The Tourist Areas Under Threat From Climate Change

Image of underwater coral
Rebecca Herman

Although the topic of climate changed has seeped into popular culture with posters and warnings surrounding us constantly, the effects of it often feel extremely far away. However, the reality definitely hits when you turn up to the hottest tourist destination, but it looks completely different to the picture in the travel book you have schlepped from rainy Britain.

Floods, droughts and fires are just a few detrimental impacts resulting from our changing climate, and here are the destinations we need to hit up before they permanently change for the worse…

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

As atmospheric temperatures increase, the Great Barrier Reef, which is a sensitive marine environment, is becoming ‘bleached’ – a term used to describe coral as it loses colour and dies – ruining the scenes which attract approximately two million visitors a year. Because of this temperature rise and how its warming up the coral reefs, on current warming rates it’s predicted that 99% of them will vanish. Lets hope they are still there by the time tourists are allowed back in!

Climate Research predicts Venice will become completely submerged in water by 2100

Venice, Italy

Sticking to the theme of water, another wonderfully wet destination at threat of climate change is Venice, Italy. Alongside the masses of pollution pumped in Venice’s canals from tourism, rising sea levels are also a major issue with climate research predicting Venice to become completely submerged with water by 2100. Currently, seawalls are protecting Italy’s famous canals from sea level rise, flooding and heavy rain but the overall sustainability of them to use forever is unknown. But hey, Italy’s on the green list, so do you want to share an Uber to East Mids airport?

Joshua Tree National Park, USA

Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California is famous for its unique Joshua Trees. Much like the Reefs mentioned earlier, the Joshua Trees are sensitive to their environment and so climate change and subsequent temperature changes in the USA pose a huge threat on the survival of this tree species. Scientists have predicted that by 2100, Joshua Tree National Park will look completely different with not only a reduction in the trees themselves, but also the masses of wildlife which relies on them for food and shelter.

Maybe on the way back from Australia we can pop in? I promise, I’ll be quick!

In 2018, a fire swept across Table Mountain

Table Mountain, South Africa

As we all know South Africa is very warm, and as you can tell from this article, rising temperatures have a theme of destroying lots of nature globally in many ways. In 2018, a fire swept across Table Mountain, engulfing lots of buildings especially from the University of Cape Town. Although there are many theories about how this fire started and spread, the weather is definitely a major contender. Table Mountain sees around one million people a year, and as vegetation becomes increasingly dry from rising temperatures, Table Mountain becomes more susceptible to these sorts of large fires. So, although climate change may not technically ruin Table Mountain, it is not really worth the journey if there’s not pretty plants to see.

London, United Kingdom

And to finish off this mighty list, its only right we speak of a more realistic tourist destination – one that should hopefully remain on the green list. London is a mega city in which a crazy thirty million tourists visit a year. Although you may not think it, London is actually quite threatened by climate change due to the fact the city is sinking. Sinking, yes, you heard me correctly. During the ice age, huge glaciers formed which weighed down Scotland in the North of the UK therefore lifting the South of the UK which includes London. However, as glaciers melt due to rising temperature (c’mon, you knew that!) London is sinking back down. Although there is nothing to worry about yet, maybe it’s something to bear in mind next time you have a ride of the London Eye.

So, if Corona was a big enough motivation to travel after lockdown, climate change definitely is. So, swap your plastic bottles for reusable and maybe have the occasional veggie burger to save our fave spots and while you’re at it, book a plane ticket!

Rebecca Herman

Featured image courtesy of Q.U.I via Unsplash. No changes were made to the image.

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