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Five More Places To See Before They Are Changed Forever
1. Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, and the glacier at its summit has become the stuff of legend, thanks to Earnest Hemingway's famous book. The mountain sits just three degrees off the equator, making it even more amazing that snows are present there. But with temperatures on the rise across the planet, the glaciers are retreating at a steady rate, and scientists now believe that they could be completely gone in as little as a decade. Those wanting to see the Snows of Kilimanjaro should make the trek to the summit soon.
2. Maldives, Indian Ocean
More than 1200 tiny islands make up the Republic of Maldives, located off the southwest coast of India, but the entire country is being threatened by the rising levels of the ocean thanks to the melting polar icecaps. It is estimated that by the end of this century, more than 80% of the islands that make up the archipelago will be submerged under water, considerably changing nature of the place. Steps are being taken to save the more populated areas, but much of the country will simply cease to exist in the years ahead.
The Annapurna Circuit is considered one of the greatest hikes in the world. It is a 15+ day trek through the HImalaya amongst some of the tallest mountains in the world, with amazing scenery at every turn. With quaint villages found every few hours along the trail, trekkers can spend the night in traditional tea houses, and will always have easy access to food and drink. But the area is being changed forever, and not by climate change, but modernization instead. A new road in the area will alter the landscape both physically and culturally, irrevocably chaning this legendary place forever. The road will be completed by the end of 2010, and much of the charm and spirit of the trail will be gone forever.
4. The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos are another amazing group of islands, this time found 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. These islands are home to a dizzying number of different species of plants and animals, some that can be found nowhere else. This has made it a hot tourist destination in recent years with visitors flocking to the Galapagos to take in the unique flora and fauna. But it isn't the tourists visiting the islands that threatens this fragile place, but instead, the growing population of permanent residents, which has grown at an alarming rate over the past decade. This over population, of a place not designed to support so much human life, is a direct threat to the ecosystem there, and could change the place forever, and very soon.
5. Lake Baikal, Russia
The worlds largest, and deepest, freshwater lake, Baikal, has only just begun to appear on the radar for most travelers. At its deepest point, it reaches 5730 feet below the surface, and those depths have never been completely explored. The lake is home to more than 1700 species of plants and animals, including the fresh water seal, the majority of which can't be found anywhere else on Earth. Due to its size, Lake Baikal was expected to be resistant to climate change, but studies show that it is already warming, and those temperature changes will also change the landscape in the area, threatening the life of plants and animals that inhabit the remote region of Siberia.