Travel now; Our disappearing World

“Imperceptiblly, millimetre by millimetre, our planet changes daily, this is a disappearing world”
The planet we call home is an amazing place; it is located in the band of space which is far enough away from the just right size star to not only produce but sustain life. The temperature range is perfect, the planet retains its moisture and atmosphere, and it even has a nearby satellite moon which controls the tides.

Disappearing World; Pingvellir in Iceland tetonic plates collide on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

The Mid-Atlantic ridge visible in Iceland

It is a very dynamic place to live, spinning on its axis, whilst rotating around its star; we have day, night and recognisable seasons. The centre of the Earth consists of a molten inner core that spins faster than the planet and the majority of the surface is covered with oceans that ebb and flow daily.

We stand on drifting tectonic plates that float on the Earth’s crust causing continents to crash into each other and drift apart over millennia.

The Earth has seen catastrophic changes before, enduring ice ages and has even been almost entirely encased in ice. There have been collisions from asteroids and meteors, huge volcanic eruptions which have been the cause of numerous mass extinctions in the past. The most notorious of these was the probable impact of a meteor being responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs.

Are we on the verge of the next mass extinction: World Animal Day – All Creatures Great and Small

Skiing in the Sella Ronda, in the Italy's Val Gardena on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Ski resorts maybe hard to find one day?

The point is, this planet has survived a great deal, change both continental and climate have always been a part of its history. Continents have drifted together and apart again many times; the surface of our World has appeared dramatically different on several occasions. This planet is constantly changing , there is plenty of evidence we are contributing greatly to the current changes but ……

Earth will survive us

The landscape is changing however, global warming, rising sea levels. Ours is a disappearing world, it will not always remain as it is today. Many of the ecosystems and environments we ‘cherish’ are disappearing, some remarkably quickly. Those wishing to see these amazing destinations or landscapes before they disappear should possibly rethink their bucket lists.

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Coral Reefs

Coral reefs such as the Great Barrier Reef are one of the fastest disappearing eco-systems on the planet, they are under constant threat. We have apparently already lost over half of the reef producing corals due to rising sea temperatures and bleaching.

Reasons for the loss of reef systems include climate change, disease, commercial shipping, nutrient pollution, predation and overfishing.

Although reefs only cover a small part of our ocean floors, they are an essential part of coastal communities. Havens to thousands of marine species, this high level of biodiversity provides useful economic benefits from tourism to many of the World’s poorest regions.

Disappearing World; Road in the high Atlas Mountains of Morocco on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography iain_mallory_01014-2

Glaciers and icefields are retreating

Glaciers

Many of the glaciers of the World are in retreat, the Alps, Alaska, Greenland, the Andes even the Himalaya.

They hold a great deal of fresh water and can seriously affect the water table. The glaciers of Europe have been one of the hardest hit by climate change; the Pyrenees for example have lost around sixty percent of their ice.

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The ice caps of Kilimanjaro are forecast to disappear within twenty years and the ice melting on the Matterhorn has required a redrawing of the Swiss-Italian border.

Skiing is one of tourisms most under threat industries from global warming. As temperatures rise so does the snowline and low lying resorts throughout Europe and America will become more reliant on artificial means. It is likely that many slopes will close within a few decades.

Disappearing World; The Old Quarter, Bastia on Corsica on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Sea defences will become increasingly necessary

Cities

It has been well documented that Venice is sinking but Bangkok is also at risk and many more cities including New York are under threat from rising sea levels.

As the glaciers melt. especially the large ice caps of Greenland they create rising levels in the oceans. The landscape of our coastlines is likely to be significantly changed due to this rise, with estuaries, deltas and whole areas disappearing under water.

It is possible storm surge protection such as located in the Thames preventing flood damage in London may reduce this with some modification.

Miami, Rotterdam, Shanghai, Guangzhou and are just some of the cities at risk from rising sea levels so maybe it might be time to start booking a few city breaks.

Yellowstone

The World’s first National Park is also the largest active super volcano on the planet. It attracts thousands of visitors annually to witness its geothermal attractions, geysers, hot springs and pools, but these are the actual signs that it is one day going to erupt.

Disappearing World; Strokkur at Geysir in Iceland on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory_Iceland0003

Our planet is a geothermal hotbed

Nobody can predict when the huge caldera will do so but some scientists believe it is already overdue! It will not just be America that is affected, the whole planet will feel the effects.

Does Old Geyser sound more attractive for a visit now?

Disappearing World; Catalonian beach activities.Spain on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Transportation option of the future?

Rainforests

Vanishing rainforests are not a new phenomenon, deforestation; the felling of wholesale areas, resource exploitation and destruction of habitat has been well documented for decades.

Most of us are familiar with the reasons, we have watched the documentaries, read the magazine articles (hopefully online and paperless) and yet they continue to disappear unabated.

In some cases it is even increasing, the Amazon is apparently being deforested faster than previously estimated.

Islands

The Maldives maybe the best known of the ‘disappearing islands’ but more are under threat and some have already been lost. Global warming and rising sea levels is not the only culprits either. As recently as May this year two small islands in the Gulf of Mannar disappeared beneath the waves and coral mining is the suspected reason.

Other islands in the Bay of Bengal, as well as two South Pacific islands have vanished in recent years and more are still at risk.

Travelling sustainably: Sustainable Travel – Here for the Long Term?

Sometimes being patient is not always an option, whilst few of these are likely to disappear or even change overnight; many are dwindling even as you read this.

The world is changing it is a fact of nature, it really is a disappearing world, make some careful, responsible travel plans now to see it in all its glory before it changes beyond recognition.

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Comments 18

  1. Sophie

    Yes, I’m quite sure the earth will survive us. In the grand scheme of things, we’re probably not that successful an experiment. Meanwhile, while we’re here, we should probably hurry up and travel to Tuvalu.

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      Iain

      Thanks Bret that is also one of the main reasons I publish a site to share stories that hopefully will not only entertain and inspire but aslo cause people to think and possibly even act.

  2. Shirlene from Idelish

    You are so right! It is our hope too that people will be inspired to travel and visit all of these nature’s beauty before it is too late! On the positive side, the changing condition provides for a new ‘view’ or ‘scenery’ every time you visit!

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      Iain

      We always need to remain positive Shirlene that is so important, these changes will not take place tomorrow, the next day or probably not even next year but they are happening slowly and we need to prepare for what our dynamic, constantly changing World will produce.

  3. Nora

    While I agree that many aspects of the world as we know it are disappearing (like glaciers, certain landmasses, and rain forests), the world itself isn’t disappearing; only changing and evolving, as it always has and always will do.

    Granted, the more dramatic of these predicted changes might prevent us from traveling altogether (like Yellowstone blowing, which could stop all air travel for some time if a volcanic cloud covered earth).

    So while an uncertain future and some disappearing features might be an impetus for travel, beware of the “doomsday tourism” approach; attempting to visit places or features on the presumption that one day it won’t be there, that you might be among the last people to say “I was there”.

    Instead of people increasing their carbon footprints to simply visit these places that are disappearing, if they really care, maybe doing something to preserve them in conjunction with (or instead of) their trip would be better advised.

    I am really enjoying this series of articles you’re writing about the environment and how it ties into tourism. It’s fabulous food for thought, and a great read. Thank you – keep up the good work! 🙂

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      Iain

      It was not really meant as a ‘doomsday’ post Nora as mentioned in the post, change is part of the natural World it has been going on for eons and will continue to do so. Being able to say “I was there” before it supposedly disappears overnight was also not the intended motive.

      The post is about how the World will change for various reasons, some will happen in a relatively short time i.e. decades most will not likely happen for generations.

      To be fair when Yellowstone eventually erupts its effects will be way beyond tourism and travel, but hopefully it is not an event that any of us around now are likely to see.

      Definitely agree we could all probably take a good look at the ways and motives we have for travelling.

      I am glad you are enjoying the posts makes writing them all the more worthwhile.

    2. Kieu ~ GQ trippin

      Great post Iain! Hopefully it will inspire others to take a trip now. But I also love Nora’s point that the world is “changing” and perhaps seeing for the sake of seeing isn’t enough. Which is why I think the travel blogging community is great! We’re able to not just talk about it but hopefully spread awareness. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this. It kind of puts it all into perspective doesn’t it. 🙂

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        Iain

        Thank you Kieu raising awareness is something I believe we should be thinking about a little more, spreading the word about great destinations is an important part of the ‘job’ but also providing a little food for thought should be an aim. The world is changing it will continue to do so, but we will also change if we fail to do so it will leave us behind eventually.

    3. Artlover

      I agree that our planet is dissapearing, and i’ve been trying to convinvxe everbody to do go green things, but well, a lot of them won’tlisten to me, but I kept on trying, but isn’ttravelling would produce more carbon emission? That’s why I don’t travel that much. Sorry if this a little rude.

  4. Glenn Dixon

    So check this out. This was actually one of the reasons we quit our jobs when we did, instead of continuing to work a little longer, save up a little more money, etc. We had seen the Mendenhall Glacier in 2007, already shrinking a bit, and we read about how it was continuing to shrink, along with most other glaciers. But on our trip through the U.S. this year we ran across a few other situations we had not even thought of.

    One was in California. 70 state parks are scheduled for closure by next summer. We did feel like we might be some of the last people to see some of them! It was eerie. The other was in Yellowstone. The whole area quakes regularly, which often shifts the direction of the heated water which bubbles up everywhere. The Mammoth Springs area is about 85% dry right now. I’ve seen past pictures, and it looks *nothing* like that any more. Imagine if Old Faithful got shut off? What if you missed seeing the world’s tallest tree because it was blown over the week before you arrived?

    Sure, some of these things are unpredictable and part of evolution. But given the possibility that we are entering an extended period of warming, one which might outlast all currently living humans, it is difficult to argue that people should just stay put and take their time! And don’t forget pollution, vandalism, tsunamis and earthquakes, etc. And volcanos. There is one in Costa Rica that I have been fascinated with and just now found out it has gone dormant! Aaargh!!! LOL

    So any way, my point is, don’t be stupid, don’t panic, but don’t just sit on your hands either. Get busy!

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      Iain

      Sitting on our hands certainly does not seem like a great way forward Glenn, the World is changing of that there is no doubt, Old Faithful may still be blowing by Geysir in Iceland shut up shop some years ago! Yes it cannot really be predicted but this is the point as we never know when the situation will change, Hyperion may indeed be blown down tomorrow so now is the time to start seeing what we can. It is not possible to visit them all but a list of priorites in this case makes some sense. On this one I’m with Nike; “Just Do It”

  5. Mike Langford

    Excellent article Iain, shows the urgency of a number of problems on our planet. I would add that the means we use to travel ot these places is very important to contributing to their conservation and if we do need to use high carbon-footprint methods that we offset these locally by actions such as tree planting or contributing ot local conservation NGOs or sustainable economies. I promote responsible travel to the Peruvian Amazon thorugh my company Tambopata Travel. Whatever you call it, responsible travel, geotourism etc., these are the means we should be using to visit such special places.

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      Iain

      I have actually also recently done a post on the sustainability of travel Mike think it is linked to from this article too. I am glad you liked this piece and thanks for commenting.

  6. Great Himalaya Thru-Hiker

    Nice and inspiring article.You are true about our disappearing world.To be specific,I am from Nepal and north of the country is length of Himalayas.Due to the fact of climate change,snow in mountains in gradual melting and I feared I could be deprived of witnessing those wonderful Himalayas so though I am 20 ,unlike other Nepali youth,last year I dared to walk along the 2000km long Great Himalaya Trail,Nepal alone which was lifetime experience and I am happy and I can`t express it in words.I look forward to discover more of my country and others as well being world citizen.
    Keep travelling

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      Iain

      Wow that is so inspiring and it must have been a great adventure, I love the Himalaya and really want to return one day soon and to discover some more of Nepal, thank you for comments.

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