Green Prophet Impact news for the Middle East Sat, 10 Dec 2016 05:52:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Green Prophet 32 32 Join the urban farming movement Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:56:18 +0000 urban-farming-in-the-city
Urban farming, whether found in large urban cities like Chicago, or in a Palestinian refugee camp near Bethlehem, is rapidly becoming a worldwide movement. All it really takes is a small, available plot of ground, an accessible rooftop on a warehouse or other urban building; or even a large balcony in a private home for growing a wide variety of fresh garden produce.

City dwellers are now enjoying the pleasure and personal benefits of growing their own garden produce, which is often very expensive when purchased at local supermarkets and green grocers. Urban farmers who lack experience in growing their own veggies are receiving assistance from urban farming organizations, such as one called Urban Farming, a Michigan based NGO, which is making a big impact on turning American and other urban communities into active participants in the global urban farming food chain.

Urban Farming has helped establish local community farming projects in American urban locations such as Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco and St Louis. Besides giving local residents the opportunity to participate in growing their own garden produce, Urban Farming is also helping to bring people together into a stronger sense of working together as a community. Part of the produce grown in these community farming projects is given to local food banks for distribution to needy people.


In water and land scarce parts of the Middle East, urban farming is coming into its own. A good example is taking place in Cario Egypt (photo), where a number of urban farming projects are turning rooftops into blooming urban gardens.

Cairo suffers from a combination of extreme population density, combined with a chronic lack of available vegetable produce. Local urban organizations such as the Egyptian Food Sovereignty Project, has established successful urban farming projects in this city of more than 12 million people.

Another M.E. urban farming example is taking place in the West Bank, where Palestinian refugees are now growing vegetable produce in rooftop gardens in a Bethlehem refugee camp. It all goes to show that successful urban gardening projects are possible virtually anywhere. All it takes is a bit of available space and a willingness to be involved in helping to green the planet.

Read more on urban farming projects:

Chicago’s urban farming produces fresh veggies all year, 24/7

Brooklyn’s Gotham Greens builds world’s largest rooftop urban garden

Sow much good farmer a CNN hero for spreading her seeds at the urban farm

Photo of urban farming in the city by

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Car accidents and how to avoid crazy Middle East drivers Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:28:15 +0000 cars-tehran-air-pollution

Car accidents are a number one cause of death in the Middle East. Forget conflicts, more people are dying from dangerous driving. Car accidents, as any police officer, medical personal, or car accident lawyers can tell you, are among the most common and most devastating parts of our culture. Even in New York where public transportation is common and widely available, almost everyone has a car accident story and can attest to the pain they cause and the inconvenience that they are.

The best way to avoid these hassles is to know the causes of accidents and avoid them. Although you cannot control every accident, a significant amount of accidents could be avoided by remembering the following causes:

Road Rage

If you live in the city, you are likely to experience road rage of some form or another every day. The separation of drivers by their vehicles causes them to act in ways that they would never act if they were face to face with that person. As with anything, everyone has their own style of driving. Some are more cautious, others like to assert themselves, and these factors along with the inability to converse and understand one another lead to those things that we are all familiar with—shouting, gesticulating, and driving recklessly and distractedly.

How to Avoid Road Rage

Feeling irritated with other drivers is unavoidable, but there are things that you can do to alleviate the tension and avoid reckless road rage that can cause accidents. Try to leave on time. When you are late you become tense and frustrated and any delay can tip you over the edge. Begin your drive with a relaxed state of mind. Also, try turning on the radio to a channel that is calming to you.

Drinking and Driving and Other Substance Abuse

Some of the most devastating accidents happen under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. Any of these substances severely impair your judgment. Driving requires constant focus and the ability to make split-second decisions. Neither of these is possible under the influence.

How to Avoid

Get a designated driver, period. Even if you plan on only having a little bit of alcohol or another substance, have someone else drive you home. Don’t gamble with your life or others’ lives.

Texting and Driving

A relatively new phenomenon, texting and driving involves taking your eyes off the road, taking your mind off of driving, and taking one of your hands off of the wheel. This means that if something happens while you are looking away, you don’t even have the mindset or the physical capability to act as fast as you need to. This is one of the most dangerous things you can do while driving and causes horrible results.

How to Avoid

Don’t do it—not even once. Put your phone in the trunk if you have to in order to avoid the temptation. Pull over if you need to send a text, otherwise the conversation can wait.

Following Too Closely

Sometimes whether because of aggression or lack of knowledge, a person following too closely will cause an accident when the person in front of them comes to an abrupt stop. The rule is, follow no less than one car length for every 10mph that you are traveling. This length should be extended for any unusual circumstances such as night driving or driving in bad weather.

Distracted Driving

We have all been guilty of distracted driving. Whether it has been a beautiful sunset, or the need to eat your lunch in the car because of a tight schedule, distractions are a part of driving, but they can cause accidents.

How to Avoid

Minimize what distractions you can, and be wise about the ones you cannot control. If a sunset is beautiful enough to be a distraction, feel free to pull over to a safe place and enjoy it.

Traffic Law Disobedience or Ignorance

Laws are sometimes annoying, but they are put in place for our safety. Disregarding these laws is not only a good way to get a ticket, but is a good way to cause an accident. Trying to squeeze through a red light, speeding, neglecting your turn signals, and crossing lanes too quickly are all causes of accidents.

How to Avoid

Always be a student. Traffic laws are in abundance, and we can’t always remember them all. Be mindful as you are driving and if you make mistakes try to learn from them. If you can’t remember a law, look it up. Try to become a better driver every day. Be humble and don’t rebel against the system or the laws. They are put in place for a reason and should be followed.

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Energy-generating roads to be built on four continents in 2017 Sun, 04 Dec 2016 16:43:18 +0000 wattway colas In 2014, Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde created a bike path that glows at night thanks to absorbed solar energy. Now manufacturers are tackling larger roads, building energy-producing highways that can generate solar energy and send it directly to existing power grids. French infrastructure company Colas, a subsidiary of Bouygues SA, has developed “Wattway”, a photovoltaic (PV) road surface with planned projects across four continents.

Colas’ Wattway technology differs from other PV solutions in that it does not require need the existing road infrastructure to be re-engineered. Instead, thin PV panels are applied directly on the pavement. The concept aims to generate green electricity while also allowing uninterrupted traffic flow.

wattway colasThe 7-mm-thick panels are made from layered solar cells – similar to those used in flexible roof membranes – encapsulated in a resin substrate which keeps them rainproof. The composition allows the panels to adapt to thermal dilation and contraction in the underlying pavement. All electrical wiring is embedded within the road surface and an anti-slip surface made from crushed glass tops the panels. The rugged system is capable of withstanding the weight of an 18-wheeler truck.

wattway colas

“We wanted to find a second life for a road,” Philippe Harelle, the chief technology officer at Colas SA’s Wattway unit, told Bloomberg. “Solar farms use land that could otherwise be for agriculture, while the roads are free.”

In August, French energy minister Ségolène Royal inaugurated a new panel manufacturing plant located adjacent to Colas’ headquarters in the village of Tourouvre, in Normandy. The panels were previously manufactured at the Institut National de l’Energie Solaire (INES) laboratory in Le Bourget-du-Lac, but the new facility is expected to speed up the production. Following five years of research and lab testing, a pilot project is underway near the plant to create a 1-kilometer-long solar road that will generate enough electicity to power public street lighting for a town of 5,000 inhabitants.

wattway colasColas is also constructing 100 field test sites. One site will be used to charge electric vehicles, another will power a small hydrogen production plant. Wattway has also installed its panels to illuminate electronic billboards.

“We need to test for all kinds of different traffic and climate conditions,” said Harelle. “I want to find the limits of it. We think that maybe it will not be able to withstand a snow plow.” The manufacturer says that a Wattway panel can last at least 10 years depending on the traffic, which speeds up wear. If the section is not covered by heavy traffic – a stadium parking lot for example – then Wattway panels can last roughly 20 years.

The French government has stated plans to pave 1,000 kilometers of road with solar panels over the next five years, and is supporting panel development with €5 million in state funding. When the project is complete, the electric roadways will be able to supply power for about 8% of the French population, or 5 million people.

The next two installations will be in Calgary, Canada and in Georgia, USA. Wattway also has projects planned in Africa, Japan and other European Union nations.

In the past five years, prices for solar technology prices have plummeted, making solar an economical alternative to fossil fuels. But costs of the solar roadway may remain an obstacle to wider commercial application. As reported by Bloomberg, a square meter of solar road (including monitoring, data collection and installation) currently costs €2,500. Wattway says it can make the price competitive with traditional solar farms by 2020.

As for incorporating PV in civil infrastructure, Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Pietro Radoia said, “On roads, I don’t think that it will really take off unless there’s a shortage of land sometime in the future.”’

Colas will include Wattway panels in their product line in 2017, even offering larger sized panel surfaces. A spokeman said they plan to commercialize the technology in 2018, and expect to have the product available within the next three years for installation on private roads and driveways.


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Gift a stranger a coat, and change the world Sun, 04 Dec 2016 14:28:31 +0000 The Empowerment Plan Many Green Prophet readers already turn to alternatives when gifting, choosing to give for a loved one to causes with resonant meaning, or buying items that have impact far beyond the artefact itself. This Hanukkah and Christmas, consider a practical present that ticks all eco-humanitarian boxes, especially as you give it away to a stranger.

The Empowerment Plan The EMPWR coat is a water-resistant jacket, which transforms into a sleeping bag. It can also be worn as an over-the-shoulder bag when not in use. It’s constructed of durable, water-resistant Cordura fabric from Carhartt, upcycled automotive insulation from General Motors, and other materials provided by generous donors in the greater Detroit, Michigan area, where brutal winter weather makes homelessness especially treacherous.

The Empowerment Plan You don’t so much “own” the coat as “sponsor” it. The company website invites you to donate $100 USD – which covers the cost of labor, materials, and overhead expenses – which “sponsors” a coat giveaway by The Empowerment Plan team.  You can also opt to have the jacket sent to you for distribution in your own community.

Founder and CEO Veronika Scott, pictured above and below, started the project when a class at The College for Creative Studies in Detroit challenged her to create a product to fill a real need in her community. Scott decided to tackle homelessness and began spending time at a nearby homeless shelter where the design for the EMPWR coat developed. When an angry homeless woman confronted Scott, stating she didn’t need a coat but a job, the project to give comfort to people sleeping in the rough took a turn towards social development, and so launched The Empowerment Plan.

The Empowerment Plan The nonprofit works to permanently elevate families from the generational cycle of homelessness. It hires single parents from local shelters and provides them with training and full-time employment as seamstresses, enabling them to earn a stable income, find secure housing, and regain their independence.

The project does much more than make coats to give out to the local homeless community. Since 2012, The Empowerment Plan has provided employment to 34 homeless individuals—all of whom have now secured permanent housing for themselves and their families —and distributed over 15,000 coats to those in need across the US, Canada, and a few countries internationally.

The Empowerment Plan

Supported by donations from private individuals, large corporations and foundations, the project also partners with local organizations to provide its workers with on-the-clock, supplemental programming including high school equivalency courses, financial literacy classes, and professional development seminars.

Scott believes her model can be replicated in communities beyond Detroit, saying, “We are creating a workforce from a population many overlook. Homelessness should not be a life sentence.” The project is scalable. Last year, Chicago’s hip-hop and R&B radio station “Chance” announced its “Warmest Winter” campaign that aimed to raise $100,000 on Crowdrise to give 1,000 EMPWR coats for homeless people. 

“Pathological consumption has become so normalized that we scarcely notice it,” wrote George Monbiot in a 2012 column in the Guardian about the economic and environmental obscenity of Christmastime consumption.

Living in Jordan, a developing country where one-third of its population has refugee status, it’s simple to see that the global culture of pathological consumption – which exploits cheap labor, consumes natural resources, and ultimately provides an accelerating waste stream to our landfills and oceans – needs radical readjustment.

Filmmaker Annie Leonard stated in her 2007 documentary The Story of Stuff that only 1% of the materials flowing through the consumer economy stay in use six months after sale. Monbiot wrote that even those goods we might wish to hold on to are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (easy breakage) or perceived obsolescence (going out of style).

So this Christmas and Hanukkah, consider the options. Do someone a favor. Give the gift of your skills. Cook a meal or hand-make something useful. Support businesses that protect the environment. Or buy a functional EMPWR coat to keep a stranger warm. Learn more on their website, link here.


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Florida beermaker’s edible packaging is saving lives Thu, 01 Dec 2016 06:42:53 +0000 saltwater edible six pack ringsA small Florida microbrewery has developed a biodegradable and edible six-pack ring, a new approach to sustainable packaging aimed at protecting marine species vulnerable to plastic pollution. The decision to go green was an easy one for Saltwater Brewery. The company was founded in 2013 by fisherman, surfers and people who love the sea.

Americans consume about 67 billion cans of beer every year. Factor in canned juices, teas, fizzy drinks, and a trend towards canned wines, amplify those figures globally, and the number of single-use plastic six-pack rings tossed into the world’s waste stream quadruples. Most of these end up in our oceans, posing a serious threat to waterways and the wildlife within.

“Our focus is reducing the marine debris in the ocean. We know we can’t take on the whole world’s plastic problem, but if we help spread the knowledge we’ve learned, that’s the fastest way to reduce it,” brewery president Chris Gove told “It is how we are reducing our carbon footprint, not just on working on cleanup but focusing upstream. We’re trying to educate the world that cleanups are good but they’re not going to stop the problem.”

saltwater breweryThe brewery makes the rings using leftover barley and wheat ribbons from the beer-making process. That grain is bound with biopolymer, a protein occurring in living organisms, and pressed into ring shapes which are 100 percent biodegradable and edible. Now, instead of getting entangled in – or choking on – the rings, marine life can safely eat them.

“We have to get rid of our waste every time we brew,” Gove said. “You start with a thousand pounds and after wetting it through the process, you end up with 3,000 pounds. It’s a cost to the brewery and a hassle, and we’ve been giving it to farmers for cattle. Now we have something better to do with it.”  The brewery produces about 45,000 pounds of spent grain per week, which is repurposed  by local farmers as compost or animal feed picked up by local farmers.

While the spent-grain compound isn’t an ideal meal for marine species, it’s not harmful. Gove compared it to candy for children, “It’s a comparison of a Lego to a Sour Patch Kid. It’s not giving them their 100% nutritional value, but they’re not going to the hospital.”

Saltwater Brewery developed the project with New York ad agency We Believers. They aspire to have the wider industry move towards eco-friendly packaging, and are now exploring how the idea might be expanded to other biodegradable products. The brewery also plans to sell the biopolymer technology blueprint so that other beverage companies can stop using plastic rings, too. Watch We Believers’ video on the project below:

”We’ve known for decades that our fondness for Ziploc bags, food wrappers and other plastics is hurting the environment — particularly sea life. But both consumers and businesses have proven largely unwilling to give up the convenience of single-use plastics. We’re now focused on the network and infrastructure to create a real company that can provide packaging solutions to different industries,” Gove said.

The switch to biodegradable rings was initially costly for Saltwater Brewery. Currently, consumers have to pay about 10 cents more per beer for the technology. But Gove says they haven’t gotten complaints, and in time, the brewery hopes to get the price of the eco-friendly rings below the cost of plastic ones. The cans, being aluminium, are 100% recyclable.

“Not only are they using up their own waste in a positive way, they’re helping save animals by feeding them instead of killing them with plastic particles,” said PETA spokesperson Laura Castada. “They’ve gotten good publicity and sales out of the deal, too. There is no downside to going environmentally friendly.”

Said Gove, “Our whole brewery is based on the ocean. Anything we can do to help out the ocean, we’re going to do.”

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Awesome LEGO-like-hair bike helmet makes safety child’s play! Wed, 30 Nov 2016 09:22:32 +0000 LEGO bike helmetThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that fewer than half of bicycle riders between the ages of 5 and 14 wear a protective helmet, despite common sense, and well-publicized studies that show helmets cut risks of serious head injury by nearly 70%. This disconnect spurred people at international advertising giant DBB to devise a playful solution.

They’ve developed a prototype bicycle helmet based on an artifact instantly recognizable to most of their targeted demographic – it looks exactly like the plastic hair on LEGO figures. (Truth be told, the helmet copies the head of a Playmobil figure, arch-rival of the LEGO brand.)

Two remotely located DDB colleagues designed the helmet, Clara Prior in Copenhagen and Simon Higby in Stockholm office and Clara Prior from Copenhagen.  The pair were collaborating on an MBA thesis that explored whether kids would voluntarily wear bike helmets if there were helmets available that kids would actually want to wear.

The duo turned to design company MOEF to make a model for them last year. They popped a head off one of their Playmobil figures, and put it through a 3D scanner. They tweaked the proportions and played with color-matching to create a comical outer shell for some serious inner safety kit.

You can see their entire design process, including 3D printing and paint job, below:

The picture of the helmet appeared on Imgur, and in UK free commuter newspaper Metro, and soon went viral. No surprise, most adult bike enthusiasts know to use a helmet. And while new variations do occasionally appear (like the inflatable Hövding Invisible Bike Helmet), who wouldn’t want to sport the greatest “helmet hair”?

People contacted the designers asking if it came in different hairstyles and colors. A few specifically requested “The Trump”. And people just wanted to know how they could buy one.

Trump naked

Unfortunately, this helmet is only a prototype. Asked by Metro if they were planning to go into commercial production, co-designer Higby said, “I would love to do that. We just don’t know who [to approach] right now.” That said, the pair are petitioning for LEGO to take a look at mass-producing the helmets.

A major study of global bike helmet usage by Australian statisticians Jake Olivier and Prudence Creighton from the University of New South Wales looked at more than 64,000 cyclists and found helmets reduce risks of serious head injury by nearly 70%. The study also found that while helmets are not associated with preventing neck injuries, cyclists who wear helmets reduce their chance of a fatal head injury by 65%.

Previous studies have indicated helmet use encourages risk-taking behavior or does not reduce serious injury to the brain. But this latest review collated data from more than 40 separate studies found helmet use did dramatically reduce odds of head injuries. They presented their findings in Finland last September at Safety 2016, the world conference on injury prevention and safety promotion.

Image of Trump from ScottGR13/Reddit, all others from YouTube

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Gazan farmer is a role model for urban agriculture Tue, 29 Nov 2016 10:51:31 +0000 abu nasser gazan farmerPalestinian Said Salim Abu Nasser is on a mission to make urban farming more sustainable. He transformed a derelict lot in Gaza City into a 200 square meter micro-farm that produces safe and affordable food in a maximally sustainable way.

Abu Nasser has created a tiny urban farmstead using a hydroponic system. On the roof of his six-story apartment tower he cultivates red and green peppers and mint in large plastic tubs.  His ground level garden boasts aubergines and a variety of green leafy vegetables, which he nurtures using homemade organic pest-control solutions consisting of garlic, pepper, and soap. His soil-less farm is about six years old, and his experiments aim to improve the quality of life in Gaza.

“My plants are now bearing fruit for the first time,” he told Gulf Times, “I am so happy, but I really want to make it even better.”

Almost 2 million people live in the Gaza strip, as the population grows, new housing is taking up land previously used by farms, requiring that alternative means of vegetable growing are urgently needed. To that end, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has supported 219 households with rooftop hydroponic gardens. Under that program, Abu Nasser received about $5,400 USD and training in hydroponic techniques.

“The water in Gaza is not suitable and requires a special treatment,” he told Gulf Times.The plants sit in polystyrene panels, which float in troughs, with roots hanging in water. Abu Nasser adds minerals such as magnesium and calcium to the water, and watches how the plants react. The electricity for the water pumps comes from solar collectors on the roof.

In his day job, Abu Nasser works at the Interior Ministry of Hamas, which governs the Gaza strip. Simultaneously, As an amateur farmer, the 53-year-old now produces about 3,500 kilograms of food. That’s enough to feed 30 people. At first, his lettuce plants did not grow. But six years on, he now says he has given 2,000 heads of lettuce to his friends and family, as well as 200 kilograms of aubergines and 100 kilograms of peppers.

Most importantly, his urban farm is serving as a test lab that is showing others how to make small-scale urban agriculture maximally sustainable.

Learn more in this short film produced by Palestinian freelance filmmaker Yasser Abu Wazna.

Across the planet, and increasingly in urban environments, small-scale farmers are demonstrating a powerful potential in feeding the growing global population in a way that increases both human and planetary health, with favorable economics. Search through the Green Prophet archive using “hydroponics” and “urban farming“, and see if you’re inspired to move beyond a few kitchen herbs in windowsill pots.



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The Melbourne Cup – let’s relive the moments Sun, 27 Nov 2016 18:58:17 +0000 melbourne_cup

Australian jockey Kerrin McEvoy, 36 has registered his second Melbourne Cup success after winning the 2016 Melbourne Cup. This was while riding Almandin, from the stable of trainer Robert Hickmott and owned by Lloyd Williams, the Australian property tycoon. This race also made Williams the most successful owner in the history of this race, as he now has 5 Melbourne Cup victories under his belt.

Considered as the race that can stop a nation, the 156th edition of the Melbourne Cup was certainly up to the expectations of everyone. The Flemington Racecourse was swept by a crowd of over 100,000 punters for the world’s richest 2-mile handicap race. This prestigious race drew an impressive field of talent from homeland and also from abroad to compete for the prize of 3.6m Australian Dollars. That’s over £2,22m!

The closing stages of this race was breathtaking, where we saw an amazing duel between the 6-year-old German bred gelding Almandin and Heartbreak City, the Irish challenger, ridden by Joao Moreira, the Brazilian born jockey. Finally, Almandin got the better of the latter to end the race in style, narrowly taking the victory from the challenger. This is yet another success feather in the cap of McEvoy, who has made himself quite a big reputation in Britain by riding for the Godolphin Stable of Sheikh Mohammed alongside his partner Frankie Dettori for a few seasons until 2008.

McEvoy game time to Almandin to find his feet, and the horse found himself outside Heartbreak City from the 800 metres. Almandin tracked the fading Jameka into the straight, and set off with the runner up as they closed the 300m barrier. Almandin had to deal with tendon problem prior to the race. The team behind has made a brilliant effort to bring back the horse to shape, as he won in October to get into this prestigious race. This shows as how he has been well prepared by a dedicated team to win this race.

It is interesting to note that the Melbourne Cup has never been won by any British trained runner till date. We will all have to wait for yet another year in the hope of getting a British winner as Qewy trained by C Appleby and ridden by jockey Craig Williams only finished on the fourth spot. It’s not surprising that betting is already opened for next year’s 2017 Melbourne Cup, with Yankee Rose as the current favourite at £8. On the other hand, this year’s winner Almandin is rated at £10 and Heartbreak, the runner up is priced at £16.

In the meantime, you can place your bets on the sports themed slots found at Magical Vegas, the top online casino. On this great casino site, you will find numerous sports themed online slots such as Reel Spinner, Goal!, Golden Goal, Cup Carnival, Basketball Star, Drive Multiplier Mayhem, Winbledon and more. Apart from the sports themed slots, you will also find hundreds of other online slots at Magical Vegas with various other themes.

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25 eco-athletes swim to save the Dead Sea Sat, 19 Nov 2016 18:22:09 +0000 dead sea swimThis week, 25 open water swimmers endured seven hours paddling throught the hypersaline waters of the Dead Sea to draw world attention to the environmental degradation of that three million year old lake. Equipped with facemasks and snorkels specifically designed to protect them from the mineral-rich water, they dove in on the Jordan shoreline, and emerged in Israel. Artist Spencer Tunick lured hundreds into the sea for an eco-float, but this was the first time swimmers traversed the full width of one of the earth’s saltiest waterbodies.dead sea swim“We’re here for the first ever Dead Sea swim challenge with 25 swimmers that come from all over the world to send out a clear message to save the Dead Sea, which is shrinking today at an alarming rate,” announced Mira Edelstein from the environmental group EcoPeace at the start of the swim.

Over the last 30 years, the water level of the Dead Sea has dropped by more than 25 meters (82 feet). The Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth at 423 meters (1,388 feet) below sea level, has shrunk significantly in recent decades, attributable to unsustainable water management and over-exploitation of its mineral content. Degradation began in the 1960s when Israel, Jordan and Syria began to divert water from the lake’s main tributary, the Jordan River, for irrigation. An estimated 90 percent of the waters that histroically fed the Dead Sea are now being diverted by surrounding nations.

Gidon Bromberg, EcoPeace Middle East co-director, said the event was “a global call to save this amazing sea.”

dead sea swim

Dead Sea shorelines touch Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli territories. Although locals and tourists from all three populations bathe in the sea, swimming across its entirety has never before been done. At dawn on November 15th, the swimmers set sail from Ein Gedi in Israel to Wadi Mujib in Jordan. They then began swimming the 17 kilometer (11 mile) course back to Israel, accompanied by medical support vessels, as the water can be deadly if ingested.

Only three swimmers failed to finish, due largely to dehydration. Four others swimmers took breaks on the support boat, including Palestinian lifeguard Yussuf Matari, 61, who was treated with IV fluids before resuming his swim. In a show o solidarity and sportsmanship, those who approached the finish first waited offshore so all could complete the race together.

“This was a challenge, not a race,” said Jean Craven, a founder of “Madswimmer,” a South African charity that participates in open water swims around the world to raise funds for children’s projects. “It was really great to see the camaraderie, you know, everyone trying to bring the slowest swimmers along with them.”

Learn more at the event website (link here) which paints a clear picture of why this natural and historical wonder warrants world attention:

  • With its surface and shorelines at 423 m (1,388 ft) below sea level, the Dead Sea is Earth’s lowest elevation on land.
  • At 377 m (1,237 ft) deep, it’s the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. Salt concentration in the Dead Sea is 33.7%. Compare that to the Mediterranean Sea, which is between 3.5% and 3.9%. Its saline levels are 8.6 times that of ocean water.
  • 800 million cubic meters of water per year is needed to halt its continued deterioration

The event was co-sponsored by the Tamar Regional Council, EcoPeace Middle East, and World Open Water Swim Association.






More than 4,000 sinkholes have also formed along the Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian coasts since the 1980s, according to Israeli research, with more than 400 per year in recent years.


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Pee power may be best alternative energy bet yet Mon, 14 Nov 2016 18:16:21 +0000 mechanicalen-pee-power

Finding a viable alternative energy source to create low cost bio energy may be closer than we think. Some of these sources include energy from trash and algae as fuel for our future energy needs. Another alternative energy source, comes from a “product” usually discarded as a waste substance: urine. The use of urine as a
fuel source was previously written about when a group of high school students in Lagos Nigeria created a practical way to separate hydrogen from urine and then use it to power a generator to create electricity.

Going one step further, a research engineer from the University of Sorona State in Northern Mexico has found a way to use urine’s natural ability as an electrolyte to separate to separate oxygen from hydrogen in common urine and create a viable biofuel.

The engineer, Gabriel Luna-Sandoval, claims to have invented a machine that transforms urine into a biogas that can be used to provide power to heat water in kitchens, bathrooms, and other household uses. The conversion process developed by Dr. Luna-Sandoval involves inserting electrodes into a square plastic container holding the urine. The charged electrodes then separate oxygen and hydrogen from the urine with the hydrogen being used as a biogas.

Luna-Sandoval’s prototype device creates enough biogas to provide His invention provides enough heat for a 15-minute hot shower, using only 15 to 20 millilitres of urine. Cooking food like beans for one hour requires only 70 to 130 millilitres of urine, he says.

He is also thinking about the oxygen separation process as being beneficial for astronauts in space travel. “An average adult person “produces” around 1.4 liters of urine a day, which normally is thrown away. Why not put this waste material to good use, he says. The device Luna-Sandoval created has received attention from the government’s National Science and Technology Council, which featured it in a recent article.

This is just another idea for making use of a waste substance that is normally flushed down the toilet.

Read more on alternative energy ideas:
Algae returns as fuel for our future
Pee power is making electricity from urine in Africa
Energy from Trash to Become Reality with $17 Million Israeli Investment

Photos of Gabriel Luna-Sandova and his urine processing device by 

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