We’ve put together a list of incredible places that are experiencing major changes. Soon these places will be altered forever, so if you’ve been longing to see glaciers up close, take in the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef or see the Taj Mahal in person, you should do so in the near future.
Eco-friendly travel is a crucial part, though, so be sure to travel with a responsible operator and remember these tips when traveling abroad.
The tenth most visited national park in the country draws 2.3 million people a year, but that number might soon be climbing as people try to get the last look at receding glaciers. The park that was shaped by once-giant glaciers is really showing the effects of climate change, said the Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK). The park that was once home to roughly 150 glaciers is now down to just 25 glaciers and some scientific estimates say the park could lose all of its large glaciers by 2030, if not sooner.
The only living thing that can be seen from outer space, The Great Barrier Reef is set off Australia’s east coast and sprawls out over 133,000 square miles. This top diving spot could soon be unrecognizable, though, as water pollution, rising ocean temperatures, illegal fishing and other factors continue to take their toll. By some estimates the reef could be irreparably changed in the next 20 years if drastic measures are not taken soon. If you decide to visit, be sure not to touch the coral, as it’s easily damaged.
This beautiful tropical island nation is best known for its exceptional beaches and world-class diving—but the many travelers who have fallen in love with this destination and the locals that call this place home may have to relocate. The Maldives is the lowest-lying country in the world with 80 percent of its land at less than 3.3 feet above sea level and if the sea levels continue to rise, the nation could be submerged in less than 100 years.
One of the most extraordinary places on earth, Madagascar is an island country with spectacular biodiversity. Many of the plant and animal species that live there can’t be found anywhere else on the planet, which makes the rampant deforestation, burning and excessive hunting that’s taking place even more concerning. Should these practices continue the plants and animals that call the island home will be forever changed.
The city of canals, gondolas and hundreds of bridges, Venice is known for its waterways, but as it turns out that water could be the very thing to ruin this historic city. Venice has been sinking for centuries, but some evidence suggests the process is speeding up—possibly even sinking five times as fast as previously thought. Visit this romantic city soon, as the flooding is reportedly getting worse.
This world famous mausoleum has stood strong as a cultural icon for more than 350 years, but pollution levels that have risen with the growth in industry and population are now threatening the exterior of the building. Previous attempts to stop the damage have failed and many are calling for the Taj Mahal to close to the public, so visit soon if you want to see this monument up close.
The continent joined by an “all-encompassing ice sheet” is already seeing the effects of climate change, as some areas—like the West Antarctic Peninsula—are warming faster than most other places on earth. While Antarctica won’t disappear altogether in the near future, major detrimental changes are on the horizon and regulations on tourism are beginning to take effect. If you’re planning a visit, seek out a responsible, eco-friendly operator.
The Dead Sea, famous for its salinity that makes swimmers especially buoyant, is on the verge of extinction. The sea that is said to have healing properties has been losing more than three feet per year, because neighboring countries are taking from the River Jordan, which is the Dead Sea’s only water source. Right now the sea has lost a third of its water and there’s no sign of a feasible solution.
The famed European Alps are beloved by snow sports enthusiasts and climbers around the world, but climate change is bringing challenges for the mountain range that has been frozen for so long. Alpine glaciers are retreating and temperatures are increasing at an alarming rate, because the Alps are at a lower altitude than many other mountains these changes are more alarming. These environmental troubles could be dire news for ski resorts in the area, so be sure to visit soon if you’ve been thinking about taking a ski trip.
Another series of islands facing hardship in the Indian Ocean—Seychelles, like the Maldives, is a tropical paradise facing submersion. Beach erosion, struggling coral and the eventual threat of being overcome by water are top concerns and some experts say Seychelles could be under water and completely uninhabitable within the next 50 to 100 years.