As an avid traveller, it’s easy to take so many of the world’s incredible destinations for granted. But thanks to issues like climate change, we face the sad fact that these beautiful places may soon be long gone.
Five of them have already vanished underwater, and the rest are in serious danger. The Solomon Islands of the South Pacific are cherished for their extraordinary beaches, rich wildlife, unique culture and incredible diving opportunities. But climate change is seeing this archipelago succumb to rising sea levels, so much so that some waterside villages have even been forced to relocate.
Nestled in the north of Montana, alongside the Canadian border, Glacier National Park is famed for (as you might’ve guessed) its stunning glaciers. But maybe not for long – just over a century ago, the park sported around 150 glaciers. Today, only 25 large ones remain and researchers believe they’ll be completely gone in the next 13 years. Cue sad face.
This must-see city of canals, gondolas and maze-like streets is often at the top of travel bucket lists. But it might be gone by the end of the century, according to some. Rising ocean waters, as well as rains and floods and building erosion, are a serious threat to Venice, which is slowly sinking. The end of the century might seem like a long way away, but it does mean that your grandchildren might never get to see this iconic city.
Otherwise known, in Spanish, as ‘Rich Mountain,’ Cerro Rico in Bolivia is famed for its silver mining, particularly during the New World and the reign of the Spanish Empire (and unfortunately, for its high rate of mine worker deaths). Centuries of mining also led to the appearance of a sinkhole in the mountain’s peak in 2011, and the summit is continually sinking every year.
A site of religious and historical significance and amazingly salty water, the Dead Sea is diminishing at a fast rate, around 1 metre a year. This is mostly due to human interferences, like the diversion of incoming waters from the Jordan River, as well as mineral mining. Several projects have been proposed to save this eminent lake, but there’s no telling how long it will last.
The world’s largest reef and one of the globe’s seven natural wonders sits right in our own backyard, so there’s really no excuse not to go! This reef is under serious threat thanks to increasing ocean temperatures, subsequent coral bleaching and farm pollution. If you do go for a dive or a snorkel, remember to do your part, too – keep your hands off the coral and marine life.
At one point, it was believed that China contained 50,000 rivers. But recently, that number was dropped to about 22,000. Why? Some of it has been attributed to early mapping inaccuracies, yet many of the rivers are actually drying up and facing real risks. Climate change, poor conservation, deforestation, pollution and overpopulation are also contributing to grave river problems for China.