Five places to visit before they are destroyed by climate change

Mac Lewis, Staff Writer

With an historic rise in temperatures and sea levels, pollution, etc., climate change continues to endanger many beloved world locations. Let’s take a look at four places you should visit soon—since you may never have a chance to see them again.

Penguin Country, the habitat of the arctic penguins, is not critically endangered, but the population is declining every year. This is mainly due to reduced levels of sea ice, which is the surface in which the penguins reside. However, the problems go further than the surface of the Arctic regions. Algae is inhabited on the sea ice which starts the arctic food chain. With decreasing amounts of algae, the penguins lack food necessary to survive and are forced to migrate. This creates difficult living conditions for these penguins to live in, which inevitably leads to the declining population

Located in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world, at approximately 134,624 million square feet. It is home to 2,900 reefs and 900 islands, making it a source of massive biodiversity. Although the reef is not a hot tourist destination, as it is in the Coral Sea off the coast of Australia, it is a unique historical location that is critically endangered.

Recently, a group of marine scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Queensland, conducted a study of the reef and concluded that populations of coral reefs had dropped more than 50% in size and has lost half of its corals in the last three decades. The loss of these reefs mean habitats for animals, especially marine life , are destroyed. Many of these increased problems with the reef are coming from water pollution, coastal development along Australia and increased sea levels and water temperatures. One researcher said, “There is no time to lose, we must sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions ASAP.”

Named by the National Trust as one of the 11 most endangered historic sites in America, Boston Harbor Islands are suffering greatly from climate change, erosion and rising sea levels. It consists of 34 islands, which serve as Boston’s main port for importing and exporting goods. Although there are many people writing off the idea of saving the island, the Boston Archeology Department received a $100,000 grant to put in place a plan of action to save the islands. This plan of action will help save one of the major shipping ports in the Northeastern US, and also save the region from a potential economic disaster.

Finally, one of the most well renowned places in the world, the southernmost part of the United States, Key West Islands. The popular tourist destination is one of a kind as there is not a site like it throughout the rest of the US. One Madison student described it as a “Foreign destination that doesn’t need a passport”, therefore making it a unique place to travel. The Florida Keys has often been associated with rising sea levels as reports have long confirmed that the islands are sinking. Although it has not been classified as an endangered historical site, some roads in the Florida Keys are becoming dangerous to drive on leading to bridge closures. Though Florida Keys may be closed to tourists soon, visiting the islands is a once in a lifetime opportunity because of the unique visiting experience.