September 25, 2018

An afternoon with the world’s first solar-powered ‘eTree’

On the same quiet, green hill in northern Israel where environmentalist and forebanker Edmond James de Rothschild (of Rothschild Boulevard fame) is buried, the nation's — and the world's — very first solar-powered “>Ramat Hanadiv Memorial Gardens and Nature Park near Haifa, it’s a Giving Tree for Generation ADD:

It provides passerby with a shady, LED-lit place to sit, an unlocked wi-fi connection, four USB ports for phone charging and a chilled water fountain for rehydrating (whose wastewater then drains into a ground-level water bowl for the dog).

“>solar trees in public spaces to power ambient street lighting and lessen the city electric bill a smidge.

But after sitting with Israeli company Sologic’s prototype eTree for the better part of Wednesday afternoon, I’m ready to call it the most versatile — and interactive — tree in its field.

It’s also the most loyal to nature’s form: According to eTree creator Michael Lasry, its metalic trunk and branches are modeled after those of the biblical Shittah tree, which Jacob is said to have planted across Israel's desert plains.

“>“I’m a real boy!” style. However, they can’t be planted this year because it’s a