7 Places you have to visit before they are gone

By Marion Fernandez
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7 Places you have to visit before they are gone

Marion Fernandez
 
The Dead Sea, Israel
The Dead Sea, Israel
 
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We all have a bucket list in our minds of destinations all over the world that we would love to visit and explore. For some of these destinations, the option to visit will always be available. However, for others you may be running out of time. Sadly, there are many places around the world that simply will not be around forever and you need to go see them as soon as you can. Do keep in mind that while all of these areas are expected to disappear sometime in the next century, it may not go that way. With new environmental legislation worldwide, there are some positives for the future of a number of these natural wonders. Here are the top seven you need to see.

1. The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum in Agra, India
The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum in Agra, India

Let’s start with perhaps one of the most surprising destinations on this list. The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum in Agra, India. It took 20 years to complete and was built to hold the remains of Mumtaz Mahal, the Emperor Shah Jahan’s treasured wife. Because of the increase in tourism throughout the years as well as the increase in air pollution, the marble of the mausoleum has begun to deteriorate. The foot traffic throughout the grounds has also caused a lot of wear and tear to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Essentially, the Taj Mahal is just breaking down and it has been rumored that tourists will no longer be able to visit the site within the next few years.

2. The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea, Israel
The Dead Sea, Israel

In the last 50 years, the Dead Sea has shrunk in size by a third. Because of the traffic on the Jordan River, which is the water source for the Dead Sea, it is thought that the sea could disappear entirely in the next 50 years. The sea itself has Jordan on the east and Israel and Palestine on the west. It is the Earth’s lowest elevation on land and the deepest hypersaline lake in the entire world. It is called the “Dead Sea,” because the amount of salt in it is so intense that plants and animals cannot survive in it. Jordan is attempting to stabilize the current level of the sea, but if it fails, the sea could be gone.

3. The Maldives

Beach on the Maldives
Beach on the Maldives

These beautiful islands are barely above sea level with the highest point being a mere two meters above this level. Because of climate change, the risk that the islands will disappear into the sea is extremely high. The country aims to be carbon-free in the next couple of years, but they alone cannot stop the seas from rising up and swallowing the whole archipelago. The Maldives are surrounded by the beautiful waters of the Indian Ocean and are one of the smallest countries in Asia. Even though the islands are low in elevation, you will have no doubt that you are in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

4. The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef – a wonder of the world – is dying a slow death
The Great Barrier Reef – a wonder of the world – is dying a slow death

The largest reef in the world known as the Great Barrier Reef it’s slowly dying. Because of an increase in water temperature as well as the acid level of the area, the reef’s very existence is at risk. The fear is that if the water temperature continues to increase, the reef will be completely dead within a few decades. The Great Barrier Reef is impressive for many different reasons, but one of the best ones is that the reef system itself is actually more than 2,900 reefs and 900 islands that are all interconnected in an intricate ecosystem. The reef itself is really a living being. You can scuba or snorkel around it to see all of the amazing sea life that is living there.

5. The Belize Barrier Reef

Caye Caulker Belize Barrier Reef – Author: Falco Ermert – CC BY 2.0
Caye Caulker Belize Barrier Reef – Author: Falco Ermert – CC BY 2.0

Another reef system that is amazing to see in real life is the world’s second-largest reef: the Belize Barrier Reef. Like the Great Barrier Reef, the Belize Reef is home to an array of plant and animal life and was seriously damaged in 1998 due to bleaching, which killed half of the coral. The increased temperatures and pollution are threatening what remains of it, so it would be a good time to take in the crystal clear water now. You can go snorkeling over it, swimming with the amazing fish that live there. Belize itself is known as a wonderful tourist destination, welcoming foreigners who come to enjoy the beautiful environment that extends far beyond the reef itself.

6. Glacier National Park

 

Once, huge glaciers covered the landscape, but now only a few remain, trying to exist in an ever warmer environment
Once, huge glaciers covered the landscape, but now only a few remain, trying to exist in an ever warmer environment

Located in Northern Montana, Glacier National Park is a rare gem of natural beauty. Unfortunately, while there were over 150 glaciers in Northern Montana 100 years ago, there are a mere 27 still around today. The endangered landscape is on the verge of disappearing entirely due to the environmental changes and pollution. If you can get there and take in the remaining glaciers, however, you will get to see some of the most amazing examples of glaciers in the world. The park goes beyond Montana itself and on into Canada. It covers over a million acres and has two mountain ranges within it, so even if you don’t get to see glaciers themselves, you will not miss out on the beauty of the environment.

7. The Congo Basin

Dzanga-Sangha National Park – Author: DAVID HOLT – CC BY-SA 2.0
Dzanga-Sangha National Park – Author: DAVID HOLT – CC BY-SA 2.0

The Congo Basin is the second-largest rainforest in the world, after the Amazon. Like the Amazon, the Congo has been put under a lot of strain for a variety of reasons throughout the past century. There has been a lot of mining, logging, and wars that have gone on across the area, all resulting in the deforestation of the Congo, putting it at risk of disappearing altogether. So if you are thinking that the Congo Basin is something you need to check off your bucket list, head there and take in the okapis, mountain gorillas, and the forest elephants while they are still around to be seen.

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