15 Places You Must Visit Before They Disappear
The earth is constantly changing. Sometimes it is a natural phenomenon like an earthquake, or volcano eruption that adjusts the earths landscape. Other times and in more recent decades it has been changed due to the need of us humans who occupy it. As the human race grows, the planet becomes smaller. We have removed entire forests too make room for our cities and roads. There are many places on earth that have been changed forever and there are a few places that remain untouched, but the clock is ticking. Due to climate change and many other reasons these places will soon disappear. I encourage everyone to go see them before they are gone.
Glacier National Park A little more than 100 years ago, there were as many as 150 glaciers throughout Glacier National Park. By 2005, only 27 remained, and those glaciers are expected to disappear by 2030, if not earlier. Majority of the plant and animal species that call the park home require cold water and climate. If all the glaciers disappear the park’s ecosystem will change dramatically.
Venice, Italy In November 2009 Venice, Italy was hit was a severe flood. Fish were swimming through St. Mark’s Square. Water levels reached 131 centimeters. Venice has long been sinking, but rising sea levels have made the situation more dire. The frequency of floods like the one in 2009 increases each year. Many wonder how much longer Venice can stay above water. It may be the first on this list to go.
Great Barrier Reef Located in Australia the Great Barrier Reef is so large that it can be seen from space. Unfortunately the Great Barrier Reef is disappearing at an increased rate because of climate change. Rising ocean temperatures, water pollution, oceans become acidic and cyclones continually pummel the reef and have caused mass coral bleaching. What took 8,000 years for nature to create could disappear in less the time.
Saharan Africa By some estimates, the Sahara in Africa is growing at a rate of 0.5 miles per month. The desert is already the 2nd largest in the world. It could consume all of Northern Africa, altering the environment of a continent. Some contribute this to the rising of the earth’s temperature, which is causing the land to dry out rapidly.
Maldives The Maldives are always on the “best places to go for vacation” list, because of the beauty and serene landscape and atmosphere. That may all be washed away soon. Maldives is the lowest-lying country in the world, with a maximum natural ground level of 7 feet 7 inches, and an average of only 4 feet 11 inches above sea level. If sea levels rise too much, the country could be the first nation to be engulfed by the ocean because of global warming.
Patagonia A land of untouched beauty, Patagonia is located at the most southern tip of South America. Patagonia could be dramatically altered by climate change. Many of its glaciers are quickly retreating because of rising temperatures and declining precipitation. Patagonia won’t disappear entirely, but its landscape may soon be altered beyond recognition if global warming persists.
Bangladesh Bangladesh sits in a perfect storm of climactic conditions. It is set in the low-lying Ganges and Brahmaputra River Delta. About 50 percent of the area would be flooded if the sea level were to rise by 1 meter. Bangladesh also lies at the heart of the monsoon belt. Natural calamities, such as floods, tropical cyclones, tornadoes and tidal bores occur here almost every year leaving the country in shambles.
Alaskan Tundra Global warming heats up the Arctic twice as fast as the rest of the world. This means Alaska’s beautiful northern tundra could vanish completely if temperatures continue to rise. As the tundra’s permafrost melts, not only will it drastically alters the ecosystem but it will also release additional carbon. That carbon will ironically speed up global warming.
South Australia Much like the Sahara in Africa, desertification threatens South Australia. Fresh water supplies are rapidly drying up across the entire region. The lack of water on the parched landscape increases the occurrence of wildfires. This also threatens the remaining agriculture, wildlife and hundreds of Australian homes.
The Alps The European Alps sit at a lower altitude than the Rocky Mountains. Due to their lower altitude the glaciers and ski resorts are more susceptible to the effects of global warming. The famed glaciers are predicted to disappear by 2050. That seems like a long time from now but, once the Alps are gone, they will never return.
The Congo Basin Tropical rain forests like the Congo Basin produce 40 percent of the world’s oxygen and serve as a vital source of food, medicine and minerals. The Congo Basin is the world’s second largest rain forest at more than 1.3 million square miles. According to the UN up to two-thirds of the forest and its unique plants and wildlife could be lost by 2040 unless more effective measures are taken to protect it. Extending across six nations, ten million acres of forest is degraded each year due to mining, illegal logging, farming, ranching, and guerilla warfare. Roads cut by loggers and miners have also enabled poachers and bushmeat hunters to prey on endangered animals like mountain gorillas, forest elephants, bonobos, and okapis. As the forest shrinks, less carbon dioxide is absorbed, and rain decreases, adding to climate change.
The Dead Sea The Dead Sea is one of the most iconic bodies of water on earth. It’s the lowest spot on earth, sitting 1,312 feet below sea level. It has 10 times more saline than seawater and is believed to contain therapeutic minerals. In the last four decades, the Dead Sea has shrunk by a third and sunk 80 feet, 13 inches per year. The Jordan River is the lake’s sole source, and as surrounding countries increasingly tap into its waters, little reaches the Dead Sea. Further pressure is put on the sea by the cosmetic companies and potash producers who drain it for minerals. It is estimated that the Dead Sea has 50 years before is it really considered dead.
The Everglades This 2.5 million acre wetland encompasses swamps, mangroves, sawgrass and pine savannahs. It’s the only place in the world where crocodiles and alligators share territory. There are a host of dangers that are putting this fragile wetland at risk. Pollution from farms, invasive species, and encroaching development, not to mention the fact that 60 percent of the region’s water is being diverted to nearby cities and. As a result, The Everglades is now half the size it was in 1900. The Everglades is the sole habitat of the Florida panther, and there are less than 100 of them left in the wild. These big cats may be completely lost within the next 40 years as their habitat disappears, along with 20 other including turtles, manatees, and wading birds
Madagascar Madagascar became popular through the animated film series. What many people don’t know is that more than 80 percent of Madagascar’s plant life cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. Madagascar is also in danger of losing all of it’s land and destroying its ecosystem. Forest ecosystems are being destroyed by logging, burning for subsistence farms, and poaching. The 20 species of lemurs for which Madagascar is renowned for are in danger of disappearing. Though there are game reserves, they’re not large, nor are they contiguous, thus failing to provide corridors for the animals to travel through. If nothing is done to save the world’s fourth-largest island, its forests will be gone in 35 years.
The Tahuamanu Rainforest The Tahuamanu Rainforest is located in Peru’s Madre de Dios region. It holds some of the last old-growth stands of mahogany in South America. Illegal logging is depleting the rain forest and the U.S. is responsible for buying 80 percent of the mahogany. A single tree can create as much as $1 million worth of furniture. Loggers build roads, allowing farmers and hunters to enter, further crowding the indigenous people and destroying the delicate ecosystem. In nearby areas, gold mining has released mercury into the air and water.