Now Boarding: endangered destinations

It’s tough to maintain a blog, a job, freelance work, a house and a hobbling husband with a healing incision up his abdomen, so I apologize for the halt in blog posts. However, it doesn’t mean my mind hasn’t been churning with ideas recently, so here is one that’s been sticking with me these days: destinations my children (and I) may never get to see. Thanks to floods, earthquakes, pollution, global warming, overpopulation, over development and lack of money, we have to slowly say good-bye to some of the world’s greatest sites.

It’s a shame, but nothing is forever. So plan accordingly, as I am, before these become just shards in history. I won’t re-hash all of the report from MSNBC, but here’s a list:

1. Glaciers of Europe, including my beloved Alps, where I picked wildflowers to wear in my hair, and Chamonix in France, where I’ve dreamt of going skiing when I have loads of euros. Talk about the hills being alive. Not for long.

2. Africa’s lion population. This is partly why I’m trying to jet off to southern Africa this year. The lions are vanishing.

3. Central America’s Cloud Forest. Fortunately, we experienced this last year in Monteverde, Costa Rica, where we took a night tour of the jungle and then zip-lined through the canopy in the morning. It was worth it.

4. Orangutans of Borneo. I took Primate Ecology in college and got an A; orangs are interesting creatures and close relatives of ours. To see them go extinct because of human mistake is a sure shame.

5. Florida Everglades. It’s so close to home, yet we skip away to foreign lands. Go soon before more old people turn it into retirement communities.

6. The Taj Mahal. Another that I was fortunate to visit in 2007; its white marble is threatened by India’s pollution. Already you have to take a separate pollution-free bus to the site and wear booties on your shoes to walk around.

7. Arctic polar bears. A quick ride up into the Great White Northern state of Canada will let you romp around with these creatures, before their glaciers melt away and they all drown.

8. Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Sure, I tried to get the Best Job In the World but the tourism office of the Great Barrier Reef seleted some British bloke instead. However, that doesn’t mean it didn’t pique my interest to check out the diverse underwater life before it died thanks to warming temperatures.

9. The Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana. The Atchafawhata? Apparently, a coastal salt marsh with your personal romantic view of a bayou, except it’s disappearing quickly because of flood control and deforestation. It’s another quick hop from New Orleans, so take advantage.

10. Kilimanjaro. I’ve already talked about my desire to climb this wonder, and if I don’t do it soon, I won’t get another chance. By 2020, the snows at the top will be gone, and who knows what dangers will lie when the mountain starts mudsliding and dropping boulders left and right on the tourists, as it already did.

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