Have you been itching to take a trip but you just werenâ€™t sure where to go? Well, I have ten amazing places that wonâ€™t be around for too much longer, so maybe you should consider one of them for your next trip!
1. The Galapagos Islands
These 40 islets and 19 small volcanic islands are what make up the famous Galapagos Islands, and are home to slightly over 25,000 people. They sit approximately 600 miles west off the coast of Ecuador. However, nearly 9,000 species call the islands and their surrounding waters home, including over 40 species of fish. These species are all in danger because of mass tourism. Tourism is increasing at a rate of 12% per year. Hotels, restaurants, and an increase in motor vehicles are taking away from the natural beauty of the once isolated islands. Workers smuggling animals, like goats and pigs, to the islands that compete with the local wildlife for food and cruise ships that bring rats to the islands are also contributing to the declination of the natural wonders of the Galapagos. To bring these numbers to life, in 2008 the Galapagos Islands had only 200,000 visitors, while in 2011 they had a whopping 272,000. With the ecosystem being destroyed, the expected time remaining is unknown.
2. The Maldives
This is the smallest Asian country both in population and land area. Its 1,200 islands sit approximately 250 southwest of India in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is the worldâ€™s lowest nation with 80% of its 1,200 islands less 1m (3.3 feet) above sea level. Because of rising sea levels the Maldives could become uninhabitable within 100 years. It is so serious that in 2008, the President announced that the government would start buying land in other countries, including India, for future homes for citizens displaced by the rising waters. In addition, youâ€™ll want to go to the Maldives soon because 90% of their coral reefs have been lost to coral bleaching, much of it due to rising sea temperatures during a single El NiÃ±o. Make the trip to see the beauty of what is left if you can.
3. Great Barrier Reef
This world wonder right off the coast of Queensland, Australia is the worldâ€™s largest coral reef and is only living thing on earth visible from space. It covers an area of 347,800 sq km or 134,286 sq mi, which is more than the size of the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Holland combined. It contains over 330 species of coral and over 3000 individual reef systems and coral cays. Rising ocean temperatures, water pollution, ocean acidification and cyclones continually destroy the reef and have caused mass coral bleaching. A study published in 2012 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that the reef has lost more than half of its coral since 1985. Itâ€™s estimated that 60% of the worldâ€™s coral reefs will be lost by 2030. The Australian Greenhouse Office report predicts that by 2070 temperatures could increase as much as 6Âº C (42.8ÂºF) which will drastically affect these beautiful reefs. What took 8,000 years of natural creation could disappear within our lifetimes. It has an expected time remaining of less than 100 years.
The black line is the Great Barrier Reef, and that is what you can see from space.
4. Venice, Italy
Venice is known by many names, one of which being the Floating City, which they should consider changing to the Sinking City. Venice has long been sinking, but rising sea levels are making the situation more drastic. The sea level rises by 4-6 mm per year, but the natural subsidence of the Venice lagoon also rises 1-1.5mm per year. From 2000 to 2002, the water levels rose 4 inches. Flooding also plays a factor. The frequency of floods increases each year, leaving many to wonder how much longer Venice can stay above water. In 1900, St. Markâ€™s Square flooded less than 10 times. In 1980 it flooded 40 times. In 2000, it flooded more than 60 times. Tourism is also a contributing factor. In 2007, 21 million tourists visited Venice (almost 40 times the size of its population). With all of these factors combined, Venice has an expected time remaining of less than 70 years.
5. The Dead Sea
This famous salty sea that makes swimming more like floating, borders Jordan to the east and Israel to the west. It has 33.7% Salinity, which makes it 10 times more salty than the ocean. This salinity makes for an extremely harsh climate for animals cannot flourish in, hence the name “The Dead Sea.” It is the lowest place on earth at 1,388 feet below sea level. In the last four decades, this sea has shrunk to something more of a salty lake. It has shrunk by a third and sunk 80 feet; stranding formerly seaside resorts and restaurants nearly a mile from shore. The water level drops 4 ft. per year. In the last 40 years alone, it shrunk by 1/3, which was 13 inches per year. The Jordan River is the lakeâ€™s sole source and, as surrounding countries increasingly tap its waters, little reaches the Dead Sea, which could take after its name and die off within 50 years.
6. The Alps
The Alps stretch across eight countries from Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Germany France to the west, Austria and Slovenia in the east, and Italy and Monaco to the South. They stretch approximately 1,200 km (750 mi). The European Alps sit at a lower altitude than the Rocky Mountains, and their glaciers and ski resorts are more susceptible to the effects of global warming. Since the 1880â€™s, temperatures have increased twice as much the global average temperature. Alpine glaciers have lost 20% of their size since the 1980â€™s. Every 10 years, the temperature will increase by 0.72ÂºF. Because of global warming, the famed glaciers could disappear by 2050.
Madagascar, the 4th largest island in the world, is located off the southeastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. It is home to over 20 species of lemurs, and more than 80% of Madagascarâ€™s flora and fauna are found nowhere else in the world. Unfortunately among this beautiful island world, of the original 120,000 square miles of forest, only 20,000 of it left. These forest ecosystems are being destroyed by logging, burning for subsistence farms, and poaching. Game reserves occupy only 5% of the island. If nothing is done to save these forests, they will be gone in less than 35 years, along with their unique inhabitants including the lemurs for which Madagascar is renowned.
8. The Congo Basin
The Congo Basin is the basin of the Congo River located in the middle of Africa between the Gulf of Guinea and the African Great Lakes. The basin extends across seven nations including: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, and Rwanda. The basin houses the worldâ€™s 2nd largest rainforest after the Amazonâ€™s, at more than 1.3 million square miles. Tropical rainforests produce 40% of the worldâ€™s oxygen, which is a huge asset produced by the Congo Basin, but unfortunately we could be losing this because 10 million acres of forest are being degraded each year due to mining, illegal logging, farming, ranching, and guerilla warfare. According to the UN, up to two-thirds of the forest and its unique plants and wildlife could be lost by 2040 unless more effective measures are taken to protect it. This gives us less than 30 years to make a change or we will lose this amazing resource and sanctuary for so many species of wildlife.
9. Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is located in the U.S. state of Montana (not the one in Canada), which borders Canada, covers over 1,000,000 acres (4,000 km2 ). It contains over 200 waterfalls and has 712 lakes, of which only 131 have been named. It has 260 species of birds, 62 species of mammals, and 1,132 plant species that have been identified. 100 years ago, there were as many as 150 glaciers strewn throughout Glacier National Park. By 2005, only 27 glaciers remained and they are expected to disappear by 2030, if not earlier. In the absence of cold water the ecosystem of the park may change dramatically when the glaciers are gone. Global warming is once again the culprit of taking one of our natural beauties, giving us less than 20 more years to enjoy it.
10. Taj Mahal
Located in Agra, India, the Taj Mahal is widely admired for its fine architecture, like the main marble dome, which is 115 ft or 35m high. It was started in 1632 and took 21 years to complete. It took over 20,000 laborers to complete it and over 1,000 elephants were used to transport building materials. These numbers may seem big, but people are coming in herds to see this architectural beauty. 3-4 million tourists visit the Taj Mahal every year, including more than 200,000 from overseas. Between the crows and the air pollution thatâ€™s eating away its white stone faÃ§ade, tourism officials are considering closing this 17th century landmark to the public in the next 5 year, leaving its fabulous domed symmetry visible only from afar.
So folks, while some of that is sad, weâ€™ve learned a few things. First, thereâ€™s no time like the present. Get to traveling! You canâ€™t put these amazing places off til later. And the other thing weâ€™ve learned is to take care of the places we travel to so other people can enjoy them to and so that they can stick around for longer. So, if you’d like to search for flights you can through our booking engine, or feel free to contact us and one of our flight specialistsÂ will be happy to help you.Â Happy travels!