Energy insecurity and community resilience among ethnic minorities: The case of arab bedouins in Israel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

background: Energy insecurity (EI) is defined as the inability to adequately meet basic household needs such as cooking, boiling water, lighting, and heating; and has adverse environmental, health and social consequences. Availability and accessibility to energy infrastructures is also a core element of community resilience (CR). However, although the association between EI and CR seems intuitive, it has not yet been scientifically established. Ethnic minorities, such as the Bedouins in Israel, are at high risk to experience EI, as well as low levels of CR.
methods: A quantitative survey was conducted among two types of Bedouin settlements in southern Israel, which differ in their accessibility to national infrastructures: a) villages unrecognized by the state; and b) townships which are officially recognized. The survey evaluated demographics; access to energy resources; self-reported EI; and perceptions of CR which was measured by a validated tool (CCRAM). The analysis focused on comparing the two types of settlements for all measured indices.

results: 207 participants completed the questionnaire. Only 40% of the participants reported being directly connected to the national power grid. A similar rate reported using self-made solar panels, and 11% were using wood and other combustion materials as their primary source of energy. EI was significantly higher among residents of unrecognized villages; an opposite association was demonstrated for CR. EI was negatively associated with CR, and this association remained significant even when controlling for demographics (p<0.05).

discussion: the findings offer new insights to energy poverty and its potential consequences among one of the most vulnerable groups in Israeli society. The strong association between EI and CR demonstrates the interrelationship between the physical and perceptual aspects of resilience. Previous evidence that indicates energy poverty as a promotor of morbidity and mortality highlights the need for policy-level changes to enhance energy access among Bedouin communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAPHA's 2020 VIRTUAL Annual Meeting and Expo (Oct. 24-28)
StatePublished - Oct 2020

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