Now or never: 5 places you need to visit sooner rather than later
The expression "tread lightly" has never been more appropriate than to these popular travel spots, which are changing fast due to climate change or cultural influences. Maybe too fast. If you want to experience these destinations while they still exist in their current state, you should sit them firmly on your must-see list, sooner rather than later.
1. Venice, Italy
Venice’s beauty is also its downfall. The 'City of Water' is literally sinking at a rapid rate, due to rising sea levels caused by climate change. Venice’s opulent palaces and grand buildings are eroding, and floods are becoming more frequent. So if you’ve ever harboured romantic fantasies about cruising down the canals and waterways in a gondola, get a wriggle on.
2. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
One of the seven natural wonders of the world sits on your doorstep, but for how much longer? At more than 2,000 kilometres in length, the Great Barrier Reef is Mother Nature's masterpiece home to turtles, over 1,500 species of tropical fish, sharks and even dugongs. Conservation efforts are being taken to preserve it, but between coral bleaching (due to sea temperatures rising), poor fishing practises and pollution, the reef is quickly changing. Do yourself a favour, visit this underwater haven before it's too late.
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Even though Antarctica is more accessible, it’s changing so fast most of us won't see it in its current glory. Global warming is thawing the ice caps and vast areas of Antarctica's mass, which houses wildlife including penguin colonies. The big thaw is having a knock-on effect, causing sea levels to rise and threatening coastal settlements worldwide.
4. The Amazon rainforest
Nature lovers shouldn't let the Amazon rainforest disappear without experiencing it at least once. But we might not have many more chances. This amazing expanse of trees and wildlife, which makes up a staggering 50 percent of remaining rainforest worldwide, is rapidly disappearing because of deforestation and climate change. Home to 20 percent of the world’s bird species, as well as other fascinating wildlife like the cougar, jaguar and anaconda, this unique destination will hopefully hang around a little longer.
5. Havana, Cuba
Wonderful Cuba is a cultural wonderland, like stepping back in time to old-world charm and completely different way of life. Cars from the 1950s cruise past colonial buildings, music and dance are more important than the internet, and Caribbean cuisine keeps everyone smiling. However, that looks set to change. Cuba has recently lifted its travel ban against the USA. Tourism is about to take off, changing the country's infrastructure and personality. Get there before Maccas does!
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