While it’s never too late to travel, some destinations won’t wait for us. The assumption that you can start your travel journey at any time is valid. However, the assumption that certain places will still exist, is getting more and more unclear. It’s a harrowing truth that with climate change, rotting foundations, and human pollution, we may never experience what once was. Here are the 7 trips to put on your radar before it’s too late:
1. Italy – Venice
Venice has been sinking for quite some time now, but not as fast as waters have been rising. Now due to climate change, more flooding is occurring. Currently, there is a project in place that implements gates at the bottom of the sea, in order to control water flow when high tides come in. The project is expected to be finished in 2020, but I wouldn’t hold your breath on it (no pun intended).
2. China – Great Wall of China
Experts estimate that about 1/3 – 2/3 of the Great Wall is already gone. How can this be? Contributing factors include mass tourism, natural erosion from the elements, and people stealing bricks. Huge sections from the wall are missing or severely damaged thanks to theft. Wind and rain both threaten the integrity of the bricks, as its exposure is constant.
3. India – Taj Mahal
The poor Taj has had an uphill battle with pollution. This beautiful icon in India is visibly eroding, which will inevitably cause its collapse. It’s just a matter of time for this 16th century wonder. Pollutants from the nearby factories, as well as the exhaust from trucks and buses full of tourists, have both contributed to the erosion. This is definitely a wonder you’ll want to see before it’s too late.
It’s true. The Maldives are disappearing. This is another island that’s majorly threatened by climate change. Fortunately, the islands aren’t going anywhere too fast, as scientist predict the islands will be fully submerged by water in 100 years or so. There’s still a lot of time left, but this is a not-so-great reason to keep the Maldives on your radar for a summer vacation.
5. Jordan/Israel – Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is declining at a rapid rate. It is losing 2 billion gallons of water a year, and has disappeared by 1/3 in the last 40 years. This isn’t an overly rapid decline, so luckily you still have some time to plan a trip here. Overuse of the water from the Jordan River is causing the Dead Sea its demise, since that’s where the Dead Sea gets its water from. It’s not a problem that can be easily fixed with people relying on the river for water.
6. Peru – Machu Picchu*
Machu Picchu is a popular destination among tourists, which is pretty much destroying it. Every year brings more visitors than it can handle, and more restrictions are being placed on the ‘Lost City’. Other contributing factors to its eventual downfall are erosion and landslides. If you’re going to visit Machu Picchu, I suggest doing it in the next 1 -5 years (yes, seriously). While Machu Picchu will still exist past that mark, there will be major restrictions to the area coming in the next few years.
7. Tanzania – Mt. Kilimanjaro*
Another beloved sight for its natural beauty is Mt.Kilimanjaro. This is for all you avid hikers out there who have always dreamed of conquering the mountain. Definitely do so sooner than later. Out of the seven, Mt.Kilimanjaro is one of the most pressing visits. 85% of the ice on its peak has completely melted away. It’s melting at a very rapid rate, unlike the rate the Maldives are sinking at. This is again believed to be caused by climate change. Scientists predict the glaciers will be gone within two decades.
(* indicates places that should be visited soonest)
Now, of course I am not saying to book any of these trips immediately. But these seven destinations should be on your radar sooner rather than later. As tourists and as citizens of the world, we need to consider the impact we have on these destinations. Bring out what you bring in, and consume less. I know I can definitely be guilty of this sometimes myself! Let’s keep the world our playground, but with love and respect. After all, I couldn’t image the world without the Taj Mahal, could you?