There are no bounds to human carelessness, and there is no denying the inevitable climate change. Our planet is blessed with many beautiful sights, and many more that we have created over time. Yet these face inexplainable danger, and might not survive the turn of the century, if not the next fifty years. And while adding them to our bucket lists is a must, we should also consider the necessary steps we can take to avoid their destruction and proceed with caution against climate change, extreme weather situations and unfortunately, over-tourism.
Sundarbans, India and Bangladesh
In another 50 years, the world’s largest mangrove forest would be no more. Sundarbans, spread over 10,000-kilometre squares in India and Bangladesh, are not only a sustaining ecosystem but also home to the already-endangered Royal Bengal Tiger. The forest across land and water is suffering from rising water levels and human interference and is thereby shrinking rapidly.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
The highest point in Africa, the snowy caps of Mount Kilimanjaro were made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro, but those seem to be the days of past. Estimations suggest that by 2033 the snow caps on the mountain will melt forever, thinning top-down and drying the area completely. In fact, from 1912 to 2007, the glaciers shrank by 85 per cent and the pace has only accelerated since.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Over-tourism, climate change, overfishing and sea traffic: The Great Barrier Reef has it all. The largest coral reef in the world is slowly shrinking, down to half its size in the past three decades. The rising temperatures kill the corals, while acid pollution in waters leads to their bleaching.
If Antarctica were to melt, it would cause widespread change on Earth, affecting over a billion lives. And so, the responsibility of conserving it lies with the world on the whole. For travellers, a visit to Antarctica is a true privilege, not afforded by many. Hand in hand with responsible tourism, perhaps Antarctica is a great way to see a world unpolluted by humans and realise the role we play in climate change.
One of the most popular cities in the world, this may already be on everyone’s bucket lists. A hub of culture, canals and cuisine, it attracts plenty of people every year. But Venice is in danger from the rising sea levels, and the city suffers from flood and might sink before the turn of the century.
Fragments of this frozen ocean keep melting due to excess heat and while the loss of arctic might sound colossal and otherworldly, it is not entirely unimaginable. The rising global temperatures hit the area harshly, affecting life in the ecosystem. Facing the brunt of this, are the polar bears that can hardly survive the changing environment.
The Alps, Europe
Not only do they sit lower than the other mountain ranges, but the Alps also lose around 3 per cent of their glacial ice every year. At such a rapid rate, the glaciers might cease to exist by 2050, not only affecting the continent but also the avid winter sports industry. Skiing and hiking in the snow-laden slopes of the Alps would remain but a dream.
This pretty collective of islands in the Indian Ocean is a flat area, with no mountains and rivers on them. The island, already quite low-lying at eight feet above the sea level, is sinking rapidly and might completely submerge in a hundred years.
The Dead Sea, Israel
Bordering Jordan and Israel, the Dead Sea is endlessly fascinating and the backdrop of several cool selfies. However, the sea is reducing in size, a third of the area is gone in the last four decades. Shrinking due to the overuse of River Jordan, it doesn’t help that it is one of lowest points on earth.
The Amazon, Brazil
Losing the Amazon would not only be tragic for life on Earth but there would be no turning back. The lush rainforests and the river basin, make up the largest rainforest in the world and a rich source of oxygen and biodiversity. Deforestation, mining and forest fires continuously threaten the already-fragile habitat.