Happy Earth Day, folks!
Are you looking forward to joining your fellow Earthlings in celebration of Earth Day this year? Maybe you have plans to plant a seed, get serious about recycling, or ditch your car in favor of bicycling around town. Fewer exhaust fumes – more exhausting! Good for you!
But, no matter what you’ve got planned to give back to the Earth—from hugging a tree, to joining one of the countless environmental activities across the globe—we wanted to share a few of our favorite places on our awesome planet to visit this Earth Day. (Warning: these sights may make you feel small, and somewhat insignificant!)
1.) Uluru/Ayers Rock – Northern Territory, Australia
At about five miles in circumference, and located over two hundred miles from the town of Alice Springs, Uluru/Ayers Rock is one of Australia’s most identifiable landmarks. Despite only about one-third of its height (1,100 feet) being visible above the red, dusty surface, Uluru still manages to utterly dominate the horizon of the otherwise flat, desert landscape of Central Australia.
Watch as Uluru’s terracotta color transforms dramatically at sunset to a bluish violet, and at sunrise to a fiery red. Be sure to carry a camera in your pouch as you hop, hop, hop on by!
2.) The Travertine Pools – Pamukkale, Turkey
Visible for miles in an otherwise green and fertile valley, this cotton castle of snow-white stalactites, rising some five hundred feet into the clear blue Turkish sky, claims to possess healing powers within its many hot springs and pools.
Located amongst the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis, this World Heritage site and geological curiosity is considered by many to be the eighth natural wonder of the world. Now, let’s talk Turkey!
3.) Sailing Stones, Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park – California USA
Never actually seen in motion for hundreds of years, these remarkable rocks continue to delight us as they secretly snake across the parched floor of Death Valley. Ranging in size from two to twenty-nine inches, with the heaviest “mover” coming in at a healthy eighty pounds, these brazen boulders scar the arid landscape, leaving deep trenches in their wake.
Science has recently documented through time lapse imagery, that when conditions are just right, these stealthy stones surreptitiously “slide” across a thin film of ice assisted by light winds.
If this sounds like a bunch of “rock” to you, pay a visit Death Valley to see for yourself!
4.) The Cano Cristales River – Meta, Colombia
Nicknamed “The Liquid Rainbow,” the Cano Cristales River resonates with colors from late July through November. Yellows, greens, blues, and black all blend in this watery canvas, but it’s the color red that dominates this clean, fast moving river, as it ripples and dances through La Macarena, (aaahaa!) in the Meta region of Colombia.
But don’t plan your next fishing trip here just yet! Cano Cristales is sans fish! Instead, it’s filled with brightly stained, aquatic plants that cling to the riverbed rocks. One thing you may catch here is your breath, as you take in all of the vibrant colors that create this stunning spectacle.
5.) The Great Blue Hole – Belize
It’s certainly a hole, and it’s undoubtedly blue. Plus, we think you’ll all agree that it really is great! Just forty miles off the coast of Belize, this aptly named attraction made famous by French underwater explorer extraordinaire, Jacques Cousteau, is an enormous circular sinkhole. It measures over nine hundred feet across and over four hundred feet deep, descending through spectacular stalactites and submerged caves.
Formed above water thousands of years ago, and subsequently reclaimed by the rising Caribbean Sea, this natural phenomenon is visible from space and is a huge draw for serious scuba divers, as well as day tripping snorkelers. Oh—and a few fish as well!
6.) The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) – Northern Hemisphere Sky
OK, so this wonder isn’t physically on Earth, but we couldn’t ignore this spectacular display to round off our top six. The Aurora Borealis, also known as The Northern Lights, is most commonly seen in the Arctic latitudes, but is also frequently visible across wider reaches of the Northern hemisphere.
Ghostly green lights and occasional reds and blues shimmer on our horizon like a laser show at an 80’s progressive rock concert. The spectacle occurs when the atmosphere is flooded with solar winds filled with charged electrons and protons, which “excite” the air, and create mind-blowing, mesmerizing, celestial displays. Who knew science could be so spectacular?
With so many other incredible wonders scattered all around the globe, it’s easy to see why Earth Day is worth celebrating. Now tell us, will you be checking out any of these sites this year? How are you celebrating Earth Day? Let us know in the comments!
And, if you’re really inspired, make every day, Earth Day! Find out more about the Earth Day Network and make a difference.[Featured Image Courtesy of: Johan Swanepoel/Shutterstock.com]