Before you know it, some the world’s most beautiful and unique destinations could be unrecognizable. Climate change, plastic pollution and overpopulation are having devastating effects on our planet. Earth Month, which celebrated its 46th anniversary this year, is a global initiative that aims to drive awareness around environmental issues.
In support of Earth Month 2016, we are hoping to raise awareness of global environmental issues by highlighting some traveller bucket list destinations we are in danger of losing forever.
Venice (above) is one of our favourite island paradises, but it’s no secret that the city is sinking, and it has been for centuries. High tides, rising sea levels due to climate change and boat traffic are three of the main reasons why the buildings are eroding and slowly being claimed by rising water levels. The effect is a few millimetres a year which may not seem like a lot, but look ahead a few decades and it’s more than a bit concerning. With floods becoming more frequent efforts are being made to control the water levels going forward. And no, stilt walking for all is not a realistic option.
Not only are fees to visit this marble-ous palace increasing in an effort to limit tourists, but it’s moving towards not looking so marble-ous at all. Pollution is causing the Taj Mahal to turn from white to yellow, and something tells us as time goes on, the white marvel won’t really have the same postcard worthy affect that draws visitors from all over the globe. Groundwater levels and general tourist traffic have also been creating some structural damage to the palace which has led to whispers of public access being restricted in the near future.
Why it’s a hot spot: The Antarctic is a good feeding ground for orcas and it is estimated that half the world’s population (around 25,000) reside there. Tours circle the Antarctic Peninsula in search of dorsal fins cutting through waves, or to witness orcas crashing into icebergs to knock unsuspecting sea lions into the water where they can be devoured.
Where to see: Tours of the peninsula from Argentina’s Ushuaia are popular, with sightings of minke and humpback whales common. Trips from New Zealand to the Ross Sea in the eastern Antarctic are also rich with orcas.
When to go: February-March
Why it’s a hot spot: Neither heavy in numbers nor easy to spot, the lure of Patagonia’s orcas is their sophisticated hunting technique. Witness the lobos (meaning wolves, a local nickname given to the area’s predatory orcas) gulp down sea lion pups after purposely beaching themselves at high tide in order to capture their prey.
Where to see: Viewings are mainly land-based, with the beaches of Caleta Valdes, Punta Delgada and Punta Norte all good viewing spots.
When to go: March-April (Punta Norte) and September-October (Punta Delgada and Caleta Valdes)
Antarctica – Ferra Australis Incognita, “the unknown land of the south” – is the surreal continent at the bottom of the world, a destination of ethereal beauty and unequivocal grandeur. Its limitless landscape of ice, sea, and sky comes in a million shades of blue. One of the modem world’s most magical destinations and one of nature’s last, most remote strongholds, Antarctica affords an opportunity for adventure, excitement, and discovery rarely accessible to the average traveler. The nearly total absence of human presence fosters nonaggressive wildlife that welcome you into their habitat. A visit to a penguin rookery, whose tuxedoed residents number in the tens of thousands, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Different itineraries are possible: You can sail the Antarctic Peninsula or circumnavigate the entire continent, with options to travel by Zodiac launch amid the towering icebergs to neighboring islands, or with ports of call on South Georgia Island and the Falklands. Though dozens of cruise ship companies ply these frigid waters, the first and best of the seaborne expedition ships is the Explorer, the “little red ship” that invented Antarctic cruising. This shallow-drafted icebreaker carries a veteran crew that includes geologists, zoologists, polar explorers, historians, ecologists, and oceanographers who help bring the incredible within reach.