It is said that climate change is occurring at a faster rate than previously predicted. Even the most modest shifts in global temperatures are proving to have fundamental effects on the places we love around the world. From the melting of icecaps, flooding, heatwaves to droughts, climate change is manifesting itself in a variety of ways that will soon see to the disappearance or irreversible devastation of some of the world’s most incredible natural and man-made sites.

I realise that there is a certain amount of irony in encouraging people to travel far to visit these threatened places, but I strongly believe the more people who see the tangible affects of climate change, the more likely we are to not only spread the word on this important matter, but take a practical and serious stand to combat it.

Here are just 8 places that are in urgent threat of ruin by climate change that you need to see before they disappear or are damaged for good.

 

1. Franz Josef Glacier

© Travelling Tam

The Franz Josef Glacier is one of the steepest glaciers in New Zealand, located in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast of the countries South Island.

Research has shown that it is one of the fastest moving glaciers, shifting an incredible average 50cm a day. Although this is great for tourism as new ice caves, crevasses and tunnels are exposed regularly, it has meant that since the late 1880s the glacier has retreated around 3km in total. Glaciers retreat and grow as part of their natural cycle, but Franz Josef has not seen a significant growth in quite some time.

The effects of this melting is also leading to rockfalls, collapsing the surrounding mountain crevasse.

Compare this picture below with the one above which I took when I visited in 2015, to see the drastic impact of global warming on this incredible natural wonder.

© Anthony Cramp

2. Venice

Venice, the capital of the Veneto region in Italy, is one of the most magical and unique cities in the world. Situated across an incredible 118 small islands, the city is separated by an intricate network of canals, yet joined together by over 400 bridges.

Venice unfortunately has a long history of sinking (the earliest records being from the Middle Ages) mainly due to the unstable salt-marsh terrain it was built on and the wooden foundations of buildings slowly collapsing due to their submersion in salt water. However, it is now even more threatened due to rising sea levels which is leading to Venice experiencing extreme flooding more than 60 days a year.

Much of the city is collapsing and urgent defence barriers are needed in order to preserve this history-rich city. It is sad that due to corruption and scandals, the billions of Euros that have been raised are nowhere near being channelled quickly or efficiently enough to protect it.

© Travelling Tam

3. The Amazon

The Amazon rainforest covers over 2 million square miles across nine nations including Brazil, Peru, Bolivia and Guatemala. It incredibly produces over 20% of the world’s oxygen but droughts due to global warming are seeing trees dying in their masses. To put it into perspective, a recent study has predicted that even a 4°C rise in the global climate could destroy up to a crazy 85% of the rainforest.

Not only is the death of so many trees affecting the very air we breath, it is destroying the habitats and therefore threatening the lives of the 10 million different species that live there.

© Travelling Tam

4. The Maldives

Lying South West of India and Sri Lanka, the Republic of Maldives are a collection of paradise Islands scattered across the Arabian Sea. The country holds the title of not only the most geographically dispersed Sovereign State but also the lowest lying in the world, at only an average 1.3 metres above sea level.

As a consequence of this, The Maldives are ranked as the third most endangered nation because of flooding from the effects of climate change and is at huge risk of being submerged under water for good.

Global warming fuelled natural phenomenons such as El Nino are also causing coral bleaching. More recently in 2016, the water temperature was recorded at an all time high of 31 degrees, sadly leading to the death of 95% of the corals around many of the Maldive islands.

5. The Chan Chan Archaeological Zone

This archaeological site is the remains of the largest capital city of the ancient Chimu Kingdom, located in Peru, 5 kilometres west of Trujillo. It is much lesser known than the ancient cities of Machu Picchu or Cuzco.

It is one of the most important pre-Hispanic earthen architecture cities in the Americas. However in a recent UNESCO report, changes in natural cycles such as precipitation, drought and humidity will see the fragile earthen fabric of this archaeological site crumbling into ruins. The conservation of man-made heritage sites like this one will become more and more difficult with the increasing frequency of climate extremes.

 

                                                Chan Chan Archaeological Zone (Peru) via Wikipedia

6. Ethiopia

The latest report by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) outlined that the African continent would be the most affected of all. The continent will see significant rises in temperatures, tropical storms such as cyclones and decreases in precipitation.

Ethiopia is Africa’s most populated landlocked country with 85% of this population said to be small-scale farmers. They will bear the brunt first hand and consequently famine caused by failed crops, dying cattle and water shortages unless drastic action and adaptations can be implemented.

 

7. Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia is the world’s largest reef system stretching over 2,300km. Incredibly, you can even see it from space. The reef is one of the most celebrated ecosystems on the planet and has been named one of the seven wonders of the world. However due to rising sea temperatures, it is experiencing the biggest prolonged crisis in history – bleaching.

Bleaching is a stress reaction whereby corals expel the algae that they live on, causing them to turn completely ghost-white and as a result often die. Coral is a vital part of our oceans so with their destruction comes not only the disruption of the fish and sea creatures that eat or take shelter in it, but the animals further down the chain too, such as birds and even humans who rely on the reefs for income and food.

8. The Alps

Just as Glaciers all over the world are melting, the Alps, Europe’s highest and most extensive mountain range is finding its pretty snow-capped peaks are dissolving too.

The Alps are particularly affected as temperatures here have risen twice the global average with an additional 2°C increase predicted in the next 40 years. There is a man-made reason for this unusual trend though; a high rate of energy usage in the area, tourism and transport pollution is heftily contributing to the regions climate crisis.

Once the ice in the Alps has melted, many of the mountains will experience rockfalls, landslides and mudslides. So best get your skis and get on that public train before some of the best snow in Europe is gone.

 

Time is ticking! Start planning now and let’s enjoy our beautiful planet while we can.