It’s November, I live in New York City, and I have yet to pull out my winter coat from my closet. Obviously, I’m not a scientist so I can’t speak with any real authority, but the barely breezy weather in my neck of the woods seems to be speaking volumes about the impact of global warming.
Elsewhere around the planet, the situation is becoming more dire as we see our beautiful natural wonders disappearing before our eyes. If any of these are on your bucket list, you might want to book your ticket today.
1. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
The popularity of all-terrain vehicles has damaged several of the park’s trails and streams. You might be getting to the good views faster, but at the cost of the very place you’re admiring.
2. The Everglades
Urban devolpment and pollution have contributed to the destruction of more than half of America’s largest subtropical wilderness, which is also home to the endangered leatherback turtle.
3. Glacier National Park
Before climate change, you would have had your pick of 150 glaciers to visit in this park. Now, there aren’t even 25.
4. Yellowstone National Park
America’s oldest national park is suffering from air pollution and an infestation of beetles aggressively attacking its whitebark pines.
5. Denali National Park and Preserve
Home of the highest mountain peak in North America, Denali has seen its glaciers melt because of climate change. The lack of snowfall is also taking a toll on the wildlife.
6. The Dead Sea
The salty water that makes us float like a fishing bobber has sunk 13 inches every year for the past 40 years. Cosmetic companies mining for minerals have also caused further drain.
7. The Great Smoky Mountains
North Carolina’s and Tennessee’s coal manufacturing plants have caused high levels of sulfur dioxide to obscure the scenic views with thick smog.
8. Mendenhall Glacier Ice Caves
Again, climate change has caused more and more caves to melt away every year.
9. The Ross Ice Shelf
Climate change is causing the 487,000 square kilometers of floating ice and the fresh water beneath it to evaporate, making it one of the fastest-warming areas of the planet.
10. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
The rise in temperature has caused both the air and water to reduce their ice formation, producing several issues in the sandstone cliffs’ natural ecosystem.
If temperatures continue to rise, scientists predict that within 20 to 40 years, ice will completely cease to form, leading to tragic consequences for the wildlife.
12. Sequoia National Park
The frequency of wildfires in the area has caused a dramatic decrease in the park’s giant sequoia trees.
Hawaii’s oldest island is in danger of being completely swept away by the surrounding waters as sea levels continue to rise.
14. Belize’s Barrier Reef
After suffering severe bleaching in 1998, half of the natural coral disappeared and continues to decline because of pollution, tourism, and development.
15. Forests of Madagascar
The fourth largest island in the world might have no forests to speak of in only 35 years if logging, substance farming, and poaching are allowed to continue their destruction.
16. The Grand Canyon
Tourism, uranium mining, and development projects have all chipped away at both the vast ridges and the Colorado River, the canyon’s main water source.
17. The Maldives
At only eight feet above sea level, most scientists believe these islands and atolls are doomed to sink as climate change continues.
18. Mount Kilamanjaro
The glaciers resting at the volcanic mountain’s summit are melting under the pressure of climate change, leaving less and less snow at its peak.
19. Joshua Tree National Park
The distinct yucca trees are having a hard time coping with the ever-climbing temperatures and lack of condensation. Animals who rely on the yucca as their source of food are also suffering from the increasing heat.
20. The Amazon Rainforest
The expansive forest previously raised awareness that kept the logging, farming, and agribusinesses from depleting its ecosystem, but they have since picked right back up.
21. Cape Floristic Kingdom
The rising temperatures are not only causing more and more wildfires in the area, but several of its plants evolved from cooler climates and are unable to survive in the heat.
I know we all liked to laugh at the silly PSAs we saw after cartoons growing up, but it really is our responsibility to protect and rehabilitate our planet. We must treat every environment with respect and maybe even a little pampering. Mother Earth has put up with a lot from us, so I think it’s safe to say she deserves more than being robbed of her most beautiful assets.