15 Places to See While You Still Can from 15 Places to See While You Still Can
15 Places to See While You Still Can
15 Places to See While You Still Can
Earth is in danger. Whether you blame global warming on people, the undeniable fact is that rising sea levels, air pollution and deforestation are hurting the planet in irreversible way. The landscape is changing and the big adventures you are planning for the future may have to reflect that. Some national parks are shrinking, rainforests are drying out, and stunning islands are risking submersion. Hundreds of animal and plant species face extinction as they lose their natural habitat.
Major ices shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula have broken apart, retreated, or lost volume in recent decades, and the trend continues today with a crack in the Larsen C shelf growing this year. You can go on a cruise with Adventure Life and use the ship as your base as you explore the peninsula on kayaking, hiking, snowshoeing, mountaineering, camping and Zodiac excursions.
Greenland’s melting ice sheet is one of the largest contributors to sea level rise around the globe, and the country experienced its highest average summer temperature on record and an early melt last year. You can see calving glaciers, giant icebergs, and Arctic landscapes accompanied by geologist and glaciologist Sarah Aciego and professional photographer Mindy Cambiar with Big Chill Adventures.
Travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba have eased recently with the first regularly scheduled flights between the countries, but the 2016 election brought several tourism-related questions. Hurry up and meet Cubans in person and see the historic architecture of Old Havana and the island’s natural wonders on this cruise. Going there by ship is still the best way to visit.
Barry and Cathy Beck
Several Canadian copper and gold mines are in operation, being explored, or under review for approval, and their tailings pose a hazard in the headwaters of Alaska’s major salmon rivers. Go on a trip to an Alaskan fishing lodge with Frontiers for a chance to cast for the five main species of Pacific salmon, plus trout, grayling, char, and more.
A study released this year shows that 75 percent of primate species have shrinking populations and 60 percent are threatened with extinction, with their decline being attributed to hunting, farming, ranching, logging, mining and oil drilling. Encounter some of the last remaining mountain gorillas, as well as chimpanzees and golden monkeys, on a trek in the forests of Rwanda with Gondwana Ecotours.
Lake Baikal, Russia
Russia’s Lake Baikal, one of the most spectacular on the planet, holds about 20 percent of the world’s unfrozen freshwater — making it the largest freshwater lake by volume — but it faces threats from pollution and hydroelectric projects. Travelers with MIR Corporation can see the lake by train and boat, and also visit the Gobi Desert to the south in Mongolia.
Research published last year showed that rising sea levels have resulted in the disappearance of five of the Solomon Islands, while erosion on others has forced the relocation of beautiful villages. Visit secluded bays and remote beaches, snorkel coral reefs and meet villagers in the Solomons and other nearby archipelagos while on a cruise with Adventure Life.
Tuvalu, a vacation spot you probably haven’t thought of yet, is the least visited country in the world, according to UN data, with just about 1,000 tourists a year. The tiny nation spread across several atolls in the South Pacific has stunning beaches, spectacular turquoise waters, and outstanding lagoons. However, Tuvalu lies just 6.6 feet above sea level, and this tropical paradise faces the possibility of being submerged by rising seas, at the rate of about 0.2 inches a year, due to global warming.
Glacier National Park, Montana
This is one of the most visited national parks in the U.S. Many people try to get the last look at the receding glaciers. The park that was shaped by once-giant glaciers is really showing the effects of climate change, according to the Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK). The park that was once home to roughly 150 glaciers is now down to just 25, and some scientific estimates say it could lose all of its large glaciers by 2030, if not sooner.
The iconic European Alps are beloved by snow sports enthusiasts, but climate change is bringing challenges for the mountain range. Alpine glaciers are retreating and temperatures are increasing at an alarming rate, according to the European Environment Agency. The Alps are at a lower altitude than many other mountains which is why these changes are so worrying.
As the city of canals, gondolas and hundreds of bridges, Venice, one of the most beautiful places on the planet, is known for its waterways. But, as it turns out, the water could be exactly what is ruining the historic and one of the most romantic cities in the world. 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.
The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is famous for a salinity that makes swimmers especially buoyant. You should go on a trip there while you still can, because it 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 bordering countries are taking water from the River Jordan, which is the Dead Sea’s only major water source. The sea has lost a third of its water already and there is no solution in sight.
The island nation might be gone in as little as 30 years, according to climate experts. Climate change has forced the country official to draft an “inevitable” relocation plan for its 102,000 citizens. As ice continues to melt and global sea levels rise, the 33 islands, which are between 3 and 6 feet above sea level, face trouble.
The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s natural wonder. It is larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing on earth visible from space. It is set off Australia’s east coast and sprawls out over 133,000 square miles. The lavishness of the reef’s marine life is being hurt by climate change, according to the WorldWildlife.org. Sediment and nutrient and pesticide pollution have increased. Urban and industrial developments continue, and illegal fishing is hurting the ecosystem. By some estimates the reef could be irreparably changed in the next 20 years.
In addition to global warming and air pollution, tourism and overuse is killing the beautiful biodiverse islands. A dive into the waters of the Galapagos, with their extremely unique and diverse wildlife population, offers the chance to encounter several species of sharks. But the rise in ocean temperatures has caused loss of species, reef die-offs, and algae blooms. Ecuador, which owns the Galapagos, has been getting ready to build a “penguin condos” island and to impose restrictions on tourism.