The world is full of wonders, but over time, these can become lost. Whether through human or natural interference, the damage that’s done to them may not always be reversible.
It’s amazing how many natural wonders there are out there in the world. From coral reefs to rock formations, the Earth is home to the most unbelievable things. We still don’t understand how all of these wonders came to be, but we’re grateful for everything that this planet has achieved. It might have taken millions of years, but the wait was definitely worth it.
Unfortunately, despite all the beauty in the world, the future is looking pretty dark. Plenty of these wonders are fading away, and humans have a big hand in that. A lot of landmarks are disappearing due to our interference, from causing pollution to intentionally damaging property. While natural causes also play a significant part, there’s no denying our involvement.
If these wonders were to be lost, it would have a significant impact on tourism. After all, these landmarks are often the reason that people travel to a certain area. If they weren’t around anymore, visitors would have less of a reason to go somewhere and help the local economy thrive.
Legzira Beach (Morocco)
If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation, a spot by the coast is always a good idea. Lying on the golden sand and soaking up the sun is a great way to spend a week. That’s why so many tourists like to visit Legzira Beach in Morocco.
Unfortunately, this part of the world isn’t quite what it used to be thanks to the changing landscape. In 2016, one of the two archways that were considered natural wonders collapsed. Cracks had been forming for months beforehand, so the tragedy hadn’t come out of the blue. However, that didn’t make the loss any less tragic.
Temple of Bel (Syria)
While some of the world’s favorite tourist locations are being destroyed by natural activity, most are disappearing thanks to human interference. That’s certainly what happened with the Temple of Bel. The monumental building in the ancient city of Palmyra became a victim of the war in Syria in 2015.
It had stood proud since the 1st or 2nd century, but that didn’t matter during the conflict. Now, all that stands amidst the rubble are two pillars. It makes you wonder how much more of the world we might lose if these wars continue. Fighting causes more problems than it solves.
Joshua Tree National Park (California)
For every person that loves and respects nature, there seems to be another who wants to destroy it. The incident at Joshua Tree National Park earlier this year proved that. During the government shutdown, there weren’t as many rangers patrolling the area and keeping the place protected.
Some people saw that as an opportunity to bring chaos to the national park, cutting down trees and leaving graffiti everywhere. Apparently, the damage that was done in just a few weeks could take around 200 to 300 years to recover from. That’s assuming nothing else happens to it during that time, of course.
Lake Mckenzie (Australia)
Bush fires are unfortunately not too uncommon in places like Australia. All it takes is one spark to cause disaster here, with the destruction spreading at a concerning rate. Of all the fires we’ve seen Down Under, the ones that affected Tasmania in early 2016 were definitely some of the worst.
20,000 hectares of wilderness were affected by the flames, with Lake Mckenzie particularly devastated by what happened. Several unique species of plant were burned to a crisp, and there’s no chance of seeing them revive. It’ll be years before things return to normal here, although they’ll never be quite the same.
Brimham Rocks (England)
England is home to several wonders, and the Brimham Rocks are one of them. However, not everyone seems to appreciate their natural beauty. That’s why, in 2018, several people decided to give the place a makeover. They toppled one of the rocks here, causing it to hit the ground and smash into pieces.
The stone had survived the dinosaurs, but apparently, it was no match for a couple of hooligans. Landmarks like this can only survive so long as everyone respects and takes care of them. As soon as people start acting like this, the monuments risk being lost forever.
The Taj Mahal (India)
Considering it’s such a monumental building, you probably wouldn’t think that somewhere like the Taj Mahal was at risk of fading away. After all, if something that size were about to crumble, you’d probably notice it, right? Unfortunately, it seems the impressive landmark is actually in more danger than we thought.
Pollution in the air has been eroding the building for years, as has all the foot traffic from tourists. That’s why the UNESCO heritage site could be closed to the public in a matter of years. It’s potentially the only way to stop the building from falling to the ground.
Global warming is a hot topic among many people right now, particularly those in a position of power. While some believe it doesn’t exist, the evidence is hard to deny in parts of the world. Places like the Maldives have become increasingly threatened recently because of rising greenhouse gases influencing the sea level.
Given the islands only sit around six feet above the water, there’s a good chance they’ll be submerged if the sea level continues ascending. That’s why plans are in place to make the area carbon neutral by next year, although that alone won’t be enough to save it.
The Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
For years, people have been talking about the dangers faced by the Great Barrier Reef. This vibrant ecosystem has long been threatened by changes in global temperature, although that’s not the only thing putting it at risk. Tourism has also brought damage to the reef, as has acid pollution.
At the rate things are going, the Great Barrier Reef could be lost by 2050. Apparently, half of it has gone already, prompting a wealth of efforts to save what’s left. Unfortunately, unless everyone comes together to try and make a significant change, it might be too late for this natural wonder.
Everglades National Park (Florida)
Having the reputation of being the most threatened park in the US is probably not something to be proud of. Unfortunately, that’s the title that’s been given to Everglades National Park in Florida which is currently facing a wealth of problems. One of the biggest issues affecting the wetlands is the presence of fertilizers, which have greatly polluted the water here.
These chemicals have threatened the livelihood of the local wildlife, one of the things that attract tourists to the area. Other issues like invasive species and urbanization have also influenced the delicate balance of the national park, giving us cause for concern.
The Grand Canyon (Arizona)
Considering how expansive the Grand Canyon is, it’s hard to believe that somewhere like this might be in danger. However, just as with other landmarks, the area is at risk of changing dramatically due to human interference. It’s reportedly one of the most endangered parts of the US because of all the development projects going on nearby.
Things like uranium mining, as well as the constant flow of tourists, could impact the current state of this landmark. The changes might not be immediate, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a significant issue. Once things are gone, they can’t be brought back.
The main reason Jordan gets over four million tourists is that so many people want to visit the half-built city of Petra. The incredible architecture here is something that tourists love to marvel at because you rarely see craftsmanship like this anymore.
Unfortunately, while Petra might be a big hit for visitors, the city people love is slowly disappearing. That’s mostly down to natural interference by the elements, with wind and rain gradually eating away at the rock. However, tourists don’t help things by touching the walls all the time. That’s why you should avoid doing it all costs when you’re there.
The Great Wall of China (China)
If you wanted to walk from one side of the Great Wall of China to the other, you’d be in for quite a trek. Covering around 13,170 miles, this incredible structure would take several months to traverse, and that’s only if you didn’t stop moving. Of course, the landmark might not be so hard to walk across in the future if certain factors get their way.
Things like natural erosion and the selling of bricks have caused significant damage to the wall. Around two-thirds of it have been impacted by these elements, and we expect the problem will only get worse.
Duckbill rock formation (Oregon)
Once upon a time, the Pacific Northwest attracted a great deal of tourism thanks to one intriguingly shaped rock formation. The landmark in question was a pile of sandstone that had taken on the form of a duck’s bill. This was caused by natural erosion, which gradually wore away the rock until only this unique shape remained.
The formation was so beloved that measures were put in place to protect it, but that didn’t stop some vandals from destroying it in 2016. Losing the landmark was devastating for many people, and it showed exactly why human interference is destroying nature.
Goblin Valley State Park (Utah)
This is unfortunately not the only instance of such vandalism in America. Several years earlier in 2013, a couple of guys decided to bring destruction to Goblin Valley State Park in Utah. The area is notable for its goblin landmarks which were created by soft rack being trapped under hard rock.
Years of erosion wore away the bottom of the formation, resulting in figures believed to resemble the mythical creatures. The visitors in 2013 apparently took offense to the rock formations, claiming them to be a safety hazard. That’s why then went ahead and dismantled one. Thankfully, they were charged for their crimes.
Tree of Ténéré (Niger)
There’s something intriguing and mystical about a single tree growing in the Sahara Desert. That’s why the Tree of Ténéré was once such an extraordinary landmark. It was the only piece of vegetation like this for 250 miles, and it apparently marked a waypoint for nomads for centuries.
Unfortunately, this remarkable piece of nature was destroyed in the 1970s by a drunk driver of all people. Apparently, a Libyan driver who was under the influence crashed into the tree, knocking it down. Luckily, the remains of it now exist at the Niger National Museum, so the landmark can still be admired by visitors.
The Dead Sea (Jordan/Israel)
While we’re used to seawater being a bit salty, the Dead Sea takes that to the extreme. The whole place is made of salt, something that apparently makes it great for certain therapeutic purposes. Plenty of tourists take a dip in the water to ease their ailments, although they may not be able to do that for much longer.
Supposedly, in the last 40 years, a third of the Dead Sea has vanished. The water is now 80 feet shallower than it used to be due to human interference with the River Jordan. Who knows where it will be in another 40 years.
The Aral Sea (Kazakhstan/Uzbekistan)
A similar thing has happened to the Aral Sea, although the impact has been much more significant. This body of water was once considered the fourth largest lake in the world, but irrigation projects caused it to shrink rapidly. By the late ’90s, it had split into four separate lakes, several of which have now completely dried up.
At the rate things are going, there won’t be any water left in the Aral Sea at all. Of course, what is there isn’t that great anyway given it’s mostly polluted with fertilizer and pesticides. This is definitely not nature at its finest.
Grotte de Lascaux (France)
Cave paintings are some of the oldest evidence you’ll ever find of human life in the distant past. Unfortunately, these incredible pieces of art aren’t that easy to maintain after so many years. The conditions required to keep them safe are very specific, which is why the popularity of Grotte de Lascaux nearly destroyed them.
The cave, which is home to 500 limestone engravings, was a massive hit with tourists after its discovery in the ’40s. However, the heat and humidity brought in by all these people caused a fungus problem that nearly destroyed the paintings. Now, it’s closed to the public.
Boeung Kak Lake (Cambodia)
Boeung Kak Lake is yet another body of water that’s seen disastrous changes over the years. Tourists used to come in their thousands to stay by the water and enjoy the beautiful views it offered. Unfortunately, in 2007, agreements were made that allowed the site to start being developed.
In a matter of years, most of the water was gone. Around 90% of it had been replaced by sand to allow for the construction of homes and other buildings in the area. The near-destruction of the lake had a significant impact on tourism, as well as eliminating most wildlife in the area.
Ayers Rock (Australia)
Australia is known for many things, but one of its most iconic landmarks is Ayers Rock. It’s stood for over 600 million years, although admittedly it hasn’t spent all that time above the water. Changes in sea level have seen the rock go from being submerged to standing nearly 1250 feet tall.
It makes the landmark quite a challenge to climb, not that people are supposed to go up there. The indigenous tribes don’t want tourists climbing the rock and tarnishing the area, but people do so anyway. That’s why certain wildlife species like the Branchinella Latzi no longer exist up there.
Glacier National Park (Montana)
While there are plenty of national parks around the US, not all of them are home to glaciers. That’s why places like Glacier National Park in Montana are so exciting to visit. You can enjoy a hike through the wilderness while also admiring the cold, icy views of the surrounding mountains.
Of course, if global warming has its way, that will soon change. The park has apparently gone from having over 150 glaciers to just 25 of them, with fears that those will disappear in a few decades too. That would dramatically change the landscape of this tourist spot forever.
Chacaltaya glacier (Bolivia)
The Chacaltaya glacier in Bolivia is an excellent example of what can happen when high temperatures impact such a vulnerable ecosystem. The area used to be a popular ski resort which was notable for being one of the highest in the world. However, climate change saw dramatic and irreversible changes to the environment.
By 2001, around 80% of the glacier had already disappeared, with the rest gone just eight years later. That had a significant impact on tourism in the area, with the old ski resort now nothing more than a ghost town up in the mountains. How times have changed.
Nazca Lines (Peru)
For over 2,000 years, people have been intrigued by the Nazca Lines. No-one’s too sure why they came to be, but the mystery surrounding them makes them all the more exciting to see. That’s why it’s so unfortunate to see people choosing to harm rather than help these amazing pieces of history.
The fact the landmark sits so close to the Pan-American highway hasn’t helped things, with drivers occasionally going off-road and damaging the site. While this could potentially be considered an accident, one truck driver intentionally went off the road in 2018, causing damage to several of the geoglyphs.
Torres del Paine National Park (Chile)
If you’re ever in Chile, a visit to Torres del Paine National Park is a must. This area is home to some of the world’s best natural wonders, including stunning rock formations and impressive glaciers. However, if you do visit the park, don’t do what so many people have done before you and set the place on fire.
It’s concerning how frequently fires get started here, with the disaster a seemingly regular occurrence since 2005. What makes it worse is that most of the fires were caused by people who were camping in places where they were forbidden to stay.
Maya Beach (Thailand)
We’re not surprised that Maya Beach was once considered a tourist hotspot. With white sand and crystal clear water, it was the perfect destination for a sunny vacation. Unfortunately, the popularity of the area meant that it became damaged over time. Severe pollution problems nearly destroyed the coral in the area and significantly impacted the local ecology.
That’s why officials decided to close down the beach at the end of 2018. Until the coast has been rehabilitated, tourists can’t be trusted to spend time there. This may be the only way to prevent the natural beauty of this location from being lost forever.
If you’ve ever looked to go on a romantic getaway with a significant other, there’s a high chance that you have contemplated Venice. After all, it’s one of the most romantic places in the world, and the floating city is known for helping couples fall in love. However, it seems as though Venice itself is also falling.
With rising water levels caused by global warming becoming a serious threat to our livelihoods, the people of Venice are already seeing the effects for themselves. In fact, experts suggest that the city could be underwater as soon as 2100 if action is not taken.
Notre Dame (Paris)
Millions of people make their way to Paris every single year, and many of them do so to catch a glimpse of the famous Notre-Dame de Paris. Work on this ancient cathedral began in the mid-1100s, and it stood tall as world wars raged around it, and natural disasters. In fact, most people thought it was invincible.
Unfortunately, this cathedral came crumbling down in April 2019 when the roof of the cathedral caught fire. The iconic symbol of Paris burned for a whopping 15 hours and sustained serious damage. Although it’s going to be rebuilt exactly how it was before, it just won’t be the same.
Amazon Rainforest (Brazil)
You may have seen trees and forests over the course of your life, but there’s a high chance that you’ve never seen anything quite like the Amazon Rainforest. Located in the heart of Brazil, the Amazon is often called the “Lungs of the Earth,” as the trees produce a huge percentage of our oxygen every single year.
However, we have seen drastic changes to this rainforest over the years – and even recently with the devastating fires that have plagued the mammoth area. Despite the gargantuan size, a large portion of the trees – and the animals that call the Amazon their home – have perished. Nobody quite knows what this means for the world just yet.
Mexico City (Mexico)
Mexico City has always been a popular tourist attraction for those across the globe, but there’s no doubt about the fact that this place is being lost to the earth. Yes, did you know that Mexico City is actually sinking at an alarming rate? This is because dwindling nearby water sources are forcing the ground to sink, and this is ultimately making buildings weak and unstable.
Because Mexico City is also prone to earthquakes and other natural disasters, buildings are collapsing, and livelihoods are being ruined. In some areas, the ground is sinking by a whopping 15 inches every single year.
Machu Picchu (Peru)
If you’re the kind of person that loves to explore relics of the past, then a trip to Machu Picchu might be on the cards. However, you might want to rethink these plans, as tourists are causing this ancient city to crumble into the earth.
While natural erosion is common in areas as old as Machu Picchu, the thousands of people who walk upon this civilization every single year are not helping the matter. To help Machu Picchu stay alive for a little longer, local authorities have limited the amount of people allowed to trek here every day. Hopefully, that will help.