This is a hard post to write for me, because each of these places mean a little something different in their own way. I’ve made connections with quite a few of them, and to think that they probably won’t be the same if I have children has really changed how I choose to travel and what I choose to write about on this blog. I’ve seen some vast differences in some locations, and locals have told me much about the changes they’ve seen over the past few years, as well. Seeing the places affected by climate change has altered the way I choose to travel.
So as sad as this post is to write, I also think it’s incredibly important that we talk about this and we know the alterations we are making to our world.
The Amazon, Peru
I journeyed to the Amazon River basin with Contiki in Peru a few years ago. I was astounded by the immense, tropical jungles and the bounty of wildlife there. However, the guides were the first to mention that they had been seeing rapid changes over the past few years, including massive droughts that had wiped out a number of animal species within the area. It also makes it more likely that forest fires will eat up the valuable trees.
Sonoma, California, USA
No one should be surprised that Sonoma is on this list after last summer. I went down there to visit my uncle a few years ago (and got tipsy on a delightful wine tasting at 18—shhh), and I remember looking out on the verdant fields of growing grapes. I was astounded by the area’s beauty and the feeling that you were so far away from the rest of the world. It broke my heart to hear that much of it burned up and that California has been suffering from so much heat.
Even when I was studying abroad in Venice 7 years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long), the locals were complaining about the rising water during rainy days. Venice is a city known for its flooded streets, but that water level tends to get higher and higher every year. Worse still, thousands of priceless artwork and architecture is irretrievable if the city were to go under—and the jewel of the Adriatic and home to one of the most historical towns in the world will be irrecoverable.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
I recently visited this mind-blowing temple complex, and was shocked to hear how popular it had become over the past decade. Once almost unknown, the largest religious structure in the world is now inundated with tourists, who have caused damage and brought pollution to the area. However, worst of all is the effects greenhouse gases have had on the structure itself. Our pollution has been eating away at the fragile limestone—which goes to show that even man-made structures are feeling the effects of our planet’s warming.
Glacier National Park, Montana, USA
This one hits so close to home because, well, it is my home. I grew up 30 minutes away from the park and much of my childhood became learning how to find Indian Paintbrush and how to survive a bear attack (feel free to ask). I still try to make it to Glacier once a year, and it seems to change every time I visit. The glaciers themselves are smaller and we had scorching fires this summer that burnt up a good chunk of the near 1 million-acre park. It’s hard to see my home look and feel different than I knew it—especially because I know it’s affecting the people I love and the animals who also call the park home.
One of the many reasons I’m enjoying the world now (and trying to make a positive impact while I do it) is because I know it won’t look the same when I am older or for the next generations. However, the doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep fighting for a better future and for restoring our planet.
What are some places that have changed from climate change that you’ve been to?