We have been hearing about it for decades. It has been in the news for a long time. It repeatedly appears in our textbooks, newspapers, television, billboards, and pamphlets. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, you name it– it is everywhere on the internet as well.
What are we talking about? Is it an all-time favorite movie? Tales about the arrival of aliens from a far-off planet? The possibility and impossibility of time travel? A new-age technology that will revolutionize the world yet another time? Umm, dinosaurs?
Nope. It is far more real and serious than each of the above things. It is the resounding warning of impending doom– a herald of perilous consequences of our own actions. We are talking about climate change.
The impact of climate change has lately become so visible that we have finally started believing in it, after all. We have realized that we need to do something about it. But we are a bit late. Changing climate is slowly degrading some of the most beautiful places on Earth. And we are on the verge of losing these places forever.
In this blog, we talk about the impact of climate change on tourism by looking at ten tourist attractions that face the risk of permanent destruction due to climate change.
Dead Sea, Asi
For centuries, the Dead Sea has been popular for its high salt content that makes people float on its surface. Its high salinity– 9.6 times the ocean’s salinity– also makes it almost impossible for plants and animals to thrive. And this is how the sea got its “dead” name.
Over the past few decades, the Dead Sea is becoming popular for a not-so-amazing reason– the receding shoreline. Water levels are decreasing at the rate of about 1 meter per year. And the surface temperature is rising 0.6°C every decade– all thanks to climate change in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
If this trend continues, it won’t be very long before just the salty shore remains instead of the sea.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Before Machu Picchu came to the limelight in 1911, it was a lost citadel in the mountains of southern Peru. The place was unknown to everyone except a handful of Europeans and the local Peruvians.
After over a hundred years, this beautiful ancient site is one of the most popular attractions in the world. But sadly, the place is battling the harsh impact of climate change. The area has been receiving excessive rainfall for the last few years and is experiencing erosion much faster than before. If this increased rainfall prevails, we will lose a marvel of the Incan civilization.
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Galápagos is one of the key attractions in the Pacific Ocean and among the most visited archipelagos in the world. The astoundingly rich flora, innumerable species of animals, and the beautiful Pacific makes the Galápagos a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
But this experience can gradually deteriorate with the diverse threats of climate change. Uneven rainfall patterns and extreme weather are the obvious threats. El Niño remains the biggest disturbance to wildlife. But that’s not all. The rising water temperatures also cause acidification, which is hazardous to marine life around the islands.
Napa Valley, California (USA)
Napa Valley in California is widely renowned worldwide for its delectable wine. The vast swathes of vineyards over the beautiful green mountains have made the place a leading tourist destination for wine lovers.
But climate change has not spared Napa Valley, either. The mercury is rising, and the summers are extending beyond their usual duration. If the temperature continues to rise, the grapes will start ripening too early to produce great wine. And as a result, Napa Valley might no longer be what it is today.
Amazon Rainforest, South America
The Amazon is the largest rainforest of its kind. The extent of biodiversity in the Amazon remains unrivaled by any other place on earth. These rainforests aptly deserve the title of “lungs” of the earth.
Unfortunately, though, the lungs of our planet are in danger. They are literally burning. The Amazon rainforest is turning into ashes right in front of our eyes. The deadly combination of deforestation and global warming has been affecting the rainforest for years now. As a result, forest fires have become the new norm in the region, and the Southeastern Amazon has become a net carbon source.
One of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world, Venice always remains near the top of every traveler’s Europe bucket list. Mellow sunsets, boating from one place to another, stunning Italian architecture– everything about Venice is as magical as it seems. You just can’t describe Venice in words.
And that’s exactly why it feels so frightening to imagine Venice underwater. But sadly, this might as well become a harsh reality. The reason? Global warming, again. The city has experienced flooding several times in the past, but the frequency is likely to increase this century. If the present conditions prevail, Venice may be underwater by 2100.
Everglades, Florida (USA)
The Everglades is one of America’s top biodiversity hotspots. This 1.5-million-acre of wetlands, mangroves, marshes, and tropical hardwood hammocks harbors many exotic species of animals.
Climate change and the resulting temperature rise will likely affect the region’s biodiversity. Global warming can change the rainfall patterns over the region and can therefore be disastrous for the entire ecosystem. The region will require more water besides natural rainfall, and the wildlife will suffer adverse impacts.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef stands true to its name. It is one of the most significant attractions in Australia and the largest coral reef system in the world. The wide variety of marine life makes it a haven for scuba divers, who flock in large numbers to experience what the place offers.
But rising temperatures are destroying the core of this coral ecosystem– corals! A 2020 aerial survey found that only 40% of the reefs were free of coral bleaching, which makes corals prone to damage and death. In other words, over half of all reefs have become vulnerable to damage.
Alaska is among the most beautiful states in the US. And it’s not just because of its stunning peaks and glaciers but also due to the lakes, rivers, bears, and moose. It is the coldest state but still attracts visitors from every part of the country.
The state of Alaska has many reasons to be a tourist attraction, but these very reasons are on the verge of getting lost. The state is at the forefront of the climate crisis due to its ice. The ecosystem struggles to thrive as the glaciers melt and the wildlife suffers. Moreover, rising temperatures also lead to wildfires, destroying the forests of Alaska.
Maldives, Southern Asia
The Republic of Maldives is one of the most exotic tourist places in Asia. This island country is a key tourist attraction for people around the world. With its clear waters, sunny beaches, and exotic resorts, The Maldives is your ideal dream vacation destination.
But this archipelago of low-lying islands faces the threat of being swallowed by the ocean. It is clear that if greenhouse emissions remain the way they are today, this exotic group of islands may well become the next Atlantis.
The irony is that the Maldivian people now depend on the rest of the world to live in their homes.
Will these places really vanish?
We weren’t joking all this time. Each of these tourist destinations currently faces the impact of climate change. They have two possible fates. They’re on the verge of either destruction or a drastic change that will render them devoid of their beauty.
But it is not too late. We can still reverse these effects if we achieve our targets of reduced or net zero emissions. But that will require a collective effort from everyone who can do something. The real question is, are we ready to change?
Tell us how you can do your part in battling climate change. If you have any suggestions, drop a comment right away.