10 Places To Visit Before They Vanish
Earth is decorated with a wide variety of fauna, sites, and historical monuments, but because of climate change and human recklessness, many of the world's most prized assets are in danger of disappearing in the next 100 years if we don't act fast and curb the way we live our day to day lives.
So read on below as we take you through some of the world's most threatened natural wonders, from Australia's Great Barrier Reef to the awe-inspiring bemouth of the Glacier National Park.
1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Officially the largest coral reef in the world at 133,000 sq miles (344,400 sq km), the wonderous aquatic delight draws millions of tourists Down Under each year, yet delve deeper into the history of the popular attraction, and you'll discover that it isn't quite what it was.
Worryingly, the environmental challenges the hotspot attracts range from rising ocean temperatures to mass levels of rubbish and pollution, meaning this beloved wonder could be completely wiped out within the next 100 years.
2. Venice, Italy
The fabled and romantic tour de force that is Venice is certainly one of Italy's most popular tourist destinations, but that may not be the case in the intervening decades. With its idyllic canals, fairytale gondolas and mythical townhouses, Venice is certainly a magical place, but even magic won't stop it from ruin.
Not only are the canals incredibly dirty and polluted, but rising sea levels and an alarming number of floods within Northern Italy could make Venice all but a distant memory for future generations if something isn't done soon.
For information on how you can curb your carbon footprint and help play a role in reducing rising sea levels, click here to read an article on our sister site about how you can play your part in saving the world.
If the Maldives were a child, it would be the most spoiled on Earth; such is the beauty strewn across the 1,000 islands. Of those, 200 are inhabited, but you are guaranteed to see the same sights wherever you go. Coral reefs, pale sands, turquoise waters. The views are priceless, and the sunsets are no exception as burning oranges and hazy purples mix to create colors that wouldn't look out of place on a Van Gogh canvas. However, these other-worldly sights are under threat, and if we don't act soon, the Maldives will no longer be the tropical destination we all know and love.
Owing to it being the lowest-lying country on Earth –It has an average elevation of just five feet above sea level –this phantasmagorical island paradise could be entirely submerged by water within the next 100 years if sea levels don't fall. So severe has the risk become to the people of the country that the Maldivian government has bought land in other countries for citizens who find themselves displaced by the rising sea levels.
If The Maldives is the most beautiful place on Earth, then the Seychelles comes a close second. Spanning 115 islands, this idyllic paradise is just as in danger of disappearing due to beach erosion.
Unfortunately, the Seychelles has already seen a once-majestic coral die-off, and in the next 50 to 100 years, scientists believe that the entire archipelago could sink.
5. The Alps
Europe's crown skiing region may not appear like its susceptible to the wrath of climate change, but in actuality, it's far from safe. This is because it has a lower altitude than the Rocky Mountains. To put things into perspective, an estimated 3% of Alpine glacial ice is lost every year and experts believe that number will only rise as the years go by.
Some experts believe the region could disappear entirely by 2050.
6. Magdalen Islands, Quebec, Canada
Decorated with tawny sanded beaches and stunning sandstone cliffs, the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence attract countless tourists year on year, but the archipelago, owing to its unfavorable geographical standing, experiences fierce winds which cause the stunning location to erode up to 40 inches a year.
The worst part is that the protective ice that helps preserve it is melting at an alarming rate, which scientists believe will have melted entirely in 75 years time.
America's coldest and argubally most beautiful state has a whole host of issues to contend with, one of the main being the threat posed to the Alaskan tundra. One of the state's most notable features, climate change has caused a noticeable thawing of the region’s permafrost.
What this means is that not only has the infrastructure been damaged but that the ecosystem itself- which is one of the most diverse in the world- has been considerably damaged, and will likely disappear entirely if the right environmental policies are not enacted.
8. Athabasca Glacier, Alberta, Canada
As the most popular glacier in North America for tourists, Alberta’s Athabasca Glacier makes up a large part of the Columbia Icefield that spreads some 2.3 square miles (6 sq km). Of course, this will likely change in time as it has been melting for over 125 years. Within that time frame, the Southern edge alone has retracted by almost a mile.
Scientists and climate change experts believe the glacier may even be disappearing at a much faster rate, with estimates ranging from it shrinking between 6.6 to 9.8 feet a year.
9. The Dead Sea
The ancient and extremely salty Dead Sea sits between Israel and Jordan and is one of the only places on Earth where you can find your body supported by the sea without kicking your feet to keep you afloat. But this site, both historic and spiritual in its significance, has shrunk by a third and sunk an unbelievable 80 feet.
This has led some experts to believe that it could disappear within the next 50 years, primarily because bordering countries draw water from the River Jordan as it is the only water source.
10. Glacier National Park, Montana
The stunning backdrop that decorates the aptly named Glacier National Park once had 150 glaciers, but Montana’s bucolic wanderlust now has less than 25. If climate change continues to plague the region, as it has done in many parts of America (one only has to look at the recent floodings in the Carolinas) all glaciers in the park may have melted by 2030.
Like with Alaska, the prospect of having no glaciers is almost not worth thinking about, not only from a scenic perspective but also because of the immense damage it would cause to the park's extensive and multifaceted ecosystem.