Human civilization has been incredibly good for the majority of people in the 21st century. Thanks to modern sanitation and medicine, we get to live relatively long and healthy lives. But the toll that our civilization is having on the planet shouldn’t be underestimated. In fact, alarmist climate scientists and anthropologists say that many of our favourite tourist destinations will disappear entirely during the 21st century. In other words, if you want to see them, it’s now or never.
The Columbia Glacier, Alaska
The Columbia glacier is one of the largest glaciers in the whole of North America. One of the cool things about it is how it changes colour, depending on the layer of natural sediment in the rock it flows over. But alarmist climate scientists say that this majestic glacier could disappear from Alaska forever.
By Eric E Castro from San Francisco - Margerie Glacier & Mt FairweatherUploaded by Aconcagua, CC BY 2.0
At the peak of the Little Ice Age, the glacier is estimated to have been about 41 miles long. But over the next three years, it's expected to shrink to just 26. Many scientists are saying that it will probably never recover and that if you want to see it, you should go now before it’s gone.
The Masai, Kenya
For thousands of years, the Masai have been hunting and gathering in the Masai Mara of Africa’s Rift Valley – a portion of the continent which will become a separate island in a few million years’ time. For millennia, the tribe has lived off the land. Their culture dictates that young men in the tribe drink the blood and milk of their animals, while the women go out and forage for food. It’s one of the only remaining examples of people living the way that they did more than 10,000 years ago before we invented farming.
Masai Mara Tribe Women by Dylan Walters
The Masai culture, however, is under threat. Just like most indigenous populations, as soon as they are exposed to the trappings of the modern world, they switch their lifestyle and leave their old cultures behind. Thanks to a thriving tourism industry, a version of the Masai will probably remain for a long time. But if you want to experience the real thing, in all its raw glory, the time to go is now.
Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and despite the smell, also one of the most romantic. But the Italian city is under threat as never before, thanks to rising sea levels and the creaking wooden foundations which have supported the city above for hundreds of years. The Italian government has invested billions of euros in sea defences to keep the city above water. But many experts wonder whether these defences will be sufficient over the long haul, especially if sea levels rise by a meter or more.
Venice, Italy – Creative Commons by gnuckx
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world. But thanks to the demand for lithium, they may soon be irreparably damaged by excavators. The message is clear: visit these unspoiled salt flats before they are ripped apart.
By Chechevere at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons