It’s hard to imagine that some of our most beloved tourist destinations could soon disappear, but there are signs that the effects of climate change are taking their toll on many beautiful places around the world. From iconic coral reefs to jaw-dropping mountain peaks, these eleven must-see tourist spots won’t last much longer unless drastic measures are taken.
The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galápagos Islands are considered one of the most complex and unique ecosystems in the world. The region is home to over 20% of Ecuador’s reptile species and over 30% of birds. However, marine pollution, uncontrolled hotel development and population growth are threatening the biodiversity of this region, which risks losing its UNESCO World Heritage status.
Famous for its canals, bridges and unique architecture, Venice is a city that stands out from all other cities in the world. It is also considered one of the most romantic destinations in the world. The city is on the verge of extinction due to sea level rise, land subsidence and water pollution. According to scientists, Venice could be swallowed up by the sea by 2100 if nothing is done to counter these threats.
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure in the world with over 400 species of coral and 1500 species of fish. However, global warming, pollution and water acidification threaten the survival of this natural wonder, which risks disappearing by 2030.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world due to its fascinating history and beautiful setting. However, the large influx of tourists and the proliferation of tourist development could soon threaten the sustainability of this Inca city which risks being irreversibly degraded.
It is an archipelago of more than 1000 islands known for its white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and coral reefs. The Maldives is one of the best places for diving and water sports, as well as for luxury tourism. However, due to climate change, the Maldives is threatened by rising sea levels which could completely engulf these islands within decades. The Maldives has already started to fight this phenomenon by becoming the first nation in the world to adopt a carbon neutral approach.
The forest of Borneo, Indonesia
Borneo’s forest is one of the oldest and most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. Yet increased deforestation for the paper and palm oil industry has threatened the natural habitat of many endemic animals. Namely orangutans, Sumatran tigers and pygmy elephants, some species of which are already endangered.
The Sundarbans, Bangladesh
The Sundarbans are a rainforest and wetland located in the delta of the Ganges in the Bay of Bengal. This region is considered one of the richest and most diverse ecosystems in the world. The Sundarbans are also home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, a critically endangered species. However, the Sundarbans are threatened by rising sea levels, deforestation, water pollution and poaching. If these threats are not countered, the Sundarbans could disappear by the end of the century.
Yellowstone National Park, USA
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most famous national parks in the world, due to its geysers, hot springs and abundant wildlife including grizzly bears and wolves. Nevertheless, climate change, pollution, invasive species and the increase in the number of tourists threaten the biodiversity of this region which risks losing its status as a national park.
The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world and is home to remarkable biodiversity including plants, animals and microorganisms. The forest is also considered the lungs of the planet, as it produces around 20% of the world’s oxygen. However, the Amazon today is threatened by deforestation, illegal logging, air and water pollution, as well as forest fires which have doubled in the last decade. If nothing is done to protect this tropical forest, it could disappear completely in the next decades.
The glaciers of Patagonia, Argentina and Chile
Patagonia’s glaciers attract thousands of tourists each year for their majestic beauty and their key role in maintaining biodiversity. However, global warming has accelerated the melting of glaciers, jeopardizing the natural habitat of many animal and plant species, as well as the source of fresh water for local communities.
Madagascar Island, Madagascar
The island of Madagascar is famous for its unique fauna and flora that are found nowhere else in the world, especially lemurs. However, the loss of natural habitat, deforestation, poaching and uncontrolled tourist development threaten the wealth of this island which risks losing its endemic species even before they are discovered.
In short, these tourist destinations are treasures of nature that are threatened with disappearance for various reasons. It is essential to raise public awareness of the importance of preserving biodiversity and reducing our impact on our environment. We must act quickly and concretely to save these wonders before it is too late.