The region which gave rise to our civilization, and in biblical times encompassed paradise, today is the site of wrenching ecological and human struggle, reports Julia Harte at the National Geographic Explorers Journal, as climate-change-enhanced droughts and more than 40 upstream hydroelectric dams upstream of the Tigris has sucked the southern third of Iraq dry. Full disclosure: Julia Harte is my daughter. Millions have been forced to move to cities or die, as farming and water supplies have literally dried up. The war and drought devastated marshes, home over past millenia to many thousands, today support only a few thousand. Many hydroelectric dams under construction upstream, of which the Ilisu dam in southeastern Turkey is the biggest, will further dry this region. That dam, says Iraq’s human rights minister, will destroy over one and a half million acres of cropland, and allow salt intrusion from the Persian Gulf into the underground water table, making the already drought-induced salty tapwater saltier. Some estimate that completion of all upstream dams could result in an overall 80% drop of river flow. And continuing climate change could further worsen this.
Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here: http://signon.org/sign/we-are-the-clean-99?source=c.em.cp&r_by=487176 . This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is in 2 years!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.
For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/index.php?author=mary-ellen-harte