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May 07, 2008

37 Places to See Before THEY Die

Disdest by Brook Wilkinson

The snows of Kilimanjaro are melting. The Great Barrier Reef is being bleached a ghostly white.

Some of our most beloved iconic destinations (yes, the very ones listed in Patricia Schultz's 1,000 Places to See Before You Die) are dying. And it's our fault, thanks to the twin terrors of global warming and rampant over-tourism.

That's the thesis of Disappearing Destinations, a new book by Kimberly Lisagor and Heather Hansen. Conde Nast Traveler contributor Pico Iyer sums it up well in his introduction:

"Nowhere looks quite so startling as when we first met it, and for a certain kind of traveler, every change is a change for the worse. . . . Many of the marvels of our collective inheritance are disappearing."

Most of us already know about the stresses on Mount Everest (a garbage dump of used oxygen tanks and abandoned equipment) and Venice (the city is sinking, thanks to the rising sea level brought on by global warming). But Lisagor and Hansen detail the dangers in some unexpected places--the Napa Valley, the Alps, Kenya's Maasailand. It's a compelling read, with a happier ending than you might expect: In each destination, the authors profile concerned citizens working to reverse the disappearance of our favorite destinations.

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