Some of the most gorgeous places in the world make a huge impact on visitors because of their natural beauty. Unfortunately, many of these wonders are looking a little different from their original majesty lately. Most of this is due to climate change. Colors are changing, temperatures and sea levels are rising, and the homes of many different animals are becoming no longer habitable.
While lots of natural tourist attractions are still nice to visit (for now), others are slowly but surely deteriorating. Below is a list of a few of the beloved places that are going through some changes due to global warming.
10 The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the world's biggest coral reef system with tons of biodiversity. The reef is so big, it can be viewed from space! With climate change making the temperature of the ocean hotter, the reef is now experiencing lots of coral bleaching. This bleaching increases the chances of disease impacting the billions of organisms living there.
With mass bleaching events becoming more and more frequent, it's becoming harder and harder for the corals to keep up. The United Nations even published a draft decision in 2017 acknowledging that the future of the Great Barrier Reef is at risk.
9 Everglades National Park
The Everglades in Florida, USA provide a ton of natural resources in addition to their beautiful views. While the history that surrounds the Everglades is fascinating and makes the park a great tourist location, various effects of climate change are impacting the things that make the Everglades great.
For instance, now that sea levels are rising, the groundwater of the Everglades is becoming saltier and, therefore, no longer habitable for the plants that once lived there. In addition, the Cape Sable and Saline Glades areas are seeing erosion and habitat changes due to the increase of high tides and tropical storms.
8 Venice, Italy
Everyone dreams of visiting Venice, Italy, where small, colorful buildings contrast beautifully against the bright blue harbor. However, the whole town is estimated to be completely underwater within the century.
Rising sea levels are bringing more and more floods to the people of Venice, and in October of 2018, the town saw its worst flood since the 1960s. The flood was so bad that it resulted in 17 deaths and destroyed many historical landmarks. Unfortunately, floods are predicted to become more and more of a frequent occurrence as time goes on. Venice has been working on a system of flood gates to help protect the town.
7 The Maldives
The Maldives has become a dream vacation destination for many due to the beautiful views and relaxing environment. Unfortunately, scientists predict that the area will soon be uninhabitable for humans within decades. The rising sea level is set to result in water flooding the land that will also overpower any source of freshwater for humans to drink.
And just like Venice, is it estimated that the Maldives will be completely underwater in less than a century. So much for a relaxing vacay! The Maldivian government is said to be attempting to make enough man-made islands for residents to evacuate to if needed.
6 Easter Island
Rapa Nui, also popularly known as "Easter Island," has been a fun destination for tourists due to the mysterious statues with unknown origins that reside there. In fact, tourists coming to the island is one of the biggest contributors to the livelihoods and incomes of the small population that actually live on the island.
According to the United Nations, however, the coastline—and the statues that stand there—are likely to eventually be eroded due to the rising sea level. The tide may become so tall and powerful that it could completely knock the statues over.
5 Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is home to so many cool beaches that even a song was written about one. (Copacabana, anyone?) If temperatures rise a mere 3 degrees Celsius, however, it will result in rising sea levels that would completely envelop their beautiful beaches.
The ocean would also consume nearby neighborhoods, such as Barra de Tijuca, home to 174,000 people and where the 2016 Olympics were hosted. According to climate change's current trajectory, the temperature will have risen those three degrees that seal the faith of Rio de Janeiro by 2100.
4 Cape Floral Region
The Cape Floral Region in South Africa is home to Table Mountain, Garden Route National Parks, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, and never-ending flowers. These flowers are not only breathtaking but also rare. According to National Geographic, 30% of the types of flowers there cannot be located anywhere else in the entire world.
Rising temperatures, however, put these beautiful sights at risk. The United Nations predicts frequent fires to affect the area as the climate heats up, as well as make the region uninhabitable for the local birds. Birds like the orange-breasted sunbird and the Cape sugarbird will no longer be able to pollinate the flowers, contributing even more destruction to the area.
3 Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park in Montana, USA contains 39 distinct glaciers, each with their own name. Of course, climate change is contributing to the destruction of these glaciers, and all of them are significantly smaller than they were in the 1960s. Some glaciers have even melted to a size that's 85% smaller than they were initially.
Glaciers not only in Montana but all over the world are decreasing at a rapid rate. In addition, the species that live there are being impacted as the temperature affects certain things about their habitats, such as altering water volume and temperature.
2 The Dead Sea
The cultural and historical significance of the Dead Sea is important to many. Unfortunately, studies show that sea levels are decreasing approximately four feet per year. While some of this is due to human intervention, the hotter temperatures that come with global warming certainly aren't helping sustain the sea.
Scientists say the evaporation of water they are seeing now is reminiscent to a drought that they believe happened thousands of years ago, where the Dead Sea almost dried up entirely. If temperatures continue to rise in the present day, we might see the same kind of drought—except, this time, the Dead Sea has the potential to reach the point of no return.
1 Belize Barrier Reef
Just like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Belize Barrier Reef is slowly but surely being destroyed due to coral bleaching. The Belize Barrier Reef is the largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere, and many beloved endangered marine species—such as turtles and manatees—live there.
But the more the temperature rises, the more organisms that keep coral alive (as well as give them their pretty color that attract many tourists) are killed. With not enough organisms left to sustain the amount of coral needed for life, the home of already at-risk animals will be made uninhabitable.