The discovery this week of 7 earth-like planets orbiting a star just 40 light-years away has us dreaming of the possibilities of life on other planets. With the threat of climate change it’s essential to keep an eye on what’s going on at home with rising sea levels, temperatures and air pollution. These 12 iconic destinations are at risk of vanishing forever and are worth adding to your bucket list before it’s too late.
12. The Taj Mahal
Pollution and crowds are damaging the white stone façade of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Officials in India are planning the closure of this monument to eternal love sometime within the next 5 years.
Book your flight to India here.
11. The Dead Sea
Courtesy of elisha_hayley via Instagram
Don’t miss out on your chance to float on the healing waters of the Dead Sea. Unfortunately man-made diversions from the Jordan River and mineral mining means that the sea is receding at 1 meter a year!
Book your cheap flight to Amman, Jordan here.
Courtesy of noam_bedein via Instagram
10. Venice, Italy
This incredibly beautiful floating city has been sinking for centuries, however severe flooding has sped up the process five times as fast as previously predicted.
Take a gondola and breakfast in iconic St Mark’s Square before it’s too late.
Book your flight to the city of canals and romance here.
How do I cancel out my carbon footprint when I travel?
When we travel we produce a carbon footprint. You can visit the Carbon Footprint Calculator here, it will give you several options to offset your carbon footprint including tree-planting projects in Kenya and various other environmental programs.
You don’t have to look far to make small changes with positive consequences. Buy your fresh produce from local producers such as Abalimi Bezekhaya in Cape Town, an urban agriculture NPO which supports home and community gardens throughout Cape Town’s townships. You can order your veggies from their partner Harvest of Hope from just R120 per week.
Use grey-water you collect in a bucket when you shower to water your pot plants.
Walk and bike as much as possible.
9. Mount Kilimanjaro
Courtesy of froliver via Instagram
This ice caps on this mighty mountain have been disappearing since 1912, however the snow stopped accumulating altogether in 2000 and it’s predicted there will be no snow left within fifteen years. The famous snows of Kilimanjaro have melted more than 80 percent since 1912.
Definitely one for the bucket list, book an affordable flight to Kilimanjaro here.
8. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
Courtesy of _victorian_ via Instagram
The only living thing visible from outer space is in danger of extinction within our lifetime. Rising water temperatures and pollution are causing the coral to bleach and die with a quarter of its coral already dead.
The world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres is in danger. Don’t miss out on experiencing the reef for yourself just be sure to book a tour with an environmentally sound company.
Book flights to Queensland here.
Courtesy of chasingdreamslivinglife via Instagram
7. The Swiss Alps
These magnificent mountains are in significant danger from rising temperatures with experts predicting their ice caps will be completely melted by 2050.
Book your ticket to Zurich and skiing Shangri-La here.
6. The Great Wall of China
Almost a third of the Great Wall of China has already disappeared with local people stealing bricks for building materials, erosion and damage from tourism.
Book your flight to see an astounding piece of history before it vanishes forever here.
5. The Amazon
Deforestation and pollution is threatening this incredible eco-system. So much is still unknown about this sprawling forest – most recently a huge coral system was discovered and is now known as the Amazon Reef. The reef is almost 1,000 km long and is found where the Amazon River meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Book your flight to a rainforest adventure of a lifetime here.
Scientists predict that within 30 years most if not all of the glaciers in Glacier National Park will disappear.
The blue tint shows the age of the glacier, the older, more compact the glacier the bluer it is in colour. Don’t miss an opportunity to see these magnificent ice sheaths in the Rocky Mountains before it is too late.
Book your flight to Montana, USA here.
3. Machu Pichu
Last year Machu Pichu was added to UNESCO’s list of endangered sites due to the environmental damage and erosion to the ancient Incan structures from too much tourist traffic. These days only 2,500 tourists may enter each day and there are three set hikes sanctioned.
Book your flight to Peru here.
2. The Maldives
At just 8 metres above sea level the 1,192 islands that make up the Maldives are at severe risk of flooding. The Maldivian government is building a sea wall around Male and is purchasing land in other parts of the world for its citizens’ relocation. Book a cheap flight to the Maldives here.
1. Tuvalu, Polynesia
Courtesy of nesiatv via Instagram
At just 4,6 metres above sea level this little known Polynesian island will be the first to disappear as sea-levels rise in the coming years.
Book your flight to Polynesia to experience the beauty of these endangered islands here.