The world is changing. You can’t have failed to notice that – global warming, ice caps melting, habitats disappearing…the world we hand down to our children and their children might be very different.
As a result, there are places that you should probably put on your list to visit in the next few years, before they disappear or are irreversibly changed. Some of these places are culturally significant, some are examples of outstanding natural beauty but they’re all under threat. Start planning your trip while you can!
10. The Malaysian Coastline
Malaysia is often cited as a Place to Visit, due to its sunny climate and miles of beautiful beaches, but now there’s another reason to visit – those beaches may not be around too much longer. A report in 2010 said that 1,300km of Malaysian coastline was under threat from erosion – that’s 29% of the coast. Combined with the threat of raised sea levels as the ice caps melt, there’s a chance that the kind of beaches shown here won’t be there in the future.
9. Blackgang Chine, the Isle of Wight
From the tropical to the tepid, the next item on our list comes from the sedate island just off the coast of England, known as the Isle of Wight. It’s a haven for pensioners and holiday makers in search of peace and quiet, but it also boasts a quite remarkable amusement park. Blackgang Chine has been entertaining visitors since 1843, and is slowly slipping into the sea. Perched on the edge of a crumbling cliff (at a rate of 3.5m a year), it has lost large sections of its land in landslides in 1921, 1968 and 1994 and no-one knows when the next major landfall will be. But be assured that the management are prepared – they’ve had lo ts of experience moving rides and exhibits further away from the cliff edge.
It’s no Disneyland, but this eccentric attraction is worth visiting before it entirely collapses into the sea!
8. Yangtze River, China
The Yangtze River is the 3rd longest river in the world, but also one that’s under threat from dramatic changes in the last 50 years. One of the pressures faced by the region is the deforestation and aggressive agriculture that impose on the natural habitats along the river – even nature reserves face being destroyed for agricultural reasons. That means that species like the snow leopard and the giant panda are threatened too, as their habitats disappear.
Another threat is the urbanization that’s taken place along the river -the population has doubled in the last 50 years and with that has come rapid industrialization and heavily populated cities. There are also a number of hydroelectric projects planned, which interfere with the natural flow of the river and destroy ecosystems. So, a river once famed for its beauty is disappearing under the strain of human progress, taking its wildlife with it. Visit before it becomes unrecognizable.
7. Timbuktu, Mali
You may not know that this is a real place (I’m not judging – I’m sure I thought it was made up for a long time), but not only is it real it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site, due to the sacred tombs and mosques there. Unfortunately, it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage in Danger site, as climate changes threatens to turn the whole area into desert. But that’s not the only threat to Timbuktu – last year, the city was taken over by two armed groups (MLNA and Ansar Dine) and the subsequent looting and violence has raised real concerns about the future of the ancient monuments.
Ansar Dine described the shrines at Timbuktu as “idolatrous and un-Islamic” and reports suggested that three sacred tombs had been destroyed. So, be cautious – this may not be the most calming place to visit for a holiday, but the ancients tombs are certainly worth seeing.
6. The Alps
Another area under threat from climate change now . The Alps are famous for their beautiful glaciers, but they are disappearing rapidly as temperatures rise. Since the 1880s, temperatures have risen by twice as much as the global average and will continue to increase by 0.72F every 10 years. That might not sound like a lot, but it has a massive effect on the rivers of ice. Since the 1980s, the glaciers have lost 20% of their size, and may disappear entirely by 2050. In America, the National Glacier Park is suffering in a similar way and only has 27 glaciers left, compared to 150 just 100 years ago. In other words, if you want to see a real glacier go and visit quickly because they may all disappear this century.