Climate change poses a threat to the places I so eagerly desire to travel and the natural wonders of this world. Travel is nothing without the beauty and uniqueness of the places that we want to see, and with the rapidly changing environment of the world due to climate change, it is sad to say that there will come a day that some of the most beautiful places in this world will no longer exist.
For the majority, travelling is about seeing places around the world and coming into contact with the people and culture of that place, which cannot be done sitting at home. Although travelling while staying climate conscious is difficult, it is important to remember that small changes can help to save and preserve the beautiful places that we desire to see. Despite the fact that cutting down our flight time is undoubtedly the best way to help the planet we want to see, it is a big step to take for some of us.
Remembering other, smaller aspects of travel however, are also ways of making a difference. Whether that be using public transport while on holiday or even researching the place you wish to stay in while on holiday and knowing their ecological track record, you can try your best to lessen your impacts of climate change.
Even places closer to home like the White Cliffs of Dover are slipping away due to increased storm intensity caused by global warming
One example of a place that is being threatened by climate change is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, which is a natural wonder that I have wanted to see since I was little, and now one that could potentially be put on the “in danger” list at a committee meeting in China in June this year. According to scientists, the effects of climate change threaten the natural wonder to the extent that it may be irreparably changed in the next 20 years.
The World Heritage Area attracts millions of tourists throughout the year is the largest coral reef system and the biggest living structure on the planet covering an incredible 344,400 square kilometres, so big that it can even be seen from space. However, in only the last 30 years the reef has lost half of its coral cover.
The loss of the Great Barrier Reef not only poses a threat to its plants and animals but will also create an unimaginable void in Australia’s heritage. Being one of seven natural wonders in the world, it is on the top of many travellers’ wanderlust lists, and it is even said that not many have left after swimming in its waters without having been moved in some way. I have also always wanted to snorkel in it too, and am afraid that I may not be able to do that anymore.
However, the saddest part is that there are so many natural wonders in the world that are set to face the same fate as the Great Barrier Reef. Rising temperatures due to global warming have resulted in the glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park melting at an alarming rate with only 26 of the original 150 glaciers surviving today. Even places closer to home like the White Cliffs of Dover are slipping away due to increased storm intensity caused by global warming, and many islands around the world are under threat of being wholly inundated due to rising sea levels.
the loss of a natural wonder can never be replaced
One such place is the Maldives, also on my list of places to see in my lifetime, and this not only poses a threat to life – human, animal and plant – but also to the culture. With whole countries being under threat of extinction, the world is losing the didactic element many of us seek while travelling, it may be no longer possible for us to see the culture and diaspora of that place.
Travelling is eye-opening, therapeutic and most of all just a completely novel experience for many of us. Many of us save up for months for our dream holiday, jot down all the places that we cannot wait to see in the destination of our choice and yearn to see new places in our lives because as humans, we want new sights and adventures. Climate change threatens these very adventures and although you can put places that may as well be affected or harmed by climate change first on your travel bucket list, the loss of a natural wonder can never be replaced. You cannot bring back its flora and fauna, and you cannot bring back its significance of being a natural and unique treasure in the world.
If you are an avid traveller, or at least still have dreamy places you wish to visit on your wanderlust list like me, you also hold responsibility in saving and preserving these places.