Special Report

Summer Getaways We’re Losing to Climate Change

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The Alps

When planning a trip to the Alps, tourists likely picture a pristine environment with densely-packed white snow. But much of the beauty in this mountainous region of Europe is at risk. Rising temperatures cut more than a month off of 2017’s snow season, as compared to that of 1960. Alpine ski resorts have resorted to blowing in fake snow to keep visitors coming, though natives say the look and feel the mountains used to have may never return.

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Easter Island

For centuries, the now-iconic moai statues of Easter Island have stood near the water’s edge. But this tiny island, more than 2,000 miles off the Chilean coast, is more susceptible to the effects of climate change than most places, and it is putting the statues at risk. As water levels rise, waves are moving higher and higher on Easter Island, eroding the ground supporting the centuries-old statues, according to a UN report. The tiny island of about 5,000 people hosts tens of thousands of visitors each year — tourists that would be lost if the islands fell into the water.

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Many of the summer getaways that are susceptible to climate change are losing features or attractions that draw tourists. But the islands that make up the Republic of Kiribati are at risk of becoming completely uninhabitable as oceans rise. The islands are, on average, six feet above sea level. Scientists believe the roughly 100,000 residents may have to abandon the islands by 2100.

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Tuvalu is a small chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean. Its relatively small size and isolated location have made it enticing to tourists and susceptible to climate change. For more than 25 years, its representatives have raised alarms that climate change could raise sea levels enough to submerge the islands. Even if waters never get that high, Tuvalu could still become uninhabitable, as rising sea levels have contaminated the nation’s groundwater resources with salt and reduced crop yields.

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Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is home to some of America’s rarest and most endangered animal and plant species. As the climate of the park changes, Yellowstone could be more vulnerable to devastating wildfires. Other shifts in temperature and precipitation patterns have wreaked havoc on fish, bird, and mammal populations that attract park visitors around the world.

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