Green Prophet's Top 7 Mideast Eco-Tourism Spots
A boat trip on the Euphrates River in Turkey brings you closer to ancient civilizations -- and to modern environmental conflicts.
From historic rivers to the world's largest desalination plant, from a futuristic city to a 100-year-old tree-planting project, some fascinating environmentally-themed sights await the intrepid traveler in a region not exactly known for eco-tourism: the Middle East.Blogger Maurice Picow over at Green Prophet, an environmental news site focusing on the Middle East, Israel, and the Arab world, recently put together a list of the "Top 7 Middle Eastern Trips for the Eco-Curious Traveler" -- places and projects of environmental significance, whether for good or ill.
The futuristic, purportedly "post-petroleum" Masdar City development in the United Arab Emirates tops Picow's list. While you're there, he suggests, get a sneak peek at Burj Dubai, set to be the world's tallest building, and its water- and energy-conserving cooling and lighting systems. Dubai's massive artificial-island projects and indoor ski centers offer a reality check on the emirate's still massive environmental footprint. Coming it at number two on the list is Saudi Arabia, home to the world's largest desalination plant, at Jubail II Industrial City. The mighty, but diminishing, Nile checks in at number three for its importance to the North African countries of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. The rest of Green Prophet's list:
- #4 - Israel’s clean technology companies, including solar-power plants, wastewater-reclamation projects, and a country-wide tree-planting effort that dates back to the Ottoman Empire
#5 - Lebanon's cedars, the national symbol of the country and part of the culture since biblical times, when King Solomon is said to have used them to construct the temple in Jerusalem
#6 - The Euphrates in Turkey, the source of water conflicts between that country, Iraq, and Syria
#7 - "Water stops" in Jordan, where the Kingdom is planning to construct a canal that would resupply the Dead Sea with water