Travel diaries: Five places you must visit before they disappear

  • Priyanka Sahoo, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 11, 2015 10:01 IST

As the surface temperature of our beloved planet increases gradually, some of the most beautiful locations are under the imminent threat of disappearance. We bring you a list of places you must visit before melting glaciers; rising sea or erratic weather get the better of them.

1) Alps

(All photos: Shutterstock)

This enormous mountain range spread across eight European countries including Switzerland and Italy, was once considered the ultimate tourist destination for adventure seekers and honeymooners alike. The extensive winter sports in the mountains have suffered owing to the receding snow line. Ski resorts are desperately trying to adapt to climate changes with some trying to modify the services offered.

Some have tried to cover the glaciers with sheets of plastic fleece and wool to keep the snow from melting. Given the vastness of the region, that may not be the most sustainable option. Scientists studying climate change fear that most of the glaciers might be gone by the year 2030.

2) Great Barrier Reef

It is the only living thing on earth visible from space. Stretching over 2300km, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system in the world. Apart from about 400 corals, the reef is home to coral sponges, molluscs, rays, dolphins, over 1500 species of tropical fish, more than 200 types of birds, around 20 types of reptiles including sea turtles and giant clams over 120-years-old, according to

From ski diving to scuba diving to snorkelling, there are many ways through which you can live the experience. World's most beautiful marine ecosystem could be gone within the next four decades unless carbon emissions are reduced, said the director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland in a research published in 2011.

3) Maldives

Closer to home, Maldives is the most favourite vacation destination of Indians. Be it lazing around on a tranquil beach or diving into the sea for a snorkelling experience, you get it all in the neighbouring island nation. However, like many other similar destinations, Maldives is under the imminent threat of submergence due to rising sea levels. While locals are artificially raising some areas, in 2009 the country's government set up a fund to buy land for refuge.

4) Venice

The beautiful floating city has been on the travel list of all who love to travel. Steering through this city of love on a gondola with your special one has often been described as the most romantic experience. The Italian city has often flooded when the water levels rose but the occurrence has multiplied over the years.

According to travel website, while St. Mark's Square had flooded only seven times in 1900, it had happened 99 times in 1996. In 2014, the square had flooded about 60 times, said a local in an interview to the BBC. The Italian government has been working a project, known as the Moses project, to draw barriers around the city to save it from flooding. The project which was due to be completed by 2014 has now been delayed till 2017. Critics say that the project might be outdated already.

5) Majuli

Canvassed in green fields and bamboo groves, Majuli, one of world's largest river islands, is tucked in a corner in northeast India. Ferry your way from Assam's mainland to reach this island in Brahmaputra River.

While the people of Majuli depend on the river for sustenance, climate change has posed a threat to this beautiful island. As the water in Brahmputra swells unpredictably, Majuli's land is gradually getting eroded. This land of a rich cultural heritage and a colourful tradition may soon be lost to erratic climate.

Global warming also threatens to wipe some species of flora and fauna from the face of the earth. Some of the flora and fauna listed below may even be gone forever within the next couple of decades:
*Polar bear: The loss of sea ice habitat is the biggest threat facing polar bears that thrive on the fast-melting arctic ice
*Sea turtle: Climate change has had an impact on the nesting sites of sea turtles, most species of which are already endangered
*Coral reef: High carbon dioxide emissions have changed the acidity of water. This change in ocean chemistry has put coral reefs at risk
*Orange-spotted filefish: This fish dwells in coral reef habitat and with the depletion of coral reefs, filefish, as many other fishes face the risk of extinction
*Adélie penguin: Found on the Antarctic continent, this specie of penguin feeds on tiny sea anthropods called krill. With rising temperature the krill population is receding.

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