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The Jordan is Dying! (And a lot hangs in the balance)

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posted on Dec, 3 2009 @ 06:43 PM
Some things transcend their apparent worth, whether by nature of historical/cultural/religious association or simply due to their geographic location. Take them away and a lot more is lost than what physically meets the eye...

The Jordan is not the Amazon, or the Nile for that matter. But what it lacks in grandeur it makes up for in pregnant associations. From the Israelites crossing to enter the Promised Land to the Baptism of Jesus Christ it means a great deal to a great many people. Those who do not profess a Judaeo-Christian faith would undoubtedly still be able to appreciate something of how precious this river is to so many people in terms of its rich symbolism.

I have just come across this information and I am truly shocked. The Jordan is in big trouble:

Watch the Video

It would be easy to point at the authorities in Israel and take pot-shots at them. However what riles me most is the way some businesspeople rape our world relentlessly all in the name of increased profits. It's not enough to poison the land and sea with chemicals or knowingly bring their respective natural ecosystems to the brink of collapse through over-intensive methods of exploitation; no, they've got to turn a blind eye to their own cultural heritage too.

The Jordan has brought blessing to generation upon generation from time immemorial. But what about the next generation?

Perhaps it is not too late. Some in the region are awake to what has happened. Could there perhaps even be a silver lining - could Jews and Palestinians some day even join in seeking to preserve what is not only a cultural treasure, but a vital natural resource? —

...the health of the Jordan River is even worse than it appears. Almost all of the water that used to flow into the river is now diverted for human use. In the 1960’s, the Israeli government blocked off the Jordan river just a few kilometers after it leaves the Sea of Galilee, and later, the Jordanian government dammed the Jordan River’s other main source of water, the Yarmouk River. What now flows in between the Jordan’s banks is almost entirely human sewage, most of it untreated. The river where John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, a river so sacred it doesn’t need a priest’s blessing to be considered holy water, is now, for all intents and purposes, full of [****] (censored).

The decline of the Jordan River has had profound social and environmental consequences for the Jordan Valley. It has reduced habit for the millions of birds migrating each year from Europe to Africa for whom the Jordan is the last chance to fatten up before crossing the Sahara Desert. It is killing the Dead Sea, which, without replenishment from the Jordan, is dropping about a meter a year. And it is helping to decimate Palestinian towns in the occupied West Bank – home to some of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities – which are slowly dying of thirst without access to the river and without the authority to dig their own wells.

But the plight of the Jordan valley is galvanizing a new generation of environmental activists in the region. For Palestinians, reviving the Jordan River is a necessary part of a national water system for a future Palestinian state. For many idealistic secular Israelis, learning to live with their dry country’s fragile ecosystem is helping them redefine Zionism. And for all the communities that live along the Jordan, sharing its blessings is an opportunity to nurture the region’s fragile peace.

The trick is to convince the national governments that use the Jordan’s water that it they would be better off returning the river to its natural course...

...Friends of the Earth Middle East and architects from Yale University have developed a showcase eco-tourism project: a Peace Park on an island in the middle of the river, where Jordanians and Israelis could meet without passports or visas. The Peace Park would also be a concrete way of fighting the mistrust that push countries to grab as much water as they can. “War will not generate water,” said Nader Al-Khateeb, the Palestinian director of FoEME. “But peace can generate millions of cubic meters of water.”


How about that? Maybe the Jordan is even more than a rich and powerful symbol. Maybe it could even underpin efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.

So how about people of no faith joining those of faith to spread awareness of this issue? What do you say?

posted on Dec, 3 2009 @ 07:34 PM
I confess not to be terribly well-informed in the specifics but I have to say, the Jordan River crosses through a lot of non-Israeli land....

And the video you present seems oddly biased in a religious sense. It seems not concerned with ecology, or restoring the river for the sake of natural balance, but for it's religious significance.

I suspect that they are soliciting funding to help with their cause. But I, personally, would have a hard time reconciling myself to do so, considering the nature of the changes necessary to achieve their goal must come from within the region.

I'm guessing that the more staunch religious adherents will be suitably inspired.

The waters are muddied by more than pollution, they are muddied with religious and political ideology.

Who lives near the river? Mostly Muslims, I'm guessing.

Still, you made a great presentation of the material.

posted on Dec, 3 2009 @ 08:08 PM
This is indeed sickening. The photo reveals so much beauty, surrounded by old and gorgeous trees and vegetation. It would be a shame, no a tragedy, to let such an old and historic landmark be ruined.

The religious history justs adds to it's mystery, awesomeness, and beauty in my opinion. It can be saved; rivers can be saved, if effective clean ups and care are taken soon enough. Let's hope. There is only one Jordan River, and it's a significant one. For those of you who don't care; fine.
Don't care. But there are those of us who do.

posted on Dec, 3 2009 @ 08:14 PM
I say taxpayers are fed-up with this result after sending billions to the region.
What have you done with the money exactly...built a fence?

posted on Dec, 3 2009 @ 08:19 PM
S&F for a wonderful thread. I was not even aware of this part of problem in Jordan. It's really sad how humans treat the nature. I know I cannot do anything about this particular issue but I will definitely try to make my surroundings a better place.

posted on Dec, 3 2009 @ 08:22 PM

Originally posted by Maxmars
Who lives near the river? Mostly Muslims, I'm guessing.

I am not sure but I think Israel controls the river.

posted on Dec, 3 2009 @ 08:56 PM
reply to post by December_Rain

Thanks, I really didn't know either way.

posted on Dec, 3 2009 @ 09:12 PM
reply to post by Maxmars

Maybe if everybody in the region had fewer children and brought the overall population down to sustainable levels, maybe that might help?

I've always thought that 3/4s of the problem over there has been too many people trying to maintain a high standard of living in a desert.

In the end, no matter what flavor your rhetoric, the desert will work its own harsh calculus and force a balance whether you like it or not.

posted on Dec, 3 2009 @ 09:43 PM
reply to post by apacheman

I would have to agree. It seems ironic that we 'modern' people are so keen to consume ... we end up consuming ourselves into a perilous state.

Add to that our propensity to insist on being correct, and we all but destroy ourselves.... sad commentary.

It seems there is a great deal of love for the river, yet one day at a time, those living near it, let it get this way. It is going to take a lot more cooperation and adherence to a common goal to make this river right again.

I pray it happens.


posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 03:20 PM
Thanks to those who've expressed appreciation for the thread, and for the thoughtful responses. Very interesting that some have asked whether overpopulation is to blame. Having just watched the following it seems Friends of the Earth sees it more in terms of needless cultivation of the land to facilitate production of lucrative export crops, plus unnecessary (and shameless) pollution of the watercourse:

Well, Maxmars, that should redress the balance for you; the ecological angle is overpowering, while the theology is dire (— Christ didn't need cleansing & the 'holiness' of the river has little if anything to do with miracles!)

The video narration mentions the relationship between regional conflict & the need for water. I can't help thinking the filth of the Jordan constitutes a fitting symbol for the enmity that exists between the nations encompassing it. In fact it seems the health of the river will literally decline/improve in proportion to the ability of said nations to start working together. It makes such obvious sense for all concerned to restore and preserve this precious heritage. Then again how often do Middle Eastern politics actually make sense?

Consequently real progress will probably only be made when the individual governments concerned start taking this issue seriously either on grounds of principle or in response to pressure from the wider world.

Word of this awful loss needs to be spread, and anyone who cares - for whatever reason - can surely at least play a part in making it known. I really see this as one of those 'Think of your grandchildren' issues.

PS - As a kid I occasionally fished in a huge river estuary that, not to put too fine a point on it, sometimes left you with toilet paper on the line. A cess pool in motion, if you like. It now has a salmon run. But it took a committed, coordinated effort both at regional and national level over many many years to turn the tide.

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 03:58 PM
reply to post by pause4thought

Very nicely said. It does indeed seem to embody the general political toxicities of the areas.

It's sad however. Very sad. I'm not feeling optimistic at this point, that it will be recovered. Too much anonmosity.

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