There are so many wonderful places to see in the world, you have to wonder how we will ever get to see all of them in our lifetime. Sadly though, there are places that might vanish within the current century due to the effects of climate change, pollution or human development. And, it isn’t just natural wonders that are at risk, some incredible man-made features are in peril too. Here is a list of 7 places to visit before they disappear and their beauty is lost forever.
1. The Amazon Rainforest
This expanse of over 10 million species of plants, insects and animals has been under threat since the 1970s. Deforestation of the Amazon has become a well known impact of human development and greed. Vast areas of tall, stately canopy trees are brutally destroyed every day by agriculture and big economies resulting in the killing of fragile ecosystems. With it contributing more than 20% of the world’s oxygen, it is a fact we are killing the lungs of our planet.
2. The Great Barrier Reef
One of the world’s and Australia’s most exceptional gifts is this breathtaking coral reef containing over 3,000 individual reef systems and coral beauty. The problem is the increase of airborne carbon dioxide stored in the world’s oceans and this in turn is slowly killing off the coral along with hundreds of marine species. To date 15% of the reef has already been damaged by coral bleaching, which is a direct result of the ocean acidification from a number of factors. These include the slowly increasing sea temperatures as well as the carbon dioxide which will eventually cause the Great Barrier Reef to become one of the disappearing places that you must visit.
3. The Great Wall of China
This amazing man made feature has been a grand symbol of defense for China and is estimated to be almost 3,000 to 4,000 miles long. Sadly it has been included on this list of places to visit before they disappear because of its slow erosion. The degradation of some of the surrounding land by farmer’s destructive agriculture methods has left the lands barren leaving the wall exposed to a multitude of ruinous sandstorms which is slowly eroding the wall. There is strong possibility the wall will suffer worse degradation in the next 20 years.
4. Baa Atoll, Maldives
The idyllic Maldives Islands are some of the most sought after island-holiday destinations in the world, with a total of 22 different atolls forming this pristine, tropical paradise. The Baa Atoll is situated on the western side of the Maldives and consists of 75 islands in total, 13 of which are inhabited. Almost all of these being less than 1m above sea level and home to many marine species and human settlements built directly along the coastline. The reason it appears on this list of places to visit before they disappear is due to the slowly increasing sea levels a by-product of climate change. The level has already risen 4-5cm with an expected rise in 20-60cm within this century. With most of the infrastructure located right along the water this poses a serious threat to the livelihood and the tourist industry of this nation.
5. The Dead Sea
Lying at the lowest point on the planet at 1,300 meters below sea level, this salty body of water is known for its healing properties. Total buoyancy allows swimmers to float on top of the water with ease due to the intense saltiness which cannot sustain any life within it. However this famous treasure is slowly drying up with the water level dropping almost 3 feet a year. There is nothing they can do to stop it so it should definitely be visited before it disappears.
6. Polar Bear Hunting Grounds in Canada
The open expanse of this part of the world lends itself to the survival of one of the most beautiful animals, the Polar Bear. However, biologists have predicted that because of global warming these creatures are slowly being diminished due to the retreating ice. This reduction in their precious hunting ground is causing more polar bear deaths due to starvation or drowning, and could cause them to eventually die out completely.
One of the world’s most beautiful cities, Venice is a haven for any romantic, with moonlit Gondola rides and picturesque historic streets. Due to the way in which Venice was built on its foundations, as well as the slowly rising sea level, there is a distinct possibility that Venice could sink into its waters and disappear. Despite many efforts of the Italian government, it may just be doomed and you should visit it before it does.
With this sad list of beautiful treasures that might not be around at the end of this century I hope you put them on your bucket list of places to visit before they disappear. I invite you to share some others that you have already been to see so we all get the chance to have a last look.
Top Photo Credit: Greenpeace New Zealand