How would you react if I told you that some of your most cherished holiday destinations are melting due to climate change and our poignant careless disregard? With disbelief? Maybe nostalgia?
Either way, it’s an inevitable future we approach head-on, with rising sea levels and eroding structures. Enter a realm of acceptance (if you will), and read ahead.
Here are five cultural hotspots to visit that people a few decades from now won’t see in all their glory:
1. Venice, Italy
It absolutely breaks my heart to include this beautiful city on the list, but it’s true. Venice is sinking with time. To make it worse, floods in the last few years have not helped matters.
The year 2100 has been predicted as Venice’s last. Better get your gondola ride in soon!
2. Madagascar Island
Remember the scene where Alex (the lion – as you should know) called for help by setting a bunch of logs on fire? Well, this time, it’s not Alex, but more significantly, the island itself that screams for some salvation.
Due to mass deforestation, forest fires and warming sea temperatures, the rich marine population, coastal communities and coral reef systems are all in danger. And this one’s on us. In the name of economic growth, we plundered at its wildlife and booty like pirates.
Yes, Maldives is an entire nation and as surreal as it is to imagine a whole community underwater, it is a day that people are preparing for. As CNN reports, the President of Maldives has said that the government will start buying lands in other countries (e.g. India) for its citizens in the future, rather than risk leaving them refugees “if the worst happens.”
The root cause here is global warming which continues to melt ice caps and raise sea levels. A few scientists are still hopeful for the world’s lowest nation.
4. Taj Mahal, Delhi
Who would have thought that there’d be a day where one of the seven wonders would succumb to erosion? Through the years, this mausoleum masterpiece has stood strong as a cultural symbol, but air pollution is chipping away at its dignity bit by bit.
There have been attempts to stop the damage, but all to no avail. It’s only a matter of time before it closes to public viewing. You would need to hurry to get your last look!
5. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The reef boasts exotic sea life and vibrant corals – a diver’s dream. The Great Barrier Reef is unlikely to evolve quickly enough to survive the level of climate change predicted and so, the luster of this national icon might be gone in a matter of decades. Immediate intervention is required if things are going to improve.
This is only the tip of this rapidly melting iceberg: World heritage sites in Africa, Europe, Middle East and America are all in danger of being altered by climate change.
So, this is for all my fellow travellers:
Time is running out, as we stand still, waiting for the day we regret standing when there was still time. It’s time to get eco-conscious.