Although Earth Day 2016 has come and gone, it’s not too late to laud the virtues of environmentalism and mourn the negative impact humans have had on the earth. In this spirit, we took a look at some of the biggest tourist destinations that will probably be destroyed or irrevocably changed due to the largest environmental threat to the planet: Climate change.

Here are five destinations you should make an effort to see… before they’re gone for good.

The Great Barrier Reef

Barrier Reef

Located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system and the world’s largest structure built by organisms (it can even be seen from space!). The Great Barrier Reef is also home to an awe-inspiring ocean ecosystem that draws visitors from all over. Sadly, the reef and its inhabitants are feeling the effects of climate change, with one study estimating that half of the corals that make up the reef have been lost since 1985.

The Alps

Swiss Alps

Europe’s biggest mountain range is synonymous with winter vacationing. Sure, there’s plenty to do when it’s warm, but skiing in the Alps (whether in Switzerland, Austria, or France) is what the region is most famous for…at least for now. Due to rising temperatures, many resorts are finding their slopes with less skiable snow and sometimes none it all. It’s actually led to a rise in ski-related injuries (and even death), causing some areas to cancel skiing altogether.

Venice

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Ahh, Venice. With its rich cultural history, unique architecture, and famous canals, there’s no place else like it in the world. It’s unthinkable that this iconic Italian city may someday just be a memory. Venice’s issues with its buildings sinking into the earth due to overbuilding and pumping of groundwater have been known for decades, but the actions taken to remedy these problems may be rendered moot because of climate change’s rising sea levels and destruction of coastal cities. This is why Greenpeace has said that Venice is at the heart of climate change debate.

Mount Kilimanjaro

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The highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro has been a draw for visitors to Tanzania for decades. It came to symbolize the romanticized beauty of the African wilderness, thanks mainly to Ernest Hemingway, with its famous glacier snow caps. If you saw Al Gore’s 2006 documentary on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth, then you’ll remember his dire warning that “within the decade there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro.” While there still remains some snow on the mountain, the glaciers are definitely shrinking. Although there’s been some debate on if climate change is the exact cause of the evaporation, it’s certainly not helping. Many experts believe that snows will be gone by the end of the century.

The Galápagos Islands

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Made famous by naturalist Charles Darwin (the father of the theory of evolution), this archipelago off the coast of Ecuador is famous for its rich and unique wildlife. The diverse species are what bring thousands of tourists every year, but some may not be around for much longer. The effects of climate change threaten the islands’ delicate ecosystem and many of the animal populations experience large death tolls due to El Niño or La Niña years (which are likely increasing in frequency and severity due to climate change) and some, like the Isabela Pink Iguana, may never recover.

Have you been fortunate enough to visit any of these places? Let us know what you thought in the comments section.

5 Amazing Destinations You Should Visit Before Climate Change Ruins Them
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About The Author

Dave Odegard

Dave Odegard is an ex-army brat turned internet word person, whose work has been published on Maxim Online, USAToday, Buzzfeed, and more. He is currently the Senior Content Writer at Fareportal (CheapOair's parent company) and spends his free time exploring the wilds of Brooklyn, New Jersey, and Sweden.

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