Disappearing Destinations

Dead Sea – Israel, Jordan and Palestine

Dead Sea - Israel, Jordan and Palestine

The Dead Sea, a saline lake bordering Israel and the West Bank, is the lowest point of dry land on Earth. The surface and shores of the Dead Sea have been steadily dropping since the lake was first measured in 1926. The water level has dropped about 80 meters (260 feet) over the past 60 years—much more than scientists had predicted.

By 2025, it is feared that there will be no more freshwater flowing into the lake from rivers and streams so researchers have started looking at ways to preserve one of the world’s natural wonders.

One suggestion has been for a floating bridge to span the Dead Sea, allowing tourists and travelers to cross on foot or by cable car across the body of water.

Another plan suggested shipping water from the Jordan River in order to stabilize its ecosystem but this could only be done if an agreement was reached between the four countries that border the lake.

The ocean is shrinking, and it has been for most of the modern era. Experts estimate that as much as a third could disappear by 2060 if the decreasing rainfall markedly reduces evaporation.

In the ancient age, there were many findings related to the Dead Sea. The Bedouin goat herders, who often made trips by sea, had found the Dead Sea Scrolls in a seaside cave in 1947 while walking along its coast. It’s also in the foothills of ancient Jericho, which is possibly the oldest continually inhabited city in the world.

Masada, an ancient fortified city that was the site of a famous battle, is on the Dead Sea. It has remained here for two millennia. And some believe the sea’s confluence with the Jordan River is where Jesus was baptized.

Boreal Forests – Finland

Boreal Forests - Finland

Although the spruces and firs of Finland’s boreal forest are still tall, this environment is shrinking in an unprecedented way.

The forests have experienced severe drought conditions since 2010 due to unusually warm temperatures and lack of rain. This has led to widespread tree death from both drought and pest infestation killing off millions of trees.

The way that the forestry industry works in Finland is that the state is responsible for managing public land and individual landowners are responsible for managing their private property.

However, even though it’s a national problem, there has been no governmental action to help manage this crisis. This is partly because of the reliance on timber and firewood from privately owned forests.

The temperatures are expected to continue rising and it is said that over the next few decades, Finland’s boreal forest will be permanently damaged which could prove catastrophic.

The loss of trees here harms more than just aesthetics, as it also affects local reindeer. With an increasing number of trees gone, deer and elk are having less opportunity to graze.

Kiribati islands –  Pacific Ocean

Kiribati islands -  Pacific Ocean

Kiribati, an island country in the Pacific Ocean, is moving toward the sea at a rate of about 7 meters (23 feet) every year. This country has 33 atolls with 12 inhabited islands, and they are all slowly being swallowed by the ocean due to rising sea levels and erosion.

The capital city of South Tarawa has the highest elevation of 12 meters (39 feet) above sea level. The effects of climate change have had a profound impact on many island nations, and Kiribati is no exception. Sea levels are expected to rise by 1 meter in the next two decades which will flood some islands completely.

Over 50% of Kiribati’s population is under 25 years old, and the situation will likely force them to migrate. However, as climate change continues to take effect, some people have begun questioning if migration is even an option for their culture.

Therefore, they are looking at more permanent solutions rather than packing up just to leave again. A few things that have been suggested are seawalls and floating houses.

The Kiribati islands, many of which are under two meters high in elevation, stand to drown unless drastic measures are taken within a few years. Two of Kiribati’s uninhabited atolls have already disappeared, while a pessimistic estimate is that it will drown within the next few decades. It is therefore not a surprise that the president of Kiribati has already negotiated with New Zealand for migration.

Aysén – Patagonia, Chile

Aysén - Patagonia, Chile

The Aysén region of Patagonia in Chile is being irreparably changed by deforestation. And it’s changing the lives of the people who live here too. The small town of Puyuhuapi is undergoing a transformation as huge pine trees are cut down. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see a logging truck pass by.

The landscape for the Aysén region is made up of thousands of lakes, forests, rivers and valleys. This area used to be a forested mosaic, but it’s now become depleted due to intensive lumbering practices.

The changes happening here are not only affecting natural ecosystems, they’re also affecting the people who live there.

The Indigenous Diaguita have moved to new areas that are rich in water. They fear for the future of their children as they believe they will not be able to survive with such a lack of resources. The economy here has already suffered due to deforestation, and it could actually get worse if large companies continue to take advantage of their resources.

The situation is complex and there are many things that have an impact on the Aysén region in Chile. However, climate change is certainly a component of this issue; it’s contributed to increased soil erosion, landslides, and flooding.

Surprisingly enough, almost 3/4 of Chile is covered in forest. About 13% of the trees here are native species, while the rest were imported and planted during the 1960s by lumber companies. Many of these new forests were created to provide wood for papermaking.

Spanish energy company Endesa plans to build at least two dams along with the Rio Baker and another two on the Rio Pascua in Southern Aysén, one of the last truly untouched places on Earth. The 2,430-megawatt project will flood up to 36 square miles of land and permanently alter the ecology. It will also turn the upper Baker river stagnant.

Sagarmatha National Park Everest, Nepal

Sagarmatha National Park Everest, Nepal

The Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World: Mount Everest. It’s a land that preserves and protects its natural resources, but it’s not immune to climate change. A study found that there has been an increase in glacial melting from 1% to as much as 5% per decade over the past 50 years.

Climate change will have a devastating impact on the glaciers and snowcaps around Mount Everest, but it’s already beginning to occur. Rising temperatures are causing rainstorms to last longer and cause more frequent landslides in Nepal. This could lead to flooding or potentially severe droughts.

Rising temperatures are also contributing to an increase in the number of forest fires. In 2012, more than 1,000 forest fires were recorded in Sagarmatha National Park alone. The forests and mountain glaciers contained within these parks play a vital role to local communities as they provide a food source and protection from extreme weather events.

Climate change will bring about problems to this region in the years to come. The impacts of climate change on the glaciers will continue to cause flooding and landslides, impacting Nepal’s valuable resources.

The residents of Sagarmatha National Park are considered one of the most sustainable groups; they still follow age-old customs and traditions without harming their environment in any way. However, climate change does threaten their sources of food and water as well as the landscape that surrounds them.

Global warming is happening at an alarming rate and it is evident in many different regions of our world. These three places are but a few representations of how climate change affects different parts of our planet; each one with its own unique challenges and consequences.

The last few years have brought about extreme weather conditions, a rapid rise in sea levels, and melting ice caps. What does the future hold for these places? It’s hard to say for certain because we really don’t know what is going on with our climate; all we can do is guess.

Napa Valley vineyards – California

Napa Valley vineyards - California

Napa Valley is the largest producer of Californian wines. Founded in the mid-1800s, it has become one of California’s major tourist destinations and a world-famous wine region.

But in this super-rich area, farming alone cannot support many residents and hundreds are leaving their homes to seek employment elsewhere. Napa citizens are concerned about the future of their valley.

Climatologists predict that rising temperatures could alter Napa’s grape-growing conditions.

Grapes thrive in Napa because an average daytime high of 63°F is enough to provide the heat necessary for grapevines to grow, but nighttime temperatures that drop below 60° allow grapes’ sugars and acids to balance.

If greenhouse gas emissions continue apace, Northern California will warm 2–3° in the next 50 years. That’s more than enough to endanger grape quality.

For the future of Napa, the question is whether tourism will be able to fill in for lost jobs.

Inside Passage – British Columbia

Inside Passage - British Columbia

Canada’s Inside Passage is a series of sheltered waterways along the coast of British Columbia.

The area is one of the extreme geological contrasts and natural beauty, with many glaciers and numerous islands, fjords, channels, coves, and inlets making up this 480-mile route through the region.

The Inside Passage has been used for centuries by the indigenous peoples of these lands for trade, cultural exchange, and exploration.

As a major tourist attraction of the area today, it is also an important means of transportation for many fishing and ecotourism businesses including whale watching. But climate change is putting the future of these enterprises in doubt.

Since the 1970s, ocean temperatures have risen over 3°F at the Salmon River estuary, on the eastern side of Vancouver Island. Fisheries biologists believe the water is too warm to support resident salmon populations.

As a result, there are fewer fish and more whales in Inside Passage today than in prior decades. The loss of salmon could severely impact coastal communities whose livelihoods depend upon the fishing industry.

Great Barrier Reef – Australia

Great Barrier Reef - Australia

Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system and one of the most biodiverse marine habitats in existence.

For over a million years, the Great Barrier Reef has been home to many species including whales, sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, and countless other animals as well as thousands of plant species that have made this their natural habitat.

Approximately 400 species live in the Great Barrier Reef, including about two-thirds of all known coral species.

As global warming continues, rising sea surface temperatures from climate change impacts such as El Niño cycles have increased by 1 to 2 degrees Celsius and ocean acidity is increasing.

Many people are not aware of the side effects that ocean acidification can have on our environment. Coral struggles to grow, and its skeleton becomes weak as a result of an excess amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

These changing conditions are threatening the reef’s ecosystem and could cause its decline within a few decades. If reefs die, biodiversity on all of these levels collapses and many coastal communities that depend upon the reef for sustenance will suffer.

Actions taken today can make a difference for the Great Barrier Reef. Governments and private companies can work on new legislation to reduce carbon emissions while also creating jobs in clean energy and sustainable technology.