As you review your bucket list, there are certain places you may want to prioritize visiting as rising sea levels, earthquakes, floods, global warming and other natural phenomenon affect different cities and tourist attractions around the world.
This article outlines 10 places to visit before they disappear. These popular tourist locations are at-risk from the affects of Mother Nature.
The city of water had been one of the most visited cities in Europe. Connected by canals and bridges, it’s a place like no other that will induce wonder into your heart. However, this beautiful city is facing threats from the rising sea level. Already actively pumping water out to stay ‘afloat’, there is no telling what the future holds for this magnificent UNESCO world heritage site. Unfortunately, this is a geological phenomenon, with Venice being dragged down as the tectonic plate it resides on is subducting.
Another victim of rising sea level, a large part of the Netherlands is actually below sea level already! This is also due to urbanization, which causes the cities to subsidize at the same time, making flooding an additional risk. Large scale coastal protection plans are currently being implemented, but you might want to give the Netherlands a visit sooner rather than later.
Even the Dead Sea is not exempt from being claimed by Mother Nature. In theory a lake, the Dead Sea has 9.6 times the salinity of Normal Ocean and is the home to the world’s first health resorts. It has an illustrious history, providing minerals for the surrounding cultures, including Egyptian Empires through the ages. Currently, it is dropping, on average, a meter a year in sea level. Sink holes begun to appear as water from River Jordan, its only source, is diverted from it. Therefore, if you want to make a pilgrimage to this natural wonder, you better do it soon.
A city that is pledged by both earthquakes and land subsidence, San Francisco’s famous hills are also under the disappearing threat. Due to poor land management and stripping of soils, the subsidence rates are increasing in the past few decades at an alarming rate. Another threat comes from the San Andreas Fault; if the recent movie isn’t foreboding enough already, it’s well known in the geological world that the longer the period between earthquakes, the more violent it would be.
The effect of global warming is still fresh on everyone’s mind; many of the world’s low lying areas are on the verge of disappearing. The Bahamas are considered by many as paradise, and it’s not hard to see why with its secluded location, crystal clear water and swaying palm trees. And it would definitely be one that honeymooners would be sad to see disappear under the sea.
While most people are concerned about rising sea level, it’s easy to forget the source of the melting glacier is rapidly changing too. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is marine based and is melting at an alarming rate. As one of the most remote and unique ecosystem on Earth, Antarctica is home to over 700 endemic species (not found anywhere else). It is also the sole breeding ground of Leopard, Crabeater and Ross Seals. While the expeditions to this environmentally sensitive region are restricted at the moment, at least there is still a chance to go see it.
One of the world’s most flood prone areas, Guangzhou’s home to the fertile, populated Pearl River Delta is increasingly at risk. A toxic cocktail of urbanization, global warming and overpopulation, it’s safe to say that the area is under the constant threat of typhoons during the increasingly long summer season as global sea temperature continues to increase. Photos of citizens dragging themselves through the muddy water now seem to be the norm, so make sure you visit it outside of the typhoon season.
Great Barrier Reef
The largest living structure on Earth, The Great Barrier Reef is becoming rapidly more endangered due to Ocean Acidification as well as global warming. Bleaching of corals not only reduce habitat for organisms, but also along the entire food chain. One of the most delicate ecosystems in the world and home to the most diverse number of species – you better book your tickets to see them quickly before they are gone.
Gaining popularity over the last few decades, Vietnam’s emergency from its war had brought it into the limelight, especially for backpackers. With long stretches of gorgeous beaches, amazing food and friendly people, what’s not to like about this place? However, the influx of tourists, rising sea level and flooding are all constantly threatening the beautiful country.
The perfect tropical blend of Caribbean and Spanish culture brimming with history, great food with emerald green hills and sparkling blue sea, Cuba’s charm is hard to resist. Sharing the same slice of paradise as the Bahamas, Cuba is under the threat of sea level rise as well. So if you want to dance to some soul music and sip delicious cocktails by the night and soak up culture by the day, then head to Cuba before it’s too late.