Places to visit – and protect
When places are well-known and popular – historical and modern alike – we might take it for granted that they’ll be around forever. But sadly, many of the world’s best known and culturally significant landmarks are in jeopardy. Human activity has had a devastating effect on many valued places, including massive milestones of human achievement. And many of these are so much more than just tourist attractions – they’re unique, valuable remnants of ancient times and civilizations.
The Great Barrier Reef
This massive, once-thriving coral reef has suffered enormously over recent years, with coral bleaching – caused by climate change – stripping the coral of its nutrients. This, in turn, harms the rich marine life that calls the reef home. And, of course, this also depletes it of the dazzling colours that once were a hallmark of the Great Barrier Reef’s underwater wonder. The reef remains the largest coral reef ecosystem in the world, but projections have warned that the damage to it could become irreversible in the next 10 years.
Old City of Jerusalem
One of the world’s most spiritually significant places, the Old City of Jerusalem, is in danger of disappearing, UNESCO has found. The walls of the Old City are one of its trademark features. Most famously, the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, is a valuable pilgrimage site for people of the Jewish faith, one that dates back to around 20 BCE. The Wall is the only remnant of the city’s Second Temple. The city was actually listed on UNESCO’s list of endangered cultural sites in the 1980s. Widespread urbanisation has been found to pose a significant threat to the city.