If you’re creating a bucket list of places to visit around the world, this article will help you decide which regions to focus on. A host of factors, such as global warming, subsequent environmental catastrophes and 21st-century development are threatening to spoil and, worse still, wipe out some of our world’s most historic and spectacular destinations. Some islands and cities are destined to be cut off from civilization or be destroyed altogether within a matter of decades. Other cities are running the risk of losing their identity as they try to keep pace with the ever-changing popular culture. This article is designed to a shine a spotlight on the islands and cities you need to discover sooner rather than later before the damage is done.
The Maldives – This breath-taking honeymoon destination is at a significant risk of extinction. Situated just eight meters above sea level, all 1,192 islands are in grave danger of being destroyed by severe flooding as water levels rise in the years to come. The country’s capital, Malé, is being protected by the Maldivian government attempting to build a permanent seawall. However, the remaining islands are almost certain to disappear. The government is already acquiring land in other parts of the world in a bid to relocate the Maldivians affected. Now is the perfect opportunity to experience the unspoiled beauty of the Maldives before these islands disappear into the history books.
Agra, India – The jewel in the crown of Muslim architecture sits in the heart of Agra. The Taj Mahal, built as a majestic tribute to an Emperor’s dead wife, is suffering from India’s poor air quality. Although Agra is only the 24th most populous city in India, the region experiences regular air pollution that ranks even worse than the poor air quality in China’s Beijing. The poor air quality has resulted in a degradation of the Taj Mahal’s white marble structure. Combine the air pollution with the city’s high temperatures and tourist traffic and it’s hard not to see the Taj Mahal has to close for restoration in the short-to-medium term. Make sure you go see it before the building’s original 17th-century structural integrity is permanently altered.
Las Vegas, USA – In some people’s eyes, the essence of Las Vegas is on the verge of dying out. It’s been accused of having an identity crisis, and when you see overpriced nightclubs frothing at the mouth over a faceless electronic dance DJ performing while pining for the good old days of the Rat Pack, it’s hard to argue. Nevertheless, for a real Las Vegas experience, you should spend at least one night in the downtown area. It’s where the city’s casino scene all began. Hotel rooms are cheaper during the week, so if you’re looking to visit Vegas on a tight budget, you should consider a Monday-to-Friday visit.
Venice, Italy – There’s no doubt that Venice has become one of the most romantic destinations on the planet. This quintessentially Italian floating city has been on the verge of sinking for many centuries. Worryingly, scientists have been able to prove that significant flooding has accelerated the process five times quicker than expected. Explore the city’s canals by gondola and share breakfast overlooking the grandeur of St. Mark’s Square. It’s hard to accept that Venice will someday soon go the same way of Atlantis.
Tuvalu, Polynesia – Similar to the Maldives, Tuvalu is a tiny, unspoiled Polynesian island that’s even more endangered than the Maldivians. Situated less than five meters above sea level, this island is set to become the first nation to be swallowed up by the ocean as sea levels continue to rise. While many parts of the island are at an increased risk of flooding, the island’s entrenched food crops, such as taro, coconut and pulaka, could also be destroyed, causing a significant risk for civilization here. Tourism is not a main economic driver here, which is unsurprising given its remote location between Hawaii and Australia. Nevertheless, it’s an area of natural beauty, with reefs, lagoons and uninhabited islets to explore.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Caribbean – This island remains one of the most archetypal Caribbean holiday destinations on the planet. It boasts an exceptionally laid-back pace of life, majestic white beaches and coral reefs, which are perfect for adventurous swimmers. With a carefree, safe environment to explore, you’d be forgiven for wondering what the catch is. Unfortunately, there is a rather big one on the horizon. The island is getting a new multimillion-dollar international airport, increasing air capacity for tourists by as much as 400 percent. Its port is also undergoing radical improvements to enable the island to entertain cruise ships. It’s, therefore, important to come and sample St. Vincent before it becomes too commercialized and you can’t move for condos.
It’s an unfortunate fact of life that things change. Whether that’s down to climate change, tourism or technological developments, we can’t help the way the world is evolving. What you can control is visiting these six endangered cities and islands and enjoying them the way they should be.