At this point, climate change is affecting the world in more ways than most think. While the travel industry may not be at the top of your list when thinking of who environmental crisis is going to affect, you'd be surprised at how prominent the effects may be.
Many shrug off climate change as something that may not affect their generation, but it's important to think about the generations following you. Here are three big ways climate change is going to affect travel in the coming years.
1. Island vacations may slowly become a thing of the past if sea-levels continue rising at current rates. I know from personal experience that my yearly beach vacation in Destin, Florida has changed slightly every year -- the walk to the ocean has consistently grown shorter. A recent study found that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is collapsing, the effects of which are probably going to be irreversible. The collapse could result in up to 15 total feet of sea-level rise. This very year, villagers on the Carteret Islands evacuated their homes permanently, making them the first official “climate refugees.” Their island is expected to be completely underwater by 2015.
2. Conflict over climate will soon make some destinations unsafe for tourists. When climate refugees have to flock to new areas, it creates conflict, and we're already seeing it in places like Darfur, where hundreds of thousands of people over the past decade have been killed because of the role chronic drought and increasing deserts have played. And it's happening closer to home as well, such as the conflict between Texas and Mexico over recent water drought. Naturally, most tourists do not want to visit areas riddled with conflict.
3. Pollution and deforestation are making many once beautiful destinations a lot less beautiful. Along with the potential to affect national landmarks, sights like city skylines are slowly getting fogged up with air pollution, and natural wonders such as the Amazon Rainforest are slowly loosing their animal population -- in just the past 40 years, 20 percent of the rainforest has been destroyed.
What this all means is, if you want to see the world in a prime state, you need to start planning sooner than later. Regardless of whether we'll see the effects of climate change in this generation, it's crucial to consider how your children, grandchildren and so on will get to view the world.