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30 Gorgeous Natural Wonders Around The World You Should Visit Before It's Too Late

NOVEMBER 18, 2015  —  By Jessica Catcher  
Jessica Catcher

Jessica Catcher

Jessica is a writer who lives in Queens, NY. She spends most of her time listening to One Direction, watching TV, and hanging out with her one-eyed cat, Rigby.

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.

11. Antarctica

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.

13. Kauai

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.

22. Katmai National Park and Preserve

This Alaskan national park is beloved for its beautiful volcanic landscape and large population of brown bears and salmon. Many people come to the park for bear-watching, but severe threats from climate change and mining are endangering the park's precious ecosystem.

23. The Big Sur

This stunning region of California offers is famous for awesome whale-watching opportunities, but recent droughts and wildfires have been harming the coastal region, leading to fewer sightings of the majestic aquatic mammals every year.

24. Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier is an active volcano and the most glaciated peak in the contiguous US. The inconic mountain can be found in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. Glaciers mantled Mount Rainier for most or all of its 500,000-year lifespan, but they have been continuously retreating due to increasingly warmer summers over the last 30 years.

25. Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

This National Park is unlike any other. It encompasses two active volcanoes: Kīlauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world's most massive subaerial volcano. Visitors can witness over 70 million years of volcanic activity. It also serves as a refuge for the island's native plants and animals, which are increasingly at risk of endangerment due to higher temperatures, drier conditions, and growing numbers of invasive species.

26. Grand Teton National Park

By visting Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park, you're treated to a rich scenery of shimmering lakes, alpine terrain, and the Teton Range. Besides its landscape, the park is also popular for fishing thanks to its high trout population, but warmer water temperatures are threatening their numbers.

27. Biscayne National Park

This beautiful area of Florida is a highly popular snorkeling destination thanks to its rare combination of coral reefs and emerald islands. Climate change has resulted in warmer seas, coral bleaching, ocean acidification, and hurricanes that are causing stag horn and elk horn coral to die at a staggering rate.

28. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Located in Michigan, here you can take in spectacular lake views from bluffs that tower 450 feet above the shore. Its prized dunes and beaches are suffering from invasive algae species, invasive mussel species, and rising phosphate levels.

29. Tahuamanú Rainforest

This magnificent rain forest in Peru's Madre de Dios region holds some of the last old-growth stands of mahogany in South America. But illegal logging is depleting the rainforest -- and the U.S. is responsible for buying 80 percent of the mahogany. A single tree can create as much as $1 million worth of furniture.

30. Yangtze River Basin

It's too early to know the exact impact of the creation of China's massive, $24 billion Three Gorges Dam, but many, including the Chinese government, have acknowledged that the Yangtze Basin region is in danger of losing its most distinctive marine and animal life.

(source Business Insider, Budget Travel, Scientific American)

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.

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