8 Places to See Before They Disappear
These global attractions may have a limited shelf life due to climate change and human interference.
Climate change is at the forefront of environmental threats. Due to rising temperature levels, negative ramifications can be seen all across the globe. In the future, some of the most popular bucket list destinations might be gone. There is no time like the present to visit them before they disappear for good.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
An ecosystem made up of vibrant colors and organisms, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is a natural wonder of the world. Home to over 1,500 different species, the reef is the largest living structure and coral reef in the world. Its unparalleled beauty makes it one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world, attracting around two million visitors every year. The destination may not be a vacation spot for much longer; the Great Barrier Reef is dying. Climate change has caused warmer ocean temperatures to put stress on coral leading to coral bleaching. As a result, the once multi-colored corals are slowly bleaching to a dull white. A bucket list travel destination, the Great Barrier Reef is worth the visit before the once dynamic ecosystem becomes impotent.
The Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Charles Darwin’s visit to the Galápagos Islands led to the theory of evolution. Since then, the islands have been deemed one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife viewing. While human travel is only permitted in certain areas with certified guides, the untamed terrain and island’s native species make for an unforgettable, unique experience. Natural global weather has taken a vital part out of the ecosystem, resulting in fish searching for warmer water temperatures. Tourism, overfishing and migration as the result of humans is only adding further strain to the Galápagos. Although well-protected under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the delicate ecosystem faces challenges that might make future travel to the Galápagos impossible.
The Amazon Rainforest, South Africa
Famed for its biodiversity and 4,345-mile-long river, the Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest at roughly 2.72 million square miles. Adventurous tourists often embark upon land or river tours to take in the dense vegetation and diverse species that call the forest home. It has been estimated that the forest is destroyed at a pace of 31,000 square miles a year, making climate change and industrial activity to blame for the rapid decline in the Amazon’s size. As a staple of nature and species, the Amazon Rainforest will expose tourists to experiences and beauty that cannot be seen in the United States.
The Sundarbans, India/Bangladesh
In Bengali, Sundarbans translates to the “beautiful forests” that encompass the unique Sundarbans forests in India and Bangladesh. The forests are home to the world’s largest mangrove ecosystems and the largest concentration of Bengal tigers left on the planet. Deforestation poses a threat to the forests as expanding agriculture clears out the mangrove population and puts irrigation systems in their place. Pollution caused by oil spills cause danger to the forests ecosystem as well. Visiting the Sundarbans can be done completely solo or by booking an organized tour. While spotting a Bengal tiger may not be an obtainable goal, wandering through the tranquil natural beauty provides an excursion unlike any other.
Machu Picchu, Peru
One of the seven wonders of the world, the lost city of the Incas attracts around one million tourists a year. Machu Picchu is a city of stone made without aid of tools, making the civilization an archaeological wonder and an adventurer’s dream. The possibility of a landslide, increased soil erosion and damage to vegetation threaten the future of the extraordinary destination. Visitors of the mysterious civilization rave about the stunning views and history behind it. Taking a tour guide to Machu Picchu is highly recommended to individuals with a passion for history. While the views are spectacular, the extra information about what you are looking at add that much more to the experience.
Taj Mahal, India
Built in 1632 as a mausoleum, the Taj Mahal is an iconic monument and wonder of the modern world. Visitors from all over visit to marvel at the architecture and take in the history. Pollution from over the years has turned the once-ivory white marble exterior to be tainted yellow. Erosion has raised concerns for the structural integrity of the Taj Mahal, causing a fear of collapse in the future. The millions of tourists that walk through and around the building further adds to the destruction. There may be a short amount of time to visit before the nearly 400-year-old building closes its doors.
A city without roads, Venice uses canals as the main pathway for transportation. Mixed between natural and man-made, Venice is built on a group of islands separated by the canals and linked by bridges. A one-of-a-kind and beautiful city, it is estimated that tourism in Venice reaches up to 60,000 people a day. While it maintains popularity, unfortunately increasing levels of rainfall lead to flooding, causing Venice to sink a little more every year. The cultural mecca is in danger as long as global warming persists at its current rate. Until the city is submerged, tourists are welcome to flock the sidewalks, ride the gondolas and indulge in the food, fashion and history.
The Seychelles, East Africa
The Seychelles are made up of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. Complete with spectacular coral reefs, breathtaking beaches and rare animals, the islands make for a relaxing beach getaway or an adventurous excursion. Due to global warming, rising sea levels are causing coral bleaching, putting a damper on the vibrant life that makes the islands unique. As temperatures rise, the harder it is for the islands to recover. Similar occurrences are threatening the Maldives—islands also scattered in the Indian ocean. Rising sea levels raise concerns of the islands becoming completely submerged. While the beaches still cause jaws to drop and the ecosystem remains intact, the Seychelles welcome travelers to the island paradise doused in electric colors.