before they catch the ‘Climate Change’ epidemic
Do you like to travel? Then you will LOVE these locales from around the world. And if you really like to travel, you will HATE what is happening there. Here is a GT curated list of breathtaking locations from across the globe, threatened by climate change.
THE STATUE OF LIBERTY
If you have watched enough movies of the sci-fi/doomsday genre, you would know that calamity always strikes famous places. The Statue of Liberty, on Liberty Island in New York City, is about as famous as it gets. You might want to get on the next plane to the US because this lovely lady is going down. Sea levels in the mid-Atlantic are expected to rise by at least 3.5 feet over the next 100 years. Not worried, are we? Nor are the North Americans, going by their cavalier attitude towards the CC phenomenon. When Hurricane Sandy hit New York last year, Liberty Island and Ellis Island went under and the Statue of Liberty was shut down for eight months.
MONARCH BUTTERFLY BIOSPHERE RESERVE, MICHOACÁN, MEXICO
Billions of Monarch butterflies come to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve each winter, from as far away as the Canadian border. Why? Because Mexico is warm and because the Reserve houses the oyamel fir trees that the butterflies love so much. So what’s the problem? Deforestation of Mexican reserves and increased pesticide use in the US is a life-threatening problem. Add to that, severe weather along the Monarch’s migration route due to a warm new world. Plus, the oyamel firs just cannot take the heat anymore and are dying. To further compound problems for these gossamer flies, the Monarchs depend on temperature signals to know when to fly north again, which, you guessed it, will be difficult once climate change alters global temperatures.
The Everglades in sunny Florida are 734 square miles of flooded grassland, cypress swamp, mangroves, pine forest, and tropical hardwoods. But the agriculture industry and residents of South Florida seem to have completely missed the point. Their thirst for fresh water has shrunk the Everglades to half its size in just 50 years. And of course, the advent of Climate Change intensifies the crisis. Climate models predict lesser rainfall and hotter temperature for the Glades. And as sea levels climb by 1.5 meters by 2060, as is being predicted, these swampy wetlands are going to dry up and fall into the sea. Better speed boat it over while you still can.
With 16 million visitors in 2013, no one is surprised that TIME magazine called Bangkok the world’s No 1 tourist spot. With the best food, awesome nightlife, breathtaking architecture and brilliant cultural events, you thought you could plan your Bangkok trip anytime. Beware. As early as 2030, Bangkok would be gone forever. Powerful typhoons and rising seas, say the researchers at Asian Institute of Technology, would be responsible. There is also the fear of droughts. Thai scientists fear that Climate Change could dry up the rice bowl of Asia.
INDIRA POINT, GREATER NICOBAR ISLANDS
Islands have it bad. The world’s land ice is melting and sea levels have already risen 6 to 8 inches in the last 100 years. Since 2002, Antarctica has been losing 100 cubic kilometres of ice , every year. And by 2100, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that sea levels will rise by as much as 20 inches. So we fear for our famed and beautiful Andaman and Nicobar islands in India. Indira Point, is the southernmost tip of the Indian territory. A 35 meter high cast iron lighthouse marks this point. It is an important landmark on the international shipping lane and the 2004 tsunami has already damaged this lighthouse, making the sea move permanently inland.
REPUBLIC OF MALDIVES
Here’s another island that is soaring in popularity but sinking in reality. The highest parts of the 1,100 islands and atolls, that make this picturesque island chain in the Indian Ocean, rise about 8 feet above sea level. This means 400,000 people are in extreme danger from the storm surges and rising seas. And humans are making things worse by mining the Maldivian islands for sand and coral.
GREAT BARRIER REEF, AUSTRALIA
Thirty four million hectares of coral reef, visible even from space. But, pretty soon, you wont be able to get a close up view. The increased carbon dioxide we are emitting into the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, which makes it more acidic. This in turn bleaches coral. And higher ocean temperatures are not helping. If climate change wasn’t playing villain enough, there is the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to fill up the gap. His approval of a massive dredging project to expand a coal port just outside of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is going to result in lots of silt being dumped on the fragile corals. And oh, the coal project is going to mean more carbon in the air, 70 million tonnes more, to be precise. Go get a photograph of the Reef, while you still can.
DEATH VALLEY, CALIFORNIA
This is not really the most ideal tourist spot as is. Home to the highest temperatures on the planet, flash floods, sand storms, it is still sought after by adventure junkies. And guess what? Climate change is going to make matters worse! Even a slight rise in global temperature is going to drive all species to extinction, cause even reduced precipitation and dry up already sparse lakes and water bodies. There are more thunderstorms headed this way too. Looks like the death valley is going to live upto its name.