Some of the great boons of the digital age are the unbound access to social media and the resultant continuous awareness we have of the happenings around us. Our online feeds are flooded with smiling pictures of our friends travelling across the world. From solo tourists in Turkey to backpackers in Sri Lanka- everyone is on the go. It would be safe to say, given the trends, that the tourism boom is here to stay- whether it’s for leisure or for adventure.
But sadly, man has not been as kind to Mother Nature. There are many places across the globe that are endangered and at risk. I recently came across a meme on a social media platform with a split-screen of Earth now vs Earth dried out in the near future spoofing Faceapp posts. It was meant to be funny but it actually showed the imminent disaster of Climate Change. To top that there are added problems of overpopulation, over-fishing, deforestation, pollution which threaten the very existence of some our cities, islands and natural wonders.
So if you are still in two minds about visiting a place you have been thinking about for a long time, you better pack your bags and visit these places right now before they disappear:
The Sundarbans, India
The world’s biggest mangrove forest, home to the Royal Bengal Tiger and accorded the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sundarbans could be extinct owing to rising water levels due to climate change as itis a low lying region and be completely wiped out within the next 50 years. Sundarban is also home to estuarine crocodiles and Ganges River dolphin which are endangered too. Spanning more than 10,000 square kilometres, this natural phenomenon is the Bengal tiger’s last coastal stronghold.
Easily one of the most scenic islands in the world and a traveller’s paradise Maldives is a low-lying state where Climate Change can be a matter of survival. Known as a top destination for diving, snorkelling, dolphin spotting and surfing, though this tropical heaven hasn’t contributed much to Greenhouse emissions yet it might have to bear the brunt of Global Warming as rising sea levels are slowly sinking the islands into the Indian Ocean which are a mere 8 feet above sea level.
The Great Wall of China, China
One of the Seven Wonders of the World this winding wall was built to protect China from enemy invasions. Running east-to-west for almost nine thousand kilometres across seventeen Chinese provinces, this destination has been pulling millions of visitors each year for decades. But now according to a report on Beijing Times, about 2,000 kilometres, or 30%, of the ancient fortification built in the Ming Dynasty era has disappeared due to natural erosion and human damage. Illegal mining is also taking a heavy toll on this site.
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Another World Heritage Site, it is the largest living structure on Earth and the largest coral reef system covering an area of 344,400 square kilometres. Something which can be viewed from space. This habitat is home to an astounding variety of marine life, plants and animals. A WWF study says, ‘in the past three decades, it has lost half its coral cover, pollution has caused deadly starfish outbreaks, and global warming has produced horrific coral bleaching.’ Unchecked coastal development also looms as a major threat.
Immortalized by Hollywood and Bollywood movies Venice is an eternal destination for the romantic. It has amazing cuisines and intimate gondola rides through the city’s epic canals to make your vacation a memorable one. Venice also houses some of the most exquisite architectural wonders some which you can idly walk around and visit. However, with sea levels rising, Venice floods an average of 100 times a year and is at risk of sinking completely in the next century.