11/29/2010 01:45 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

How to Stop a Boogieman Trifecta? Ask a Rogue Cousin

Israel has got a lot of oil apparently. Possibly even more than Saudi Arabia. The problem is that it's locked up in rock-like shale, and extracting it for use is costly both per amount of oil yielded per barrel and the impact extraction has on the environment. Al Gore has said in the past that oil shale exploration in America is "utter insanity"; but if you're stuck between a rock and a hard place for energy, as Israel is, oil shale exploration might sound like a good idea. Right?

This is the plan of Rupert Murdoch, Dick Cheney and Lord Jacob Rothschild and other notables who've invested in a company called Genie Energy which has started an oil shale extraction pilot site in Israel's Elah Valley.

In terms of energy exploration, Israel has options -- especially solar -- where the sun rises bright and sunny about 330 days a year. So I think this carbon intensive project like oil shale (similar to tar sands in Canada) sounds pretty insane too, considering it's being done in one of the most beautiful parts of Israel.

The Elah Valley is called the Provence of Israel. It's the site where David fought the biblical Goliath. That's what environmentalists now in Israel feel they are up against.

For their dealings in oil shale Fast Company has called media magnate Murdoch, Cheney, the former American VP, and Lord Rothschild from the UK, a Boogieman Trifecta. And as a lover of this planet, I'd like to keep their Genie in the bottle.

Over on my blog, which covers Middle East environment news, we had an idea to send a letter to one of my eco-heros David de Rothschild to talk some sense into his second cousin, the Lord. I know that most families are dysfunctional, mine included, and that the Rothschilds in particular have had their rifts in the past, but we thought it was worth a shot.

Tafline wrote an open letter to David de Rothschild (he's back from the epic Plastiki expedition) , and here's what David had to say:

Dear Green Prophet team

Thank you for bringing issues such as these to my own and the public's attention and for working tirelessly towards a better future.

As you can appreciate, I am part of a large family with many diverse opinions but I, as an individual actively discourage environmentally harmful activities. However I have previously, and as is in this case, will continue to write to not only family members but also other individuals and business about how their actions influence the world environmentally in the hope that they will place a greater significance on this area and seek clean alternatives that can help us tread more lightly. I do consider the 'Oil Shale Exploration' to be a very serious and pressing matter and something that I will look into further as a priority , however, as mentioned while I implore everyone, to make sustainable choices for the planet, I cannot be held responsible for other people's actions despite my best efforts, even family members.

Once again I am grateful for you bringing this matter to my attention and promise to explore this matter further.


What grace, eh? I think if someone wrote me such a public letter, I'd tell them where to go. And yeah I know it's a long shot. Hey, if I can't convince my husband to stop bringing home plastic bags from the supermarket, then how's a rogue eco-warrior going to make an impact on some major multi-million, possibly billion-dollar deal, being handled by a cousin he may not even be talking to?

Stay tuned.

Karin Kloosterman is the founder and editor of the leading Middle East environment news blog, Green Prophet. To sign up for the weekly newsletter, hit here. Or email karin (at)