The Seven Wonders of the World is a famous list of impressive ancient constructions, largely centered around the Mediterranean. (We still think that the Mediterranean and the whole Middle East are pretty wonder-ful.)
The original seven wonders included the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Statue of Zeus at Olympia (among others).
Now a global democratic campaign headed by New7Wonders is in full force to select the top seven natural wonders of the world, and, as can be expected for such a unique region, the Middle East is well represented.
The vote is open to literally everyone in the world, and some are choosing to cast their ballots in bizarre (and not very eco-friendly) ways.
Around 100 members of the Israel Harley Davidson Club will be driving down to the Dead Sea this Friday in support of their finalist of choice, which is an unusually polluting way to support a natural wonder. Udi Adam, one of the bikers and the initiator of the ride, said that he wanted “the noise of our exhausts [to be] heard throughout the Dead Sea.”
Maybe they should pedal there instead.
Or, if they’re not physically fit enough to switch out their motorbikes for some bicycles, how about carpooling or taking a bus?
The Harley Davidson Club’s enthusiasm may be misguided, but at least they are supporting a natural cause. The Dead Sea is one of 28 finalists competing for a spot as one of the top seven natural wonders of the world, selected from an initial count of 420 natural sites around the world.
Voters from all over the globe can easily cast their ballots online (and there is a convenient Vote Dead Sea website where you can do so), with the New7Wonders foundation hoping for the participation of billions of voters.
The Dead Sea is not the only Middle Eastern finalist, however, and Lebanon’s Jeita Grotto made the top 28 list as well. The grotto is made of two limestone caves and a lower cave where an impressively long 3.8-mile river runs. Another finalist is Bu Tinah Island in the United Arab Emirates, an undisturbed ecosystem that has remained untouched by human activity.
Bernard Weber, the founder of New7Wonders, initiated the campaign because he believes that “if we want to save anything, we first need to truly appreciate it.” The campaign aims to “highlight what unites us all — as opposed to what separates us — and also emphasizes the importance of caring for what will be left for future generations.”
(Stories from The Green Prophet appear here by agreement with its editor, Karin Kloosterman. For more Green news from the Middle East, visit The Green Prophet at greenprophet.com. Contact the Green Prophet at firstname.lastname@example.org.)