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Posts Tagged ‘Dead Sea’

If you are coming here via Green Prophet, then welcome! Pitaron Park is a community based on the intersection between Judaism and the environment. You can get in touch with us at pitaronpark (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Within the realm of cosmetics, Ahava certainly holds a certain respect. Founded in 1988, the Israeli company exports its skin-enriching products, infused with minerals from the Dead Sea, to over 30 countries around the world.

On its website under the Environmental Responsibility tab, Ahava writes that “the Company’s activities are undertaken with a view towards preserving the pristine environment and delicate balance of the natural forces in the Dead Sea region.”

Is this true?

To give Ahava some credit, their products are enclosed in recyclable containers and are not tested on animals for research. That’s always a good thing. But there is a bigger, more important issue here.

The Dead Sea, where Ahava harvests its minerals, is fragile territory, reducing in height by as much as one meter a year. Sure, Ahava claims to “take what is strictly needed” for its products, but how can we be certain that their business practices are environmentally conscious?

I think the company should show its own ahava (love, in Hebrew) for the environment by publishing more substantial information about the eco-aspects of its business practices. What do you think?

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A bit ironic, don’t you think?

Three weeks ago, the World Bank organized three public hearings to discuss the Red-Dead conduit, a plan to import water into the rapidly waning Dead Sea from the Red Sea in the south. Over the last 30 years, the Jordan River (the Dead Sea’s primary source of water) has been diverted for agricultural use. These diversions, along with naturally occurring evaporation, are reducing theDead Sea by as much as one meter a year.

The project is expected to cost around $15 billion. On the surface, it seems like a viable option, one that could even exist as a peaceful symbol of cooperation between Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. But Hannah Doherty, in an article titled, “Can the Dead Sea Be Brought to Life?“, points out that the Red-Dead conduit might not be the most sustainable option:

By introducing water of a different density and composition to the Dead Sea, however, engineers may drastically alter the very thing they are trying to save. The Dead Sea is rich in calcium, while the Red Sea is rich in sulfate; mixing the two could create a surface layer of gypsum. New algae growth might also change the buoyancy of the water and alter its blue water to appear red. These critical changes could damage the tourism industry in both Israel and Jordan.

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As an alternative to the diversion project, environmentalists and local geologists propose rehabilitating the Jordan River. According to Dan Zaslavksi, a former Israeli water commissioner, regenerating the flow of the river to bring water to the Dead Sea will cost no more than $800 million, substantially less than the $15 billion estimated for the Red-Dead plan, Al Jazeera reported. Critics also suggest reforms in the chemical industries on both sides of the sea.

I encourage you to read the full article and am curious to see what the course of action will be.

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