How climate change limits access to emblematic natural attractions

The World Heritage List that is maintained by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Unesco) contains more than two hundred natural sites that are regarded as having exceptional value, either because of the scenic qualities they possess or because they are the natural habitat of species of flora and fauna that are deserving of additional protection.

However, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) also maintains a list of natural regions that are on the verge of extinction because of the effects of climate change or because of the actions of humans.

The impacts of global warming are most noticeable in glaciers, coral reefs, wetland regions, low-level deltas, and other locations that are especially vulnerable to fire.

In addition, many of these locations frequently serve as tourist destinations, making them commercially desirable. In light of this circumstance, several have instituted limits to preserve their conservation status or make it possible for tourists to visit them risk-free.

Heat contributes to an increased possibility of landslides occurring at Mont Blanc.

One region in Europe that is impacted the most by climate change is the Alps, specifically the glaciers there. To the point where access to some of the most popular paths among hikers who spend each summer hiking some of the most famous peaks in the Alps has been restricted for the past several weeks. Access to a dozen different summits, including Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn, is restricted to protect hikers from being buried alive by a landslide. There have been no treks to the Jungfrau for the past one hundred years.

Climbers and tourists already getting blocked on their way to Mont Blanc

Crevasses caused by drought and high temperatures on Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest peak at 4,809 meters, conclude with massive stones tumbling into the void, providing a significant risk to people who attempt to climb the mountain.

Additionally, massive crevasses have been revealed on the paths due to either a lack of snow or its melting. The snow passages that formerly existed to help climbers bypass these crevasses have been removed.

There is no official closure of these high mountain paths; instead, the guides have chosen to stop delivering their services to prevent more severe dangers. According to Pierre Mathey, the head of the Swiss organization of mountain guides, “Normally we see these closures in August, but now they have started at the end of June and continue into July,”

Similarly, the organization known as Guide Alpine Italiane announced that it would stop leading hikes to several destinations, including Mont Blanc and the Rochefort ridge. They stated on their Facebook page that they had decided to delay the climbs because, “Taking into account the particularly delicate conditions of the last few weeks, caused by a significant increase in temperature, we consider it necessary to postpone the climbs,” The group concludes its note that “The alpine guides are the sentinels of the mountains and have always kept an eye on the conditions of the glaciers, the walls and the paths to the summits,”

After two years of a pandemic that imposed constraints on mobility and the flow of foreign passengers, this past summer was the first time there was a return to normalcy in either of those areas. As a result, the choice was not an easy one to make.

This is not the first time that the alpine mountain range has been put in a precarious position similar to the one it is currently in. Already in another year with an unusually hot summer, 2015, the ascent of Mont Blanc from the French side was blocked for the same reasons as it is this year: the risk of rockfalls caused by the heat. Even the Goûter refuge was forced to close twice the same year (2015).

A precise zoning system that separates the many uses of the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, located in the waters off the coast of Queensland in Australia, is the biggest in the world and spans an area of 348,000 square kilometers. Fishing, scuba diving, or even just sailing among the reefs are just some of the activities that can be enjoyed at this destination, which is well regarded for the stunning underwater landscapes and diverse marine life.

Activists trying to raise the necessary awareness

However, this organism, which is thought to be the most prominent living thing on earth, has been suffering for years from a process known as coral bleaching, which is caused by an increase in the ocean’s temperature, which may foreshadow the organism’s eventual extinction. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Unesco) wants to add it to its list of global historical sites in jeopardy. Still, the Australian government is fighting this proposal. In any event, the administrators of the natural park that contains the most well-known reef in the world have partitioned the location into different zones. These zones each have their own set of regulations regarding the kinds of activities that are allowed, those that are not allowed, and those that require a permit.

Every tourist to Galapagos is required to study the official visitor handbook.

These islands were included in World Heritage natural landscapes at risk in 2007 and 2010. The Galapagos Islands, which receive around 200,000 tourists annually, could be removed from the environment due to improved management. The national park administration determines the maximum number of tour groups on each island simultaneously.

Protected areas help

Visitors are restricted in their movement and must remain in the company of an authorized guide at all times, except for so-called recreational sites, in which they are free to explore independently.

The Atsinanana Jungles are among the most inaccessible rainforests in the world.

Since 2007, it has been included in the World Heritage Sites maintained by UNESCO. It is comprised of a total of six national parks and thirteen distinct locations across the island country of Madagascar. Together, they make up virtually all of the surviving rainforest. Deforestation caused by logging and poaching of lemurs, particularly since the island’s political turmoil has been suffering since 2009, has put it in significant peril. Not to mention the world’s first nation affected by famine as a direct consequence of climate change.

As a result, Unesco has included it on their list of locations that are deemed to be in an endangered state since 2010. Only one of these parks, Marojejy, permits visitors to spend the night in one of its three campgrounds in one of the provided wooden huts.