Australia & NZ
10 Places to See Before They Vanish
To plumb the depths of long-range climate change forecasts is to encounter a host of ominous, Hollywood-like, apocalyptic scenarios. The loss of the “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” was bitter but now the future looks much more dire, what with whole metropolises (Manhattan, Bangkok, London) and nations (Bangladesh, North Africa) at risk as a result of ocean swells, desertification and natural disasters.
It is not too late to turn back the tide, of course, but it will take significant political and civic will to prevent the extinction of this top ten.
Franz Josef Glacier
South Island, New Zealand
The anchor of UNESCO World Heritage Westland Tai Poutini National Park may well go the way of the Dodo if the status quo holds. If the science is precise, you have about a century to see Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere – a.k.a. Franz Josef Glacier.
Where to stay: Glenfern Villas Franz Josef
Great Barrier Reef
Coral Sea, Queensland, Australia
The paragon wonder of the natural world is famously visible from space but may well be invisible from the Whitsundays by 2030. Whether by acidification, pollution, cataclysmic weather systems or all of the above, the Great Barrier Reef is on notice.
Where to stay: Pullman Cairns International
How serene will La Serenissima be if Adriatic floods plunge the UNESCO World Heritage city to Atlantis-like depths? Pray a radical plan to stem the tide works in practice in 2014.
Where to stay: Bauer IL Palazzo Hotel Venice
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
Alberta, Canada and Montana, United States of America
They share a 9,000 km border, cosy diplomatic links and a gem of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Efforts to preserve the park’s fragile ice sheets need more ingenuity, however, than the successful movement to restore wild buffalo herds to the continent.
Where to stay: Hotel Le Germain Calgary
Former President, enviromental crusader and the “Mandela of the Maldives”, Mohamed Nasheed, put it best in 2012: “If carbon emissions continue at the rate they are climbing today, my country will be underwater in seven years.”
Where to stay: Constance Moofushi Resort South Ari Atoll
Israel, Jordan, West Bank
For those, bafflingly, still in need of proof that human activity affects the environment, consider this: when the Beatles broke up the Dead Sea was 25 m higher than it is now (so, too, incidentally, were the Beatles).
Where to stay: Holiday Inn Resort Dead Sea
Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, France, Italy, Monaco
No more ice on the summits of the Alps will all but obliterate a multi-billion Euro ski industry but, far less superficially, the fragile ecosystem of the continent’s über range.
Where to stay: Sacher Hotel Osterreichischer Hof Salzburg
Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
Santa Cruz Province, Argentina
Vast, mythical Patagonia looks far different than it did a century ago. If the pace of change endures and accelerates anew, the linchpin characteristic of UNESCO World Heritage Parque Nacional Los Glaciares will undoubtedly dissolve.
Where to stay: Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa
Belize Barrier Reef System
Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico to Islas de la Bahía, Honduras
Lifeless swaths of the 1,125 km-long Belize Barrier Reef System look like coral deserts and threaten what is one of the most diverse reef ecosystems in the world.
Where to stay: Coco Beach Resort San Pedro
Indian Ocean, Africa
Forget that insipid Hollywood cartoon. Madagascar in the flesh is three decades away, by some estimates, from a fatal deforestation.