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Travel and Global Warming: See While You Can

Almost every day there’s a story about the catastrophic effects of global warming. You only have to walk outside or watch the nightly news to see record temperatures, hurricanes, floods, and droughts. We live in San Diego County where we have had both hot and cold record-breaking, weather year after year. The effects of global warming have now forced us into considering global warming when planning our travels. No country or destination is immune from its effects – but to some popular vacation spots the damage is already is devasting.

Plan on visiting a national park or taking an Alaskan cruise? Jonathan B. Jarvis, Former Director of the National Park Service warns, “I believe climate change is fundamentally the greatest threat to the integrity of our national parks that we have ever experienced.”

In the last 50 years, Alaska’s annual average temperature increased at more than twice the rate of the rest of the United States. Southeast Alaska winters are 5 degrees warmer. Glacier Bay is expected to become warmer and drier, and Alaska has, reduced sea ice, shrinking glaciers, and earlier spring snowmelt. These manifestations increase bark beetle infestations, shoreline erosion, and significantly increase the devastation caused by forest fires. The impact is likely to dampen enthusiasm for Alaska cruises and vacations.

We have moved up our travel plans for visiting Antarctica before it melts into something else. Global warming is triggering not only significant physical changes to the continent but to its animal and fish populations as well. Penguin colonies who try to find survivable sea ice conditions are in trouble. Emperor penguins, which breed on sea ice, face virtual extinction with a 50% population decline in some of their colonies. Most of the glaciers and ice shelves have retreated with some completely disappearing. We want to see it before it’s gone.

Recently we heard a report about how oyster farming along the Pacific Coast of the United States is being devastated by acidification in the Pacific. Acidification which is caused by dramatic increases in carbon dioxide and sea-level rise threatens coastal tourism infrastructure and natural attractions everywhere in the world. Ski resorts are hurting because of shorter seasons. Rising of sea levels will eventually submerge small islands like island nations of Tuvalu and Kiribati, in the South Pacific, and will wreak havoc on coastal regions around the world, including all of our coastal cities and towns.

Africa’s fabled Mount Kilimanjaro will be ice-free in just 15 years, and droughts and floods will dramatically affect the wildlife. Scuba and snorkelers should take notice that in the past half-decade 27 percent of the world’s coral reefs have been destroyed due to increased water temperature with another 30 -plus percent in jeopardy. Global warming will broaden the range of malaria-bearing mosquitoes, affecting tourism destinations around the world – think of what the Zika virus did to South American tourism.

Our planet is under threat, see it while you can; and try to convince our knuckle-headed leaders, who pretend there’s nothing wrong, to get their heads out of their political behinds and do something about it.

Ron James

Ron James

Publisher/Travel Writer at Wine Dine & Travel Magazine
Ron James is the “wine, food and travel guy.” The San Diegan, is a nationally award-winningprint and onlinejournalist, designer, television producer and radio personality.He has worked for San Diego Magazine, Time Warner, Broadband Interactive Group, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Uptown News and SDNN. The native Californian’s nationally syndicated wine and food columns for CNS have appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world. He is an avid world traveler who is passionate about great wine and food and enthusiastically enjoys them every day!
Ron James

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