Earth is full of so many beautiful places, areas and landmarks. While some have lasted for centuries, others haven’t been so lucky. And then there are those that are still here, but won’t be around for long. No thanks to pollution and climate change! It’s surreal to think that some of the most beautiful places on earth might be almost or completely gone in our lifetime. Today, we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 places you should visit before they disappear. We’re limiting it to one place per country and ranking only places that are natural – no man-made landmarks!
1. The Poles
Whether we’re talking Antarctica and the South Pole’s cold dry desert, or the shifting sea ice surrounding the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean, there’s no denying they’re unique. Unfortunately, global warming is rapidly causing the Arctic ice to shrink, which endangers the polar bear population and Antarctica’s emperor penguins. And it doesn’t just affect the animals – an estimated 800 million people are likely to experience impacts of high-tide flooding by the end of the 21st century!
2. The Alps
This European mountain range is over hundreds of millions of years old and was once home to many glaciers. While the Alps have been a popular ski destination for years, things are quickly changing as a result of climate change. This includes decreased snowfall and receding glaciers, which may all be gone by 2050 or earlier! Ever wanted to ski in the Alps? Better start planning for that trip soon.
3. Galapagos Islands
This archipelago of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean is most known for its great number of diverse species which were studied by Charles Darwin in the early 19th century. However, the introduction of new flora and fauna has threatened many of the native animals and plants. Fishing, tourism and a growing population are also heavily endangering the Galapagos Islands biodiversity.
Made up of almost 1,200 islands, the Maldives aren’t only geographically dispersed, but also form Earth’s lowest country. Though the region attracts millions of tourists for its marine life, incomparable beaches and views, the Maldives are also high on scientists’ most threatened list when it comes to global warming. Rising sea levels have caused many people believe the country will soon be entirely underwater, leaving thousands homeless .
5. Glacier National Park, Montana
Though Florida’s Everglades are also quickly deteriorating, we’ve chosen Montana’s Glacier National Park. With its lakes, forests, mountain peaks and flora and fauna, the park is one of the Rocky Mountains most stunning regions. it was also once completely covered in up to 150 glaciers! But rapid temperature changes have cost those numbers to dwindle to about 25. Scientists estimate they’ll all be gone by 2030, which will also harm much of the wildlife in the process.
6. Congo Basin
Located in Africa, the Congo Basin comprises over 1.4 million square miles of untouched tropical rainforest. Also home to many wetlands and much flora and fauna, the basin is quickly becoming an endangered area thanks to mining, logging, farming, poaching and guerilla warfare. With a reduction of forest land there’s also more carbon dioxide in the air, which in turn adds to climate change.
It’s the world’s fourth largest island, but this country off the coast of Africa doesn’t necessarily have a stable future in store. Because of the excessive hunting of its exotic animals and cutting down of its forests, we could soon lose much of the flora and fauna that are exclusive to the island. Thanks to its incredible biodiversity, Madagascar has earned nicknames like ‘Noah’s Ark’. But if things don’t change soon, the island will lose a lot, and so will the world.
8. Venice, Italy
While this historical city’s bridges and canals are man-made, it’s Mother Nature that provides the backdrop and scenery that attracts millions of tourists to this collection of 118 different islands. Sadly, with the increase in rising sea levels, Venice has become more and more susceptible to floods, experiencing dozens and dozens every year. This means the beautiful and charming city is actually sinking and it’s anyone’s guess when it’ll really become a water world.
9. The Dead Sea
Also called the Salt Sea because of its high salt content, this body of water is actually the lowest point of elevation on earth. Bordering the extremely hot and dry countries of Jordan and Israel, the Dead Sea naturally loses water through evaporation. But the use of its resources by surrounding populations and big businesses have caused water levels to decrease at an alarming rate. If trends continue the Dead Sea might not exist in half a century or so!
10. Great Barrier Reef
Comprising almost 300 separate reefs and 900 islands, it’s the world’s largest coral reef system. Located off Australia‘s coast, the Great Barrier Reef is another victim of climate change and pollution. In addition to coral bleaching, fishing and tourism are contributing to the massive coral decrease. This natural wonder may very well be no more by 2030!