9. The Nile Delta • Egypt
We have selected 100 unique places on Earth that are projected to undergo profound changes within the next few generations. We based our selection of the 100 places on the 4th Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Simply by drawing attention to the beauty of these places, 100 Places to Remember Before they Disappear creates an argument to preserve them. The 100 Places we have chosen to highlight, and the people who live in them, are in serious danger because of rising sea levels, rising temperatures and extreme weather events triggered by climate change. Among ambassadors are Joss Stone, Desmund Tutu for more info visit http://www.100places.com. The Gift of the Gods to the Egyptians For millennia, the Nile Delta has been providing food for the many cultures that inhabit Egypt. For more than a thousand years, traditional Arab boats, known as dhows, have transported agricultural produce from the fertile delta. The Nile, the longest river system in the world, originates from two sources, the White Nile rising from Lake Victoria at the Equator and the Blue Nile from Lake Tana in the Ethiopian Highlands. The Nile has been the countrys lifeline from time immemorial and the Pharaohs believed it to be a gift from the Gods. After travelling more than 6,500 km, the river passes the Egyptian capital, Cairo, then opens into the Nile Delta. Covering some 20,000 square kilometres, the delta stretches along the Mediterranean coast from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east. People still farm the land beside the river and in the Nile Delta as they have for more than 5,000 years. The river and its delta are crucial to Egypt. Without their water and fertile soil, the country probably would not exist, at least not as we know it. The delta is extremely vulnerable to climate change, however. Rising sea levels will cause coastal erosion and inundate valuable agricultural land and ground water with saline sea water. By 2050, the rise in sea levels could have displaced more than a million people. Changing patterns of rainfall and higher levels of evaporation are also anticipated. Combined with an increasing population, this is very likely to put severe stress on Egypts fresh water resources.