Earth is home to incredibly beautiful
But because of climate change and human carelessness, some of
them are in danger of disappearing in the next 100 years – or
From Patagonia’s glaciers to Africa’s Congo Basin, these
threatened natural wonders and man-made historic sites span the
Click through the slideshow above to see
where you should visit sooner rather than later.
Talia Avakian contributed
to an earlier version of this article.
Maya Bay, Thailand
Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant
Conservation (DNP) announced that its famous Maya Bay will be
indefinitely closed to tourists.
Known for its clear turquoise waters, white sand, and lush,
towering cliffs, the bay served as a filming location for the
2000 movie, “The Beach,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Since the film’s release, Maya Bay has seen a massive influx of
tourism – often up to 5,000 visitors a day, DNP director Songtam
Suksawang said. According to Suksawang, this unending wave of
travelers has “seriously damaged” the bay’s
ecological system, which will now need time to recover, The
Belize Barrier Reef System, Belize
The Belize Barrier Reef System was added to the UNESCO List of
World Heritage in Danger in 2009. It’s the
barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, according to
The Outer Banks, North Carolina
The shores of North Carolina’s Outer Banks are eroding the land
they border, putting landmarks such as the Cape Hatteras
Lighthouse – which dates back to 1870 – in danger.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
The picturesque snow that tops Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania may
not be there much longer. Between the years of 1912 and 2007,
Kilimanjaro’s ice sheet already shrunk by a whopping 85%.
A popular destination for honeymooners or paradise-seekers, the
islands of the Seychelles – located in the Indian Ocean off the
coast of Madagascar – are vanishing because of beach erosion.
They’re in danger of completely disappearing in the next 50 to
Glacier National Park, Montana
The number of glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park has
decreased to fewer than 25 from 150. In 15 years there may be
The Mirador Basin and Tikal National Park, Guatemala
The Mirador Basin and Tikal National Park in Guatemala are home
to the mysterious ruins of Mayan civilization. Illegal looting
and forest burning, however, may destroy this piece of history.
The Sundarbans, India and Bangladesh
The Sundarbans contain close to 4,000 miles of water and land in
the Ganges Delta. They’re home to the largest area of mangrove
forests in the world. These forests provide a refuge for a number
of endangered species, like tigers. Deforestation, pollution, and
a strong dependence on fossil fuels are causing sea levels to
rise rapidly in the area, which has led to the erosion of
Patagonia’s glaciers, Argentina
Patagonia’s glaciers make for one of the most beautiful tourist
attractions in the world, but less rainfall and higher
temperatures are causing these wonders to shrink.
Zahara de la Sierra, Spain
A province of Cádiz nestled in the mountains of Andalusia in
southern Spain, Zahara de la Sierra is losing its wildlife and
greenery because of a rise in temperature and a drop in rainfall
in recent years.
Madagascar’s forests are predicted to exist for only another 35
years because of a multitude of fires and mass deforestation.
The Huffington Post
Get your gondola ride in soon, because Venice has been sinking
for a number of years, and is showing no signs of stopping. More
and more severe floods in recent years are also contributing to
the disappearance of the city of canals.
Machu Picchu, Peru
The ruins of the Incan Empire attract millions of tourists per
year, far exceeding the limit of 2,500 visitors per day that was
originally set by UNESCO and Peru. Many believe that this, along
with natural landslides and erosion, could cause the ruins to
collapse, unless more regulations are put in place.
Source: Peruvian Times,
The Galapagos Islands
A combination of too many tourists and foreign species that don’t
belong is threatening the ecosystem and unique native species of
the Galapagos Islands, a group of islands off the coast of
The Weather Channel
The Congo Basin, Africa
Africa’s Congo Basin, the world’s second-largest rainforest, is
also one of the world’s most biodiverse areas, with over 10,000
plant species, 1,000 bird species, and 400 mammal species.
However, the United Nations predicts that two-thirds of its
forest, including its plants and wildlife, may be completely gone
The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea, which borders Jordan and Israel, has sunk 80 feet
and disappeared by a third in the past 40 years. As long as
countries around the sea continue to use water from the River
Jordan (the only place the Dead Sea draws its water from), the
sea could be completely gone in 50 years.
The Florida Everglades
The Florida Everglades have been referred to as the most
threatened park in the US. Too much water, new species, and urban
development are all part of the problem.
Florida Museum of Natural History
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Native to California’s Mojave Desert, Joshua trees are both
unique and intriguing. Unfortunately, though, due to the severe
droughts the state has suffered this past year, the trees are in
desperate need of water. Only one inch of rain has fallen in the
Mojave in the past seven months. If conditions don’t improve
soon, the trees won’t be able to reproduce.
The Alps, Europe
Bad news for hikers and winter sports fans: Climate change has a
strong effect on the Alps because they’re at a lower altitude
than other mountain ranges, such as the Rockies. Every year, the
European mountain range loses around 3% of glacial ice, which
means that by 2050 there might not be any more glaciers.
Sitting in the Pacific Ocean between between Australia and
Hawaii, Tuvalu is a tiny Polynesian nation made up of nine
islands. The islands are in danger of being engulfed by the water
that surrounds them, because they only rise about 15 feet out of
the sea to begin with.
The Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal is one of the most iconic buildings in the world,
but some experts worry that the site could collapse because of
erosion and pollution.
The Wall Street Journal
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The world’s largest coral reef, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef,
has decreased by more than half its size because of rising
temperatures in the past 30 years. Coral bleaching thanks to acid
pollution is another concern, leading scientists to predict that
the reefs could be completely gone by 2030.
The Pyramids, Egypt
Egypt’s pyramids and Great Sphinx are facing erosion from
pollution. As sewage is weakening the plates they stand on, there
are concerns that the pollution may eventually lead to their
The Amazon, Brazil
At an impressive 2.1 million square miles, Brazil’s Amazon is the
largest rainforest in the world. It’s home to the world’s most
diverse species, but expansion of agriculture could lead to the
destruction of the rainforest.
The Great Wall of China
The largest man-made structure in the world, the Great Wall of
China has survived for over 2,000 years as a favorite must-see
destination, but recent over-farming has led to nearly two-thirds
of the wall having already been damaged or destroyed. The wall
could be reduced to ruins by erosion in as little as 20 years.
The Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, is slowly
sinking because of climate change. Scientists predict that within
100 years, it will be completely submerged.
Source: BBC News
Mosques of Timbuktu, Mali
Built mainly out of mud, the mosques of Timbuktu date back to the
14th-16th centuries, and are a UNESCO World Heritage site. But no
amount of protection can shield them from the temperature and
rainfall increases that threaten to destroy them.
Big Sur, California
Big Sur in California is known for offering up-close whale
watching, but recent droughts and wildfires are significantly
harming the coastal region, and leading to fewer sightings of the
mammals each year.
Chan Chan Archaeological Zone, Peru
Chan Chan was the capital city of the Chimu
Kingdom, which ruled in Peru pre Incas.
Thanks to illegal farming in the
area, as well as extreme weather, the ancient city is in
danger of destruction. It was added to UNESCO’s List of
World Heritage in Danger in 1986.
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