Digital photos capture the spectacular body of water. Monies raised will be used to restore the depleting resource.
Rare Dead Sea Images Bought As NFT Help Preserve Legendary Site
Every day, the Dead Sea loses the equivalent of 600 Olympic pools of water, said Noam Bedein, founder of the nonprofit Dead Sea Revival Project.
In an effort to prevent the sea from “vanishing completely,” Bedein is auctioning 100 of his Dead Sea photographs on OpenSea, the world’s largest NFT (non-fungible token) marketplace, from March 22 (World Water Day) to April 22 (Earth Day).
The project, called Genesis NFT, is also sponsored by The Dead Sea Museum’s director, Ari Leon Fruchter. The auction’s currency is in NFTs, which are digital assets stored on the blockchain.
“We are using futuristic tools to help preserve an ancient body of water,” Bedein said. “People can own a digital photograph, which serves as a testament to this enchanted water treasure.”
Proceeds from the sale will be used for legal and legislative efforts to restore water to the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea is a unique body of water, bordered by Israel and Jordan at the lowest point on Earth – 1,380 feet below sea level. It is the deepest hypersaline lake in the world, 27 times denser than Utah’s Great Salt Lake.
In 2016, Bedein, an environmental art activist, set off on his kayak to photograph the breathtaking wonders of the Dead Sea. Traveling in the northern part of the Dead Sea, an area inaccessible by car, he snapped pictures of what he calls “enchanted panoramas.”
However, when he returned the next time, he didn’t recognize any of the sites. The entire landscape had changed, and “it hit me hard.” He realized his children and the next generation “will not have the Dead Sea as a world heritage site to explore or experience.”
By purchasing a digital asset representing one of these photos, “people can help preserve this magical place,” Bedein said.
No official solution
“I realized the next generation will have no idea what was once here,” Bedein says. “For the past 25 years, there has been no official solution to rescue the Dead Sea. Nobody in the Israeli government is working to solve the crisis.”
He hopes the Abraham Accords, an historic, multifaceted agreement between Israel and its neighbors, will help spark cooperation in water management.
There is growing interest among officials in countries in the region to work together, he said.
Jordan is now the fourth-driest country in the world, Bedein said, and its leaders are hoping to join forces with the UAE and Israel to find ways to receive fresh water.
Factories that use the minerals of the Dead Sea “can be part of the solution,” Bedein said. They can pump fresh water into the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) and the Jordan River to counter the shrinkage.
Currently, the Dead Sea is at its lowest level in recorded history and its surrounding area has more than 6,000 sinkholes. Draining the water in the sea causes the ground to collapse.
Experts say the Dead Sea will continue shrinking if action is not taken, but it is not dying. Bedein points out it’s “a complex reality and situation.”
Visit the virtual Dead Sea Museum here until Fruchter raises enough funds for a permanent museum in the city of Arad, 16 miles from the Dead Sea.
Produced in association with ISRAEL21c.