Following the success of their campaign to name the new seven man-made "Wonders of the World," the New7Wonders Foundation has set out to identify another set of wonders: the official new seven wonders of nature.
In pursuit of his goal to raise awareness of our natural heritage, Bernard Weber, a Swiss entrepreneur and founder of the New7Wonders Foundation, has set himself this new task.
The campaign's slogan explains that "if we want to save anything, we first need to truly appreciate it!"
The process will allow the public to decide the final seven natural wonders. You, too, could be one of the estimated 1 billion people who Weber says he hopes will vote for the final seven via text message, online or by telephone.
A short list of 77 is currently being reduced to 28 finalists to be announced on July 21 from which the public will be able to pick.
The current 77 includes Devil's Town in Serbia, Vietnam's Ha Long Bay, Finland's Lake Saimaa, the Philippines' Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Lebanon's Jeita Grotto, Brazil's Iguassu Falls and the Belogradchik Rocks in Bulgaria.
The Grand Canyon is the only site still in the running from the continental United States, though other U.S. sites nominated include the Everglades National Park, Lake Michigan and beaches of the Big Sur region of Northern California.
In order to be considered, candidate sites must be "clearly defined natural sites that have neither been created by nor significantly altered by humans for aesthetic reasons."
Weber says that for the natural wonders list, there are many spectacular sites that, unlike the man-made wonders," are not well-known outside their country or region."
The seven man-made wonders were announced July 7, 2007, at a spectacular gala in Lisbon, Portugal, in front of an audience of 50,000 as well as millions watching the broadcast at home.
The event included appearances by actors Ben Kingsley and Hilary Swank as well as a performance by Jennifer Lopez. For those curious, the seven man-made wonders are Chichen Itza in Mexico, Christ Redeemer in Brazil, Italy's Colosseum, India's Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, the Petra in Jordan and Machu Picchu in Peru.
The list of seven man-made wonders was created to update the original list of ancient wonders, of which only one, the Pyramid of Giza, still exists. The other original wonders were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. This list was compiled by several ancient Greeks and is most often credited to Antipater of Sidon and Philon of Byzantium.