Everyone remembers a time in their life where they visited a beautiful place while traveling, or saw an amazing beach or forest in a movie, and wished to be there forever. Unfortunately, some of them won’t be around for much longer. It is a terrible and sad truth, but it’s true. These places are being destroyed by political or environmental reasons, or simply because they’re too popular for tourism.Yasuni National Park is located in the Ecuadorian Amazon and is one of the most biologically diverse areas on our planet. It is home to the Huaorani people, a semi-nomadic group of hunter-gatherers. It’s also home to two uncontacted indigenous tribes, Tagaeri and the Taromenane. There are over 4,000 plant species, 170 mammal species, and 610 bird species. Yasuni is estimated to contain 800 million barrels of crude oil. Ecuador approved the exploitation of the Yasuni in 2013, so it’s a matter of time before it’s changed forever.
This remote town is filled with endless emerald green rice fields surrounded by towering mountains on all sides. Sapa was once a small secluded place but because it’s one of the biggest tourist destinations in Vietnam, it’s definitely changing.
The reef has lost more than half of its corals due to pollution, climate change and overfishing. In 2013, the Australian government authorized the construction of a new port next to the reef. Construction will require 3 million cubic meters of seabed to be dredged.
The Seaflower Biosphere Reserve is located in the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina in the southwest Caribbean. It is a UNESCO Marine Reserve which protects it from economic exploitation. However in 2013, Nicaragua was given half of the Seaflower’s area and the cash-poor country officials invited multinational corporations to look for oil.
Bagan is home to over 2,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, and ruins dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. The number of tourists is increasing and the experience of exploring a temple by yourself is just about come to an end.
This relaxing city is a place where monks in orange robes outnumber tourists. It offers French colonial roofs and gilded temples that form the skyline, but soon this will change, as it set for massive construction that will soon bring thousands of workers to its doors.
Havana is known for its colonial-era buildings and 1950’s cars. It’s in for a period of dramatic change as Cuba’s parliament unanimously approved the new law to attract more foreign investment last month.
Trends that started more than one hundred years ago, suggest that the peaks of Kilimanjaro will soon be ice-free. Between 1912 and 2011, the mass of ice on its peak decreased by more than 85%. Scientists say it’s no longer a question of whether the ice will disappear but when. Some have predicted that it will be gone by 2060.
Yangon is the biggest city of Myanmar. It’s been cut off from the rest of the world for decades because of a travel boycott. In 2012, the boycott was lifted and Yangon’s doors have been wide open to the West. The city has experienced a very fast transformation.
Damascus is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Because of the Syrian Civil War, shelling, looting, and arson has ravaged much of the city’s castles, historical mosques, and gates. The extent of damage has not been assessed.
The Aral Sea was the fourth-largest lake in the world thirty years ago. Crop irrigation shrunk the Aral to 10% of its original size and it’s been called one of the planet’s worst environmental disasters. The lake has been divided between the North and South Aral Seas. Kazakhstan has saved the Aral by building dykes. In the south, Uzbekistan hasn’t attempted to save it. One of the reasons is because of the presence of oil and gas in the seabed, which brought about its exploitation in 2010.
Panajachel is the largest town on Lake Atitlan. This festive, multicultural town once attracted bohemians from all over the world. Drug trafficking has hit Panajachel hard and over the last few years vigilante groups have been harassing expatriates.
The capital of Greenland is the largest island in the world. It’s the land of snow, polar bears and only 15,000 people for now. This will change as Nuuk is planning to start exploiting its untapped ores and expects to receive thousands of miners from all over the world in the years ahead.
These tiny islands that make up Tuvalu are located in the South Pacific. It’s just a few inches above the ocean, so the slightest increase of sea level would be a death sentence for Tuvalu. In case of emergency, the government of Tuvalu may relocate its population of 10,000 to New Zealand or Fiji.
Lake Chad is located between Niger, Chad, Nigeria, and Cameroon. It’s home to hippos, lions, crocodiles, and other animals but not for much longer. The lake has lost 90% of its water over the last 50 years with no signs of recovery.
Boeng Yak Loum is a huge lake that’s inside a 4000 year old volcanic crater. It is considered a sacred spot and the locals take swims fully clothed. The fee for entry is less than a dollar, which goes to the local community. Developers, backed by local politicians, have long been planning to seize the area around the lake to start building five-star hotels.
The thick jungle between Panama and Colombia is called the Darien Gap. It’s the only section of the Americas untouched by the Pan-American Highway. Roads that would cross the Darien Gap have been proposed and it seems to be just a matter of time before it happens.
This national park is a sanctuary for the Java rhinoceros. It’s located next to Anak Krkatoa, one of the most active volcanos in the world. The current population of Java rhinoceros as of February 2014 is 58, which is up by 7 rhinos. Sadly the most endangered animals in the world are threatened by poachers, and vulnerable to volcanic activity and tsunamis.
Somalialand declared independence from the Somali Republic in 1991. However, it has never been recognized by a single nation on Earth. Right in the middle of the most chaotic region of the world, Somalialand is a democratic state. Although it’s recognition still seems distant, Coca Cola opened a 17 -million dollar bottling plant in 2013.
Lake Nicaragua is the only place that has freshwater sharks in the world. In June 2013, the government gave its approval for the Nicaragua Canal. This 40-billion dollar project will link the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans by bisecting the country. Scientist predict this will cause tragic devastation to both the country’s natural heritage and indigenous people. Hundreds of villages will have to be evacuated and relocated. Nicaragua stands to lose one million acres of rainforest and wetlands.