Posted on Sep 27, 2021 37
The world is full of beautiful places and cultures that should be explored while you can. Unfortunately, you’ll have to hurry, as many of them are now threatened with extinction because of several factors, including climate change. Besides being amazing places, many are also iconic tourist attractions we read about as children, including the Great Wall of China, Madagascar and Venice.
10. The Great Wall of China.
It is said that the Great Wall of China is the only thing visible from space. It is an impressive structure about 21,200 kilometers long. In fact, it is not solid, but comprises several walls (some of them are parallel to each other); it was built to keep out nomadic invaders from the north. The first wall was built in the third century BC, subsequent rulers continued to complete it. The best-preserved part of the Great Wall of China dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
At the moment, this cultural site is in poor condition because of the constant exposure to wind and rain, as well as the plants that grow from its walls. About 30% of the wall has been lost over the years. As the climate becomes more extreme and unpredictable, the Great Wall of China, being one of the oldest historical monuments in the world, will not last long.
9. Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia can rightly be called one of nature’s wonders; anyone who has seen it with their own eyes will confirm that. Covering over 344,000 square kilometers off the coast of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef network in the world. Besides interesting divers, coral reefs are extremely important to the marine ecosystem: they are home to about one-quarter of all marine species.
If we lose all the corals in the world, a massive catastrophe will follow. Unfortunately, the process is already in motion. Over the years, the Great Barrier Reef has lost a huge portion of its coral population to rising temperatures, and the situation is only getting worse. The intense heat has further compounded the damage, wiping out nearly 50% of its diverse - and quite colorful - coral population.
According to a 2019 United Nations report, we could lose about 70-90% of all coral reefs on Earth if global temperatures rise by just 0.9 degrees Celsius. Experts believe that at this rate, the Great Barrier Reef could disappear entirely by 2050.
8. Venice, Italy
Italian Venice is known as the “Floating City” or the “City of Bridges” because of its unique and extensive network of interconnected canals. Except for one main road, several side streets, small bridges, alleys and walkways, waterways remain the only way to explore Venice, making it one of the unique tourist destinations on earth.
At the moment, however, Venice is experiencing many problems that threaten its long-term existence. The biggest of these is global warming, as rising sea levels have already begun to partially flood the city. Floods are becoming more frequent and severe; in 2019, they led to about 70 percent of the city being under water.
A recent study found that entire areas of Venice are going under water at an alarming rate. It also found that many of the city’s buildings are gradually leaning toward the east.
7. The Tropical Forests of the Amazon
A recent study found that the Amazon rainforest, considered being the largest in the world, now emits more carbon dioxide than it absorbs. This may seem strange, but given the number of forest fires in the region over the past few years, as well as other climate trends around the world, scientists knew it would happen eventually. They just didn’t think it would be so soon.
For now, fires continue to rage in the Amazon, and the coming fire season is expected to be even more devastating than the previous one. While there are many causes for the fires, including declining rainfall in recent years, many activists and journalists blame the region’s meat and agriculture industry for unchecked deforestation.
The Patagonia region is in the south of South America, including territory controlled by Argentina and Chile. Although it may be absent from most online lists of popular tourist destinations, for the unconventional traveler, this vast region offers an abundance of unspoiled natural landscapes, including the Andes, fjords, lakes, deserts, and steppes.
Unfortunately, Patagonia is also affected by climate change, especially its highlands in the Andes. The ice fields are melting at an alarming rate, and scientists don’t know exactly why. Patagonia’s ice cover retreats faster than elsewhere, and at this rate, it could disappear completely within a few decades.
5. Bordeaux, France
The Bordeaux region of France is associated by many with fine wine. For centuries, Bordeaux’s wineries have been some of the largest producers of wine in the world, as demand for the drink has remained consistently high throughout its history. Bordeaux is also a major tourist attraction, as it attracts wine lovers from all over the world.
However, this may soon change. Climate change is beginning to negatively affect the harvests and wine production in major wine-producing regions of the world, including Bordeaux. Extreme weather, such as early frosts, are worsening the situation. According to some estimates, Bordeaux will cease to be a major wine producer in the next fifty years.
Madagascar is an island off the southeastern coast of Africa; it is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. Over 11,000 species are endemic to the island; this means they are found only on Madagascar. Remarkably, research teams continue to find brand new species almost every time they visit the island. For outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, this is a place you can only dream of.
In the past few years, however, deforestation and over-harvesting have led to the disappearance of much of the rainforest, along with its diverse wildlife. So one study showed that the island’s lemur population is declining incredibly fast.
And while extensive research in the region remains limited, for all we know, Madagascar’s rainforests could be at actual risk of extinction within the next few decades if global warming and deforestation continue at the same rate.
3. glacier national park
We have long known that ice caps around the world are first on the list of those affected by climate change, and we are already seeing their disappearance in action. Glaciers are melting at an unprecedented rate, and we have yet to realize the consequences.
Glacier National Park in Montana, USA, is perhaps the most affected. It continues to be one of the best ski resorts, attracting not only Americans but also tourists from other countries.
According to calculations made back in 1910, when the park was founded, there were about 100 massive glaciers. Now hardly a couple of them can be called glaciers. Between 1966 and 2015, some of the park’s largest glaciers lost up to 80% of their area. As global temperatures rise, this process is expected to speed up in the coming years.
When the first climate change reports came out, we knew that the Maldives would be the first country to be affected by rising sea levels. The fact is that over 80% of its islands are less than one meter above sea level.
As sea levels are currently rising four millimeters a year, the Maldives risks disappearing altogether within the next few decades. According to one study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea levels are expected to rise by half a meter by 2100, even if we decimate our carbon emissions. If we don’t, it could rise by one meter, effectively flooding the entire country.
The Sundarban is a vast area of mangrove forest located in India and Bangladesh. Several protected areas are even listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites because of the great diversity of flora and fauna.
However, in the past few years, there has been unprecedented deforestation in the Sundarbans, causing irreparable damage to the local ecosystem. This is a serious problem because the mangroves hold back the rough waters of the Bay of Bengal. The tides now affect much of the region for longer periods, harming many of the unique plants and animals that live there, including the Bengal tiger. At this rate, the forests - some of the most biodiverse places in the world - could disappear within a few decades.