Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life that nothing can last forever. From great wonders of the natural world that fall victim to a changing climate, to man-made buildings that erode over thousands of year, and even habitats that tragically fall victim to destructive industries — the world keeps turning and things change. In our latest blog post, we take a look at some of the most stunning sites and monuments in the world that you should visit before they disappear completely. If any of these are on your bucket list, then make some plans to go and see them for yourself! Who knows how much longer some of these wonderful places will last for?
Before They Disappear: Top 10 Bucket List
What places should you visit before they disappear? Check out our top 10 destinations to add to your ultimate bucket list!
1. Italy: The City of Venice
Rising sea levels over the years and climate change have largely contributed to Venice slowly sinking into the Adriatic ocean year on year. Flooding in Venice is becoming more frequent and worse. For an easy comparison: In the early 1900’s, the city centre would flood around 10 times a year. Now, it is close to 100. In terms of measurements, Venice has actually sunk by around 0.12 inches per year. Climatologists predict that global sea levels will rise up to 60cm by the end of this Century. Since Venice is a city that sits directly at sea level, it’s is extremely vulnerable to such climate changes.
2. Indonesia / Malaysia: The Rainforests of Borneo
The rainforests of Borneo were once an untouched mecca of biodiversity and home to many rare species of wildlife. People from all over the world would journey to the island of Borneo to witness Orangutans in their natural habitat and fascinating flora such as Rafflesias. Due to deforestation largely caused by destructive industries such as palm-oil, 50% of the lowland rainforest of Borneo has been wiped off the face of the planet. With the destruction of the rainforest comes the destruction of rare and native flora and the habitat of ingenious animals such as the critically endangered Orangutan.
3. Tanzania: The Snows of Mount Kilimanjaro
For centuries the tip of Kilimanjaro was covered in a thick ice sheet, with world-renowned glaciers and snowfall greeting hikers as they reached the summit. A rise in global temperatures and decrease in average snowfall has caused the ice-sheet to decrease in size by 85% since 1912 and since 2007 and has continued to steadily decline by an average of 2.5% per year. Scientists believe that the glaciers and ice-sheet could altogether disappear within the next 20 years due to global warming.
4. Peru: The Ruins of Machu Picchu
The famous Inca ruins of Machu Picchu of Cuzco in Peru face the possibility of collapsing due to the effects of mass-tourism, combined with the risks of landslides in the area. Additionally, the site sits on the Tambomachay Fault Line which poses the threat of Earthquakes that could destroy the foundations of the buildings and cause them to crumble. The government of Peru will be putting measures in place to limit the daily number of visitors in an attempt to lessen the effect that tourism has had on the area.
5. Ecuador: The Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos are a famous cluster of islands located 1000km off the coast of Ecuador. Perhaps best known for their role in Darwin’s studies of evolution, this diverse archipelago has fallen victim to the effects of of mass-tourism and climate change. The Galapagos Islands ecosystem has been struggling in recent years, and other contributing factors to the problems that the Galapagos are facing include pollution and plastic. Despite the fact that 90% of the Galapagos Island is banned from Human inhabitants, tonnes of plastic wash up on the shores every year and kill local wildlife.
6. Jordan / Israel: The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea, located between Jordan and Israel, is a famous salty lake located at the lowest point on Earth and one of the world's great wonders of nature. It’s nine times more salty than any of the oceans on our planet, and is shrinking at an alarming rate. The surface level of the Dead Sea if falling by approximately 1 meter every single year. It’s thought that the causes of this lie within changes to the local climate and environment - with a reduced flow being supplied by the River Jordan (approximately 90% of the waters from the River have been siphoned off to support agriculture and population growth) and regional droughts.
7. Mali: Mosques & Tombs of Timbuktu
You may or may not have heard of the Mosques of Timbuktu in the African country of Mali. These incredible 14th and 15th Century buildings are constructed from mud, straw, and wood. As you can imagine, given the material they are made of, they are entirely at the mercy of climate changing and the elements. Political instability has also played a role in the vulnerability of the famous site — after UNESCO declared the mosques and tombs as endangered World Heritage sites in 2012, Islamic extremists set about destroying as many parts of it as they could.
8. Indian Ocean: The Maldives
The beautiful Maldives are a choice destination for honeymooners and couples of romantic getaways. From the crystal clear turquoise waters to the white sandy beaches, th Maldives are the epitome of tropical paradise. However, rising sea levels threaten to destroy these beloved islands. In act, the UN Environmental Programme believes that if sea levels continue to rise at the current rate, the Maldives could be lost to the sea by end of the twenty-first Century. The Maldives also has a less-known problem with plastic pollution and effectively managed waste / garbage control.
9. India: The Taj Mahal
The stunning Taj Mahal is synonymous with the country of India and one of its main tourist attractions, bringing in millions of visitors every year. However, The Taj Mahal could very well collapse and be gone forever. The wooden foundations of the Taj Mahal are rotting, and cracks have begun to appear on some of the interior walls, along with the gradual tilting of the minarets. The rotting foundations are believed to have been caused due to lack of water, the supply of which was coming from the dried up Yamuna River. Pollution is also taking its toll of the mausoleum, as the city it is located in (Agra) is the eighth-most polluted city in the world.
10. Patagonia: The Fields of Glaciers
The Patagonian glaciers make up the largest body of ice in the Southern Hemisphere (outside of Antarctica) and are reducing by an average rate of up to 1.8 meters per year. While a small amount of the glaciers have remained stagnant or even continued to grow, around 90% have continued shrinking in size. From the 1970s to the year 2000, the glaciers were melting at such a rate that they contributed 0.042mm to sea levels rising each year. After the year 2000, this again increased to a level of 0.067mm per year.
What difference can we make?
Whilst some factors are beyond our control, collectively we can make a difference to factors such as climate change, pollution and deforestation that are wreaking havoc on beautiful areas of the world. If we work on being more eco-conscious, and looking at sustainable and ethical tourism companies when we travel abroad, we will be lessening the negative effects of mass-tourism on world heritage sites and local communities. If we research and become more aware of the impact our choices and actions have on the environment, such as our use of single-use plastics and consumables such as unethically sourced palm-oil, then we can make a difference to plastic that is polluting our oceans and industries that are destroying the world’s rainforests.
There are also charities and non-profit organizations that you can donate to or volunteer with to further help such causes:
Heart Of Borneo
To support the conservation of the rainforests of Borneo.
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy protects ecologically important lands and waters around the world.
The Plastic Pollution Coalition
PPC is a growing global alliance of more than 700 organizations, businesses, and thought leaders in 60 countries working toward a world free of plastic pollution.
At Tranquility Bay Resort, Belize we believe that it is important to explore the world in a sustainable and ethical way, and help care for our natural environment and ecosystems so that they continue to thrive for further generations. Belize in general is very passionate about conservation and works hard to protect its wildlife and flora.