We might live in a world of fake news and “alternative facts,” but one thing is for sure — climate change is real. 2016 was proven to be the globally hottest year on record, and some of the world’s most treasured places are suffering heartbreaking effects from rising temps. Since we’re lucky enough to be alive while world wonders like them exist, we put together a list of seven places you should add to your adventures around the world… before it’s too late.
1. The Dead Sea: With waters noted for their therapeutic minerals, the Dead Sea is totally at the mercy of the Middle East’s scorching temperatures. Though the popular destination has always been hot, rising temps paired with tons of ongoing construction of dams and pipelines have combined to shrink the sea by more than three feet each year. If the sea keeps losing water at such a rapid pace, it won’t exist anymore by 2050. Crazy sad, right?
2. Great Barrier Reef: This coral reef system in Australia is the world’s biggest (more than 1,400 miles in total!) and has long been adored by travelers, scuba divers, and scientists for its amazing marine life. Sadly, the crazy-high ocean temperatures have resulted in the worst coral bleaching that’s ever been recorded — causing much of the colorful reefs to turn white as they die off. Since studies show that more than 90 percent of the reef has been affected in some way, we suggest moving this still-beautiful place to the top of your travel bucket list.
3. Venice, Italy: A city that was legit built on water, Venice has long suffered the effects of rising sea levels with floods that fill popular squares — but according to climate scientists, it’s only getting worse. Though Venetian locals and activists are working hard to come up with innovative solutions and technologies to preserve the city’s Adriatic charms, no one knows how well any of them will work. Make it a point to see this gem while you still can, exploring the super special spirit of each street, canal, and bridge.
4. The Amazon: Did you know that the Amazon covers about 40 percent of South America and is the largest rain forest on the planet? The environment is also home to some of the most fascinating, breathtaking, and jaw-dropping plants and animals that humans have ever seen and studied. As climate change puts the habitat in huge danger from droughts that drain the jungle, making it impossible for species to survive, scientists have expressed their fear and sadness at the major (and immeasurable) losses.
5. Key West, Florida: It can seem like the impact of rising waters has been restricted to faraway places, but it’s hitting us at home too. Florida’s Key West — a colorful and popular beach destination at the southernmost point of the continental US — has felt some major effects, with flooding and weather changes. We’ve read that the sea level in the Keys is expected to rise more than a foot in the next 30 years alone, which means future submersion could be a serious possibility.
6. Maldives: This special group of islands is like heaven, with an annual temperature that’s in the low 80s and ocean views that’ll take your breath away. Heartbreakingly, this low-lying country has already seen big tides that are forcing locals to leave their homes. While officials are working quickly to make the Maldives carbon-neutral within the next couple of years, if other countries don’t pull together to help reverse the warming trend, there’s a real threat that this gorgeous haven could disappear completely.
7. Napa Valley: More than a thousand individual winemakers are based in Napa, which also offer visitors dreamy vineyards, quaint towns, and rolling hills — making for a perfect honeymoon, a great girls’ getaway, or the ultimate relaxation vacation. Napa, like Sonoma and much of the rest of California, relies on specific weather and temperatures to produce some of the world’s best wines and crops. Hot weather and long droughts will have devastating effects on the region, disrupting the perfectly balanced climate.
Is climate change shaping your travel plans? Tell us about it @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)