If you love to travel, you probably have a bucket list of places you want to visit in your lifetime. But maybe it’s time to reprioritise your list; some places need to be seen sooner than others.
A new report by UNESCO says that many of the world’s most iconic sites in almost 30 countries are vulnerable to increasing temperatures, melting glaciers, rising seas, worsening droughts, and extreme weather conditions. For example, Easter Island’s ancient stone statues are at risk of being lost to the sea because of erosion ?
So check out these destinations, and book your travel, stat - before they disappear for good. Just remember to send us a postcard.
1. Venice, Italy
Credit: Pedro Szekely on Flickr
Famous for its romantic gondola rides through breathtaking waterways, the city of Venice, in Italy, has been sinking for centuries, but has gradually sped up to five times as fast.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia Illegal groundwater pumping in the nearby Siem Reap is causing some of these 12th century temples to sink.
Update (16 Jan 2019): Based on a recent report, Angkor Wat temples are safe from collapse. The groundwater pumping hadn't significantly destabilised the temples - for now.
[Plan your adventure with our 4D3N itinerary to Siem Reap!]
2. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Thanks to pollution and water temperature changes, more than half of the world’s biggest coral reef has disappeared over the last 30 years.
3. The Dead Sea, Jordan
Tourists from around the globe flock here to float in very salty water, but scientists say it’s gradually shrinking under the heat of the Middle Eastern sun.
4. Great Wall of China, China
Originally built to defend an empire, now 2,000 kilometers, or 30%, of the Great Wall of China has disappeared due to natural erosion and human damage.
5. Petra, Jordan
This half-built, half-carved into the rock archaeological site is receding due to wind, rain and constant touching of its walls by tourists.
6. Potosí, Bolivia
After centuries of mining activity, Potosí’s mountain is crumbling inside. In fact, the upper cone of the mountain collapsed in 2011.
7. Glacier National Park, U.S.
Now home to only 25 glaciers (six times less than what it was a century ago), scientists are predicting that the park's largest glaciers will vanish by 2020 or 2030.
This slice of heaven has seen an incredible amount of coral disappear and now beach erosion threatens to fully submerge Seychelles in 50 to 100 years’ time.
9. Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal is a symbol of undying love, but a look at this white marbled mausoleum may soon be restricted to postcards, with authorities considering closing it to off the public following years of mass tourism and pollution.
10. Le Mont-Saint-Michel, France
Le Mont-Saint-Michel is a tiny islet with a resident population of about 50, but it falls victim to its own popularity and overcrowding, which has led UNESCO to put it in its list of sites in danger.
11. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
More than 80% of the ice cap on Africa’s highest mountain has disappeared since the early 1900s - and scientists are predicting it will disappear completely by 2033.
12. Nan Madol, Micronesia
Constructed between 1200 and 1500 AD, these 99 artificial basalt and coral reef islets containing tombs, temples, and stone palaces are in danger due to the unchecked growth of mangroves.
13. East Rennell, Solomon Islands
East Rennell in the Solomon Islands is the largest raised coral atoll in the world and its dense forest has a canopy averaging 20 metres in height, but logging activities is putting this pristine paradise at risk of disappearing.
14. Atsinanana, Madagascar
Lemur poaching and illegal logging has placed the Atsinanana Rainforest in Madagascar on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger.
Which location would you like to visit before it potentially disappears forever?