Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Climate change threatening the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River

The Sea of Galilee: A Sea of Miracles Disappearing

Where Jesus once preached, the holy waters are draining away,  Climate change and conflict have left the river Jordan a stagnant stream and the Sea of Galilee critically low, Guardian, Oliver Holmes Sun 24 Feb 2019  

Once a raging torrent, the lower Jordan has been starved of water to become a stagnant stream, filled with sewage and dirty run-off from farms. Around 95% of its historical flow has been diverted by agriculture during the past half-century. And the river’s primary source, the Sea of Galilee – where Christians believe the son of God walked on water – has for years been dammed to prevent its demise.

Biblical bodies of water in the Holy Land, eternalised in Christian, Jewish and Muslim ancient texts as godly, are now facing very human threats: climate change, mismanagement and conflict.

Following five consecutive years of drought, the Sea of Galilee has sunk to a 100-year low. A number of small islands have emerged at the water’s surface, and several holiday homes that were built on the shoreline now stand at least 100 metres from the boggy edge.

Overuse has also taken its toll. Last summer, the level of the lake dropped close to a black line, a level at which it could lose its status as a freshwater body. “The black line is our best guess of that point,” says Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli director of EcoPeace, an organisation of Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian environmentalists. “It was tens of centimetres above the black line,” he says, adding that such a shallow depth has not been seen in records taken over the past century.

As the lake’s level falls, it cannot wash away salt fast enough, and its salinity rises. If the Sea of Galilee’s waters were left to hover around the black line, its flora and fauna would start to perish. A glimpse of the lake’s grim future might be seen 350km downriver at the lowest place on the planet: the Dead Sea, a body almost devoid of fish and plant life. “Once the lake becomes saline, that could be irreversible,” says Bromberg, speaking at the muddy edge of the water, reeds poking up behind him………

As long as the Sea of Galilee is under threat, the river Jordan will be too. And their eventual deaths could have explosive ramifications as water in this region has been a key source of conflict. The river Jordan is shared by Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories, Jordan and Syria, all of which use its depleting reserves………

EcoPeace hopes that good water management will spur on peace to the region. Bromberg is now advocating for a deal in which Israel, which is on the Mediterranean, supplies desalinated water to Jordan. In exchange, Jordan, which is low on water but full of open desert with 320 sunny days a year, will supply solar power.

In the meantime, the river Jordan remains polluted. Most Christian pilgrims who want to be baptised in the holy waters do not venture to the original sitewhere John the Baptist is believed to have led Jesus into the water. That location is in the occupied Palestinian territories next to Jordan, and the Israeli army mined it decades ago. Pilgrims were only allowed to return some years ago……… https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/23/israel-where-jesus-preached-holy-waters-draining-away-sea-of-galilee-river-jordan?CMP=share_btn_tw

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February 25, 2019 - Posted by | General News

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