This blog post was contributed by Efrath Silver, intern at FoEME’s Tel Aviv office.
Today, October 15th, is Blog Action Day 2010, with a special focus on the issue of water. Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. The aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all. Friends of the Earth Middle East likes to seize this opportunity to shed light on the growing water crisis in the Middle East.
As most of us know, the Middle East is one of the most water-stressed regions in the world. One could even say that in this region water is more important than oil. FoEME has a primary objective to promote the protection of shared environmental heritage, particularly with regard to the region’s scarce water resources. The developing water crisis is most apparent in the drying up of the Lower Jordan River and consequently the Dead Sea. FoEME is therefore calling for the rehabilitation of the river.
To call attention to the plight of the river, FoEME organized a Jordan River bicycle ride through the Jordan Valley on October 9th. The ride took place in the framework of the global campaign by 350.org for a safer and greener future. The goal was to focus attention in Israel and world-wide on the effects of climate change upon our natural and cultural heritage sites, such as the Lower Jordan River, and to encourage international efforts to reduce emissions and secure solutions for climate change.
Due to over-exploitation of the waters of the Lower Jordan River, what there is left is a sewage canal with only a fraction of the amount of fresh water that once flowed through the river. In addition to that, climate change will directly impact water resources in the Middle East, causing a decrease in the amount of water in local water springs, the baseflow of the Lower Jordan River and its tributaries, as well as the receding waters of the Dead Sea.
About 80 enthusiastic cyclists of all ages participated in the Jordan River Ride, making it a very successful event. The route started at the Ein Shokek spring and led along the Harod Stream to the Lower Jordan River. There were several stops on the way, where participants learned about water pollution and shortage. After a two hour ride through the scenic landscape of the valley, the group reached the banks of the river and poored a bottle of water, carried from Ein Shokek, into the river. A symbolic way of giving back the water to the Jordan River.
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