Endangered Destinations

Sara Grochowski
Do It Green! Minnesota

Most people have a mental wish list of places they would like to see in their lifetime. Some are local and others may be halfway around the world. It may seem unimaginable to think that our global terrain would be so affected that some of these places may not exist when we finally visit the travel agent, but it’s true. Thousands of places are endangered by over-tourism, over-development, pollution, de-forestation and global warming. Warmer temperatures and erratic weather patterns can cause glaciers to melt and historic sites to erode because of unpredictable rain. In an ideal world, global warming predictions will be heeded and corrective and preventive actions will be taken, but you may want to reconsider your vacation list with these places in mind while learning about things you and others can do to preserve them.

Mount Kilimanjaro’s Ice Fields. In 2002, Lonnie Thompson, a professor of geological sciences at Ohio State University, released a study that predicted these fields would be wiped out completely between 2015 and 2020 as a result of global warming. Data from the study show that 82% of the ice fields melted between 1912 and 2000.

Great Barrier Reef. Warmer water temperatures are causing coral bleaching. When ocean temperatures rise, the algae that give coral its color are forced out of the coral polyps, leaving the coral to die.

Chan Chan Archealogical Zone (Peru). Having survived for hundreds of years because of its desert locale, this site of the pre-Inca Chimu Kingdom includes nine mud brick-walled citadels with mud plaster decorations. However, preservation architects claim global warming has brought torrential rain and winds to the area, which are gradually eroding the structures.

Glacier National Park, Montana. This park, which has more than 130 lakes and 1,000 different kinds of plants, was also home to at least 150 glaciers in the mid 19th century. Only a few dozen glaciers now remain, and these are expected to melt in the next 20 to 30 years.

Endangered Destinations

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