Climate change is rapidly changing the landscape of our planet. Ocean acidification, melting glaciers, desertification and rising sea levels are all affecting Earth’s ecosystems. Soon some of Earth’s most magical places may disappear, and as such one of the more popular travel trends is to visit these disappearing ecosystems. Some ecotourists travel with the intent of helping preserve ecosystems at risk, while others just wish to see these destinations before they are gone forever.
Pros and Cons
Obviously one of the biggest advantages to touring disappearing ecosystems is the fact that you get to see these places before they disappear.
In a number of years they may be gone forever, so visiting them while you have a chance is certainly a must-do for any avid traveller.
Another benefit of travelling to disappearing ecosystems is the number of reputable ecotourism organizations that help maintain and preserve these destinations. By joining one of these organizations, you are able to visit these ecosystems while at the same time assist in preserving them. Of course, like all ecotourism, there are negatives to go with the positives. Many tourists visiting certain destinations may actually decrease the already minimal time the ecosystem has left on Earth. Some of these destinations are in remote places of the globe, and thus the living standards may be lower than what some travellers may be accustomed to. The security in these places may also be lacking.
One of the most popular disappearing ecosystems is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. An influx of pollution along with rising ocean temperatures have caused experts to predict the reef may be destroyed within the next century. It is one of Australia’s greatest attractions and a very popular destination for travellers. While not necessarily an ecosystem, Venice, Italy is another disappearing destination. The city has been sinking for ages, but severe floods and rising water levels may leave Venice completely underwater within 50 years. For those skiing fans, the Alps are a popular tourist destination, but it may not be for much longer. The Alps are susceptible to climate change because of its low altitude, and over 3% of Alpine glacier ice melts each year. As such, experts predict that the glaciers may melt entirely by 2050.
Road Less Travelled
Because the Earth is experiencing significant climate change, there are numerous destinations that may no longer exist within the next century. One of those is Glacier National Park in Montana. Once home to over 150 glaciers, there are less than 20 remaining. This number may be zero within the next 15 years. A little further north, the Magdalen Islands in Quebec, Canada are another disappearing ecosystem. A lovely vacation spot in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with sandstone cliffs and sandy beaches, the island’s cost currently erodes up to 40 inches a year, and the wall of sea ice blunting the worst weather is rapidly melting. Experts believe the ice will melt completely within the next century, which will leave the islands vulnerable to the destructive storms that pelt the area.
Costs and Savings
The cost of travelling to disappearing ecosystems varies depending on where you wish to go, how long you will be going for, and the standard of living you are accustomed to. Many locations will require a plane ride to get there, followed by another form of transportation. Many of these places may have an extra cost, such as an admission fee. There are numerous savings options available, however, through travel books or online deals, which can help save significantly on travel costs, accommodation costs, and activity costs.