do things very right from its base, to establish strong roots in the ground, and to hold on to what is right and realistic. Dreams are good and important, but one has to build things step by step.
If there are a good idea and the right guidance, the next step is to find the right people. Sometimes reality is hard and bureaucratic, and if you are venturing into the unknown, take along those who know how to handle complicated situations.
I create subgroups for every topic I do. Every group I assist, every issue I promote, I try to pin the most appropriate people. The choice of key people for each niche is super important and should be accurate."
What is the "Green Eilat" association, and what are you hoping to achieve?
"We are attempting to create a local pilot legalization system that is different from the overall struggle. It is essential to understand that there is much more than coffee shops in the field of legalization. This industry involves an impressive level of sophistication, knowledge, and many evolving industries in high-tech and medical research and development.
It is more evident today in Israel's medical field. Still, in other parts of the world, in sustainable models, in countries that promoted this issue within themselves, this field has turned and done wonders.
We can call it "regulation" instead of legalization.
Regulation means more enforcement and supervision in terms of: what process the plant went through, whether it was sprayed or not, who grows it, where these resources go, whether it gets into legal or illegal hands."
Why only Eilat, and not the entire country?
"It is a process to promote a local growth engine that will help Eilat get out of its situation. The Coronavirus, the storms that have occurred recently, the physical distance from the rest of Israel. In our perception, we can turn this disadvantage into an advantage.
Every country that promotes legalization begins with a city where it occurs in a more controlled environment. This is what we want to happen in Eilat."
Tell about a special event that happened during your volunteering activities.
"We started an amateur group of mountain bikers. I got a call from some guy that told me he's dying to join, but he just recently divorced, and with the kids and all the expenses, he can't arrange a pair of bikes for himself. I started doing 1 and 1. I saw the angel Haim Zehavi. He got a bike through the police, abandoned bikes that no one came to demand. We took it to a bike shop, did a small upgrade, and gave it to that guy. Suddenly he called me and said: "you don't understand, beyond this group, I had no way to commute to work, take my children to class, I suddenly got life and energy." Overall, the little story - we managed to connect between wheels and a man. Suddenly, he can enjoy the simplest spaces of the everyday, things that seem so trivial. The little stories are the most special ones."
"Green Eilat" is currently recruiting volunteers for exciting roles such as Content Creator, Marketing Specialist, and more!