Can you imagine a day when you won’t be able to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef, see some of the rarest species at the Galapagos Islands, or trek through the Arctic? Unfortunately, that day might come quicker than you think. Some of the most exotic places on Earth are disappearing right before our very eyes due to different circumstances, including climate change. So before you can’t visit them anymore, make sure to check these disappearing destinations of your bucket list sooner rather than later.
It’s been about 110 years since the rediscovery of the Peruvian citadel, Machu Picchu. Ancient civilizations might have abandoned it in the 15th century, but it’s become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. With tourists comes a pretty big human footprint on an already vulnerable area. Now that the creation of a train service has made it easier to get to the Inca ruins, more and more people visit, treading on the delicate land. The ruins of Machu Picchu are located on top of the damp and cloudy Peruvian Andes, putting it in danger of erosion and landslides. In 2012, UNESCO advised authorities in the area to take rigorous emergency measures to counter the growing disorganization and uncontrolled development to accommodate its growing tourism sector. The number of visitors is closely monitored and regulated in an attempt to slow deterioration.
In 2010, the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador made it on the list no destination wants to be on...the World Heritage in Danger list. Three years later, the natural habitat made significant improvements to threats of invasive species, unbridled tourism, and overfishing. But there are still some environmental pressures from tourism and other threats, because wildlife lovers will never stop making their pilgrimages over to experience the “living museum”. Now five percent of the species found on the island have gone extinct. The good thing is the government is continuing to fight the human footprint and restore Charles Darwin’s favorite island.
Great Barrier Reef
One of the most talked about disappearing habitats is Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Over the last couple of decades, the reefs have started to die, decay and lose their vibrant colors. This ecosystem that spans 1,200 miles has lost more than half of its corals since 1995, mainly due to warmer water temperatures resulting from climate change. Not only are the reefs decreasing in size, but they’re also being bleached. This occurs when the corals are under stress and secrete the algae that give them color. It’ll take decades to reverse the bleaching process but that’s only if the world is able to cut down its greenhouse gases.
The summer of 2020 was the first time scientists noticed that there was less sea ice covering
the Arctic Ocean more than any other year since they first started studying the area from
satellites in 1979. According to National Geographic, “by the time a toddler graduates from high school, summer sea ice in the high North could be a thing of the past.” During the winter, the sea ice forms and covers most of the Arctic Ocean and melts in the summer. But the amount of square miles that forms in the winter has decreased over the years. In 2020 it grew back at a record low. You can probably guess the cause is climate change.
The Dead Sea
Floating in The Dead Sea has been said to have several health benefits due to the water's mineral content and low allergen content. The Dead Sea's mud is high in minerals, such as calcium and potassium, which your skin needs to stay young and healthy. Unfortunately, surface levels on the world’s saltiest bodies of water have been dropping gradually, about 1.2 miles, since the 1980s. Hop on a plane to Israel and take a dip while you can, and on your way be sure to stop at Jerusalem, which has been on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in Danger since 1982!
Although Venice is sometimes referred to as the Sinking City, it isn't actually sinking. Instead, rising water levels are causing more constant flooding, usually between the months of October and February. To combat high tides, the city has been installing special gates. More information can be found on the MOSE website. In another decision made to combat the negative effects of tourism, Venice will begin restricting entry using reservations and implementing a tourist fee. Large cruise ships are also banned form the lagoon.
Climate change is the biggest reason all these sights, and many more worldwide, are
disappearing. If any of these places are must sees, you might want to hurry and
experience them before they’re possibly gone for good. I can help you to get there, many times with sustainable travel suppliers. What are you waiting for?