Disappearing Destinations: 37 Places in Peril and What Can Be Done to Help Save Them

Writers Kimberly Lisagor and Heather Hansen cover 37 one-of-a-kind travel destinations worldwide that are in eco-danger, from Yellowstone National Park to China’s Yangtze River Valley.
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Nepal Everest National Park
PEAKS IN PERIL: Everest is one of the many Himalayan Mountains that needs resuscitating (Christopher Herwig/Digital Vision/Getty)

So many travel destinations are in a state of environmental emergency, yet travelers continue visiting these popular spots without realizing that the sights they see are changing every day, and they’ll eventually disappear if we don’t reach out and offer some help. Disappearing Destinations uncovers the true dangers posed to 37 of our most beloved geographical wonders. Here we reveal five of these locations, with excerpts from the book adapted slightly for Away.com by authors Kimberly Lisagor and Heather Hansen. To find out more about these destinations and what you can do to help save them, pick up a copy of this eye-opening book.

Everest National Park
On May 29, 1942, Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first men to summit the world's highest mountain. As they stood atop the 29,035-foot-tall peak, surrounded by the glistening ice formations and sinister crevasses they had conquered as they scaled Mount Everest's southern face, an elated Norgay waved his ice ax adorned with the flags of Nepal, Great Britain, the United Nations, and India against the clear blue sky, and Hillary snapped photographs of what he later described as "the whole world spread out below us."

More than half a century later, at eighty-six, Hillary undertook an even greater challenge: saving the very landscape that his photographs had helped make legendary. "The warming of the environment of the Himalayas has increased noticeably over the last 50 years," he wrote in a press release distributed to media outlets worldwide in July 2005. "This had caused several and severe floods from glacial lakes and much disruption to the environment and local people." Hillary hoped to convince UNESCO's World Heritage Committee to add Everest National Park to its danger list, a designation that would mandate worldwide government intervention.

At least sixteen glacial lake outbursts have hit Nepal since 1935. Scientists with the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development in Kathmandu have since predicted that twenty of Nepal's glacial lakes are filling so quickly they could breach their walls by 2009. If an earthquake strikes the Himalayas, dozens could burst at once.

Published: 17 Jul 2008 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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