Going, going …
Think of what’s on your places-to-see-before-I-die-list. Chances are, at least one of those spots can be found in Disappearing Destinations: 37 Places in Peril and What Can be Done to Help Save Them, a book by Kimberly Lisagor and Heather Hansen, released this week through Vintage Books.
The Galapagos Islands, the Swiss Alps, the Great Barrier Reef, Yellowstone National Park, Venice—they’re all there. Climate change is affecting everything from ski resorts to wineries. Resource extraction is destroying Appalachian mountainsides and tropical rainforests. A major hydropower project could a pristine rivers in Patagonia, Chile. Reckless development, poor land management and budget shortfalls are impacting far too many places to mention. And some places are simply being loved to death, such as at Macchu Picchu, where more than 700,000 tourists trample its delicate landscape every year.
Despite all the gloom and doom, the book provides a silver lining—small though it may be—by including what some people in these places are doing to try to preserve them. Often, this is through eco-tourism, an attempt to make protecting the planet profitable, which is something bureaucrats and industry occasionally can get behind. Other times, it’s a gentle plea to readers to either back off or become more responsible travelers.