Saying that the planet is continually evolving is an apparent thing, but it’s real. There are many areas that can be distinguished for their elegance or for their historical value, and many of those places are endangered, either by geopolitical conditions, climate change, human carelessness, or just bad luck. You may assume that all of these places are in nature and under some form of hazard, but that isn’t the situation! There are also several large and iconic buildings made by man that have passed their age.
And that’s the issue with lists like this as well. That can potentially make the situation worse if these places are pointed out and lots of people start visiting them. But once again, if tourist dollars are used correctly, the influx of foreign tourists will produce money that could be used for maintenance and restoration. You will redesign their profile for future generations by visiting these destinations. Or, if you’re something of an egotistical sort, you can boast of being one of the last people to see it in person. Regardless, until they’re gone, here are few places to visit, enjoy, and sing their praises to others.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is not only a national park, a World Heritage Site, and an enormous tourist destination, but it is also sacred to various Native American tribes. Nevertheless, plans for a gondola ride, mineral extraction, residential construction, gaudy hotels and spas, even more than the guardrails and tourist trappings already do, aim to ruin the natural charm of the canyon.
Old U.S. Mint, San Francisco, California
Established in 1874, the Old Mint is a symbol of the legacy of San Francisco as a gold rush boomtown. The structure still remains empty and decaying as tech-fueled prosperity pops up all around it, one of the few structures to withstand the 1906 earthquake.
Per day, the Taj Mahal in India receives 40,000 or more visitors. You’d think that the building will get the treatment it needs with that kind of worldwide coverage. Unfortunately, emissions from the local environment and a lack of internal upkeep have caused the Indian Supreme Court, if action is not taken, to try to tear it down.
Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan Province, China
Jiuzhaigou’s pristine lakes and animals, including pandas, are one of our must-see forests and are endangered by the same people who come to Tibet to see them. The depreciation on the landscape is beginning to become evident, with over a million visitors rallying to them a year, and the developments that seem to satisfy the tourists have raised even more worries.
Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, Australia
A huge coral reef off the coast of Queensland is the Great Barrier Reef. It’s the biggest living being on earth by any measure, and it’s definitely one of the most magnificent surroundings that a human can see in another world. Unfortunately, the region has been damaged by construction along the coast, including natural gas plants. Natural threats, such as coral-eating starfish, also exist. All in all, the region is decaying so rapidly that by 2050 it could totally die out.
Palmyra, Tadmur, Syria
The civil war in Syria is actively destroying this ancient Semitic city in Syria. In 2015, the Islamic State seized the area, killing the archaeologist who had been taking charge of the ruins for 40 years and demolishing structures that had existed for almost 2,000 years. As Syria continues to bombard the terrorist group out of the area, the loss of the historical site could get much worse. Since the 1st century, the ruins of ancient Palmyra have been around and Greco-Roman architecture has been mixed with Persian elements to create something entirely new, something that is being neglected right now.
If you grew up Christian, Islamic or Jewish, so the history of the Dead Sea is familiar to you. In most Eastern religions, it’s a well-known element, but it’s diminishing. Around 3,000 sinkholes have opened up since 1980. There’s about one sinkhole opening every day right now. This has caused the depletion of water every year to around four feet.
Rainforests of the Atsinanana, Madagascar
In Eastern Madagascar, these rainforests consist of 6 national parks. The animals living here have evolved in solitude and are recognizable in the world. Illegal deforestation and hunting for lemurs, however, continue to destroy the ecology of this special area.
Timbuktu is an ancient, old town. It first became a permanent settlement back in the 12th century and, during the early days of the Mali Empire, was an important part of the trade in the region. A cultural and academic beacon in Africa was this place. Timbuktu, as such, has immense historical value, as well as beautifully stunning ruins emerging from the stands of the desert. But the city has been regularly targeted by militant organizations such as Boko Haram and al-Qaeda-affiliated Ansar Dine, ironically threatening to destroy a few of the world’s most important ancient Islamic records and scholarships.
A.G. Gaston Motel, Birmingham, Alabama
This hotel acted as the command center for Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights activists in the grow to the March on Washington. It’s a suitable locale—the hotel was built by the grandson of a slave and was one of the few locations in Birmingham where black guests were given an overnight stay. Celebrities like Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie have lived here. Although the building is still maintained by the city, it is decaying and vandalized without any solid restoration plans.