Friday, November 22, 2013

Places to See Before They are Gone FOREVER

When reading the title of this post you have to say forever like the kid form The Sandlot...FOR-EV-ER, FOR-EV-ER, FOR-EV-ER...if you don't know what I'm talking about you have to youtube it! Anyway, I found this article from Yahoo! Travel about worldly sights to see before they are gone for good. Its quite the list and spans the whole world! I hope to make it to some of these places some day.

The Maldives
Why to go now: The Maldives is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean and is the lowest country on the planet with an average elevation of five feet above sea level. Made up of thousands of coral islands and reefs spread over nearly 56,000 square miles, this surfing and diving paradise is naturally more ocean than land. But if sea levels continue to rise due to climate change, the Maldives may end up completely submerged within 100 years.
 {Photo: Steve Allen / Getty Images, source}

Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Québec
Why to go now: An idyllic island getaway in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Îles-de-la-Madeleine's white sand beaches and sandstone cliffs are steadily eroding. Strong winds have always been part of life on the islands, and they make for notable kitesurfing. But Canadian Geographic reported last year that the high concentration of sea ice currently shielding the archipelago's shores from destructive storms is disappearing. Climate researchers estimate the protective ice will be gone sometime between 2050 and 2090. Currently, anywhere from four to 43 inches of coast are lost each year and intense storms can destroy up to three feet along certain cliffs.

The Mongolian Steppe
Why to go now: Known for its vast grassland plains surrounded by mountains and desert, Mongolia is the most sparsely populated independent country in the world. But the legendary steppe of Genghis and Kublai Khan will not remain untrammeled for long. Mineral exploration is threatening the country's age-old nomadic way of life. Fueled by a mining boom, Mongolia's economy grew at a record 17.5 percent in 2011. According to Citigroup Global Markets, it will continue to grow at an average of 9.7 percent, the fastest in the world, through 2030. That means the great wide open spaces of Mongolia are shrinking at an ever faster pace.

The Karnali River, Nepal
Why to go now: Originating on the Tibetan plateau and cutting through the Himalayas to India, the 315-mile Karnali is Nepal's longest, largest and wildest river. For serious floaters, it's also one of the planet's premier rivers for multiday rafting trips, featuring clear water, consistent flow and big Class V rapids. Unfortunately, the abundant water and fast flow make the river a prime prospect for hydropower development. The Nepali government is seeking investors and financiers for a large dam project on the Upper Karnali. If built, the dam would generate electricity for export to China and India at the expense of world-class whitewater.

{Photo: Getty Images, source}
The Galápagos Islands
Why to go now: The sheer number of endemic species inhabiting the Galápagos Islands, an archipelago 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador, inspired Charles Darwin to formulate his evolutionary theories and write “On the Origin of Species.” Many of the species that live on these actively volcanic islands are found no place else on Earth, including marine iguanas and giant tortoises. More than 100,000 tourists visit the Galápagos annually, resulting in the introduction of invasive species like pigs (smuggled in by workers) and rats (stowed away on boats) and landing the destination on the World Heritage Site Danger List from 2007 to 2010. Environmentalists warn that the islands aren't yet in the clear. Tourism continues to rise 12 percent year over year with the infrastructure alone threatening to forever alter the once isolated islands.

The Ecuadorean Amazon
Why to go now: Deep in the jungle at the headwaters of the Amazon lives one of the most isolated ethnic groups in the world. The Huaorani, an indigenous people who've only been in contact with the so-called civilized world since the mid-twentieth century, harvest jungle fruits and hunt in much the same way as they presumably have for thousands of years. And they do it through virgin forest. Unfortunately, oil interests in the region have put their way of life, and the pristine environment, at risk. The government of Ecuador originally asked that the international community raise funds to offset potential oil revenues – an effort to justify keeping oil development out of the Amazon that was considered tantamount to blackmail. Nevertheless, development is coming and it's coming fast – bad news for both the Huaorani and the myriad birds and other animals that call the region home.

Glacier National Park
Why to go now: In 1850, Montana's Glacier National Park had 150 glaciers, a number that has dwindled to just 25 today. Glacier recession models predict that in about 15 years, none will remain. And while the park is famous for retaining nearly all of its native plant and animal species, including the grizzly bear, the ecosystem could change dramatically when the glacier-fed cold water is gone. The glaciers — arguably the park's chief tourist draw — will be gone, and, of course, the park's own name will become a misnomer.

{Photo: Getty Images, source}

The Athabasca Glacier, Canada
Why to go now: Alberta's iconic Athabasca Glacier is the most visited glacier in North America, thanks to a convenient location just off Highway 93 between Banff and Jasper. It dramatically spills down from the Columbia Ice Field, the largest ice field in the Canadian Rockies. Athabasca's visibility and popularity make its rapid recession all the more distressing. The glacier has been melting for about the last 125 years, losing half its volume and receding nearly one mile. It's currently receding at a rate of 6.6 to 9.8 feet a year.

The Dead Sea
Why to go now: One of the saltiest bodies of water on Earth, the Dead Sea is the world's original health resort. Herod the Great and Cleopatra allegedly took dips in the mineral-rich waters, which have been said to relieve ailments ranging from psoriasis to osteoarthritis. In the past four decades though, the lake has shrunk by 30 percent and sunk 80 feet. The culprits? Surrounding countries tapping the River Jordan, which is the Dead Sea's sole water source. At the current rate, experts predict the Dead Sea will be gone within 50 years.

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