Joshua Hammer in Smithsonian Magazine:
On a sweltering August afternoon, Israeli environmental activist Gidon Bromberg stops abruptly beside a gaping crater, more than 60 feet deep. “Better not walk any farther,” he warns. “The ground could swallow us whole.”
Up and down the Dead Sea, on the Jordanian and Israeli coasts, the shoreline is pockmarked by these sinkholes. The Dead Sea is shrinking, and as it recedes, the fresh water aquifers along the perimeter of the lake are receding with it. Salt deposits beneath the surface of the shoreline are collapsing without warning.
Bromberg directs Friends of the Earth Middle East, the most active of several environmental groups working to galvanize concern for the dying sea. With a staff of Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians, the environmentalists want to pressure the region’s governments to reform what they call “shortsighted” water policies they say have been sucking dry the Dead Sea—and the rivers, particularly the Jordan, and streams that feed it—for decades.