Borneo, the third largest island, is mainly in Malaysia and Indonesia. In both countries deforestation and the expansion of palm tree plantations – often illegally – is destroying and reshaping whole ecosystems. Research done by the Rainforest Alliance concluded that deforestation accounts for 10 percent of global CO2 emissions because the greenhouse gases that they absorb and store are being released during the process. The Bornean Orangutan and Bornean Elephant already are stated as endangered by WWF. The International Union for Conservation even put the Orangutan as critically endangered with a decrease of 60 percent in the last 50 years. The journey includes visiting the last areas of rainforest and searching for the last surviving numbers of Orangutans.
The notorious beach city is already facing ongoing flooding with the threat of fundamental destruction and reshaping. Scientists are expecting the sea level to rise more than 61 centimetres during the next 50 years and the city already has to fight against the consequences of climate change. However, in contrast to emerging countries, the city of Miami has enough money to work against the water and probably prevent possible worst case scenarios. Close by are the famous Everglades, the most threatened park in the US and one of the highest representatives of UNESCOs danger list. The journey includes staying in the city of Miami and a boat trip to the dying Everglades.
Known for its beautiful resorts and photogenic beaches, the Maldives awaits an unfortunate fate due to climate change. The highest mountain’ of the country is 2,3 meters tall, making it one of the lowest nations on earth. Soon the first islands will perish in the ocean with the rest of the country following. According to scientists even 20 to 60 centimetres would be sufficient to make the whole country inhabitable and current estimations talk of at least a meter if not two or three. The Maldives even acquired terrain on the mainland to relocate their inhabitants but the islands are a beauty not to be missed. The journey includes island hopping to the most sensational getaways before they become history.
The Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia’s biggest attractions and the largest coral reef in the world, is going down under and dying due to climate change. The vegetation simply is not able to adapt that quickly to the rising ocean temperatures and worsening level of pollution. Over the last three decades half of the reef has vanished, so better visit quickly before the vivid colours and vibrant corals turn into white structures of death. In a country where every animal tries to kill you, the Koalas are a more than welcome furry relief. However, because of the rise in temperature leading to wildfires and droughts, the Eucalyptus tree – which is the main source of food for the Koala – is expected to decrease is numbers. The journey includes a three-day diving course at the Great Barrier Reef plus a search for the last Koalas in the wild.
Kenya, Somalia & Ethiopia
Stable water supply is an issue in huge areas of Africa and the consequences of climate change bring periods of drought to some regions while causing flooding in others. The United Nations has already called out a hunger crisis in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia as small families and farmers increasingly suffer under a lack of nutrition. In the Kenyan district of Mbeere, locals are not able to predict the weather anymore and will be forced to move to other regions as the draughts continue and are getting more intense which will lead to further food insecurities and conflicts. The Kilimanjaro is probably the most urgent destination as Africa’s biggest mountain already lost 85 percent of its ice. Current estimations predict that the rest of the ice on the peak could melt in the next 5 to 20 years, making it merely a big rock. The journey includes a countryside visit, safari and the hiking of the last ice on Kilimanjaro.
Due to climate change the glaciers in the Himalayans will see a reduction of 40 percent until 2050. As the region is the source of the Ganges, Mekong, Yangtze and other rivers that support life for more than 2 billion people, a weak supply of nutrition is the consequence. In an extreme scenario, this water shortage could lead to national disturbances like the crisis and civil war in Syria with millions of refugees. United Nations is estimating that within the next 25 years most conflicts will be held over water – India, China, Nepal and neighbouring countries could suffer the most and undergo fundamental aggravations. The Giant Panda is endangered and climate change will further eliminate 40 percent of the bamboo habitat in China and thus endanger the animal to an even greater degree. Beijing however will not be part of the tour because of the unhealthy air conditions. The journey includes hiking in the Himalayas of Nepal and Tibet, then searching for the last Pandas in the wild.
Haiti & Dominican Republic
Soil erosion, deforestation, heavier rainfalls, more frequent hurricanes and earthquakes, the rising sea level – you name it. There is a reason why Haiti is among the top countries in the climate change vulnerability index by the risk consultancy firm Maplecroft. Haiti and Dominican Republic, but also other countries in the Caribbean – like Cuba –, has dozens of cities that will suffer over the next 50 years and several will vanish completely as there is not enough money to fight the rising water. Kilometres of white beach will be gone, fresh water will be polluted and vivid green areas will be dead. The island should be visited in its beauty before it’s too late! The journey includes a culture and beach trip around Haiti, Dominican Republic and Cuba.
Being one of the richest countries in terms of natural resources (like Coltan which we have in our smartphones) Congo is still one of the poorest countries on earth with 70% of its inhabitants living below the poverty line. The world’s second largest rainforest is located here but United Nations predicts that two-third of it will be destroyed in the next 20 years. Not only will a beautiful part of nature be lost but also several exceptional animals in this region. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature concluded that the numbers of Gorillas has already decreased by 70 or 80 percent and the animal is listed as critically endangered. The journey includes a rainforest tour and searching for the last surviving Gorillas.
In 2013 the island state was hit by a strong typhoon named Haiyan, and hurricanes will only proliferate over time. It is estimated that even a global temperature rise of 1 percent could double the number of hurricanes. The country is heavily dependent on tourism and agriculture, especially fishing. Both industries will be weakened and lead to citizens abandoning their islands and moving to big cities to find shelter. Besides spending time on one of the peaceful islands before they disappear in the sea, it is recommended to spend time in the beautiful rice terraces that will dry out and be destroyed by hurricanes over time. The journey includes a get-away island, snorkelling with endangered whale sharks and doomed wonders of nature like the rice terraces of Banaue.
The Climate Change Vulnerability Index clearly defined Bangladesh as one of the most endangered countries, as water and food insecurities will become an even bigger problem in the future. In addition, the World Bank estimates that even a rise of the sea level of 14 cm would affect around 20 million people – 17% of the country is not higher than one meter. But the flood is also coming from a melting of the Himalayan glaciers in addition to an increasing number of cyclones. Therefore, more than 20 million climate refugees will emerge and flee their homeland. The mangrove-dwelling tiger who lives in the World Heritage Site of Sundarbans, the world’s biggest mangrove region, will go instinct as flooding and deforestation takes their habitat. According to WWF the number of tigers has already dropped by 97 percent. The journey includes sightseeing in Bangladesh’s countryside and looking for the rare tigers of the irrecoverable mangrove forest.
Bolivia, Peru & Brazil
The Amazon covers 40 percent of South America but besides deforestation, climate change leads to extreme draughts and huge forest fires. WWF estimates that 2% of wildlife is being lost every year and since 1970 more than 58 percent of the overall numbers of animals have disappeared. Greenpeace sees most species in danger, such as jaguars, bears, tigers, sloths and elephants. The animals must adapt to the warming by consuming more food and water which results in a lack of time for reproduction. A 2 degree increase of temperature would kill up to 40 percent of the diverse rainforest and its wildlife. Bolivia, Peru and Brazil also face problems with water – lack of supply and increasing demand lead to water shortages, crop failure and instability of food for the population. The journey includes enjoying the wildlife of the condemned Amazon and visiting major attractions in Bolivia and Peru before water crises emerge.
Austria, Switzerland & Italy
Ranging over several countries, the massive Alps in the heart of Europe lose 3% of their glaciers every year as the region warms three times faster than the worldwide average. Calculations by the University of Zurich show that most parts of the ice could be gone by 2050. The World Conference on Sport and Environment has declared that the famous skiing resort of Kitzbühlen in Austria is the most at risk of turning into a snowless empty town. Besides the thrilling event of skiing, the extremely tasty tap water that supplies 40 percent of Europe has its spring here. Furthermore effecting industrialised countries, the NGO Oxfam expects an additional rise in the price of staple foods from 50-90 percent until 2030 – just because of climate change. The journey includes hiking and skiing around the last glaciers of the Alps and tasting the diminishing supply of the best quality drinking water.
The World Bank declares that climate change is hitting the hardest in developing countries. Experts estimate that the rapid loss of species due to climate change is 1000 till 10000 times faster than the natural extinction rate. This is especially critical on Africa’s most famous island, as 80 percent of the wildlife in Madagascar can be found nowhere else on the planet. Most of the unique animals have never been recorded, and as the rainforest has already decreased to approximately 20 percent of its original area, most species will be lost forever. The Rainforest Alliance stated that agriculture is responsible for an estimated 10 percent of worldwide green gas emissions. For creating new fields, massive forests like in Madagascar are cut down that otherwise would absorb CO2 and thus slow climate change. The journey includes exploring the very last spots of rainforest, looking for geckos, chameleons, monkeys and maybe even new species.
The Global Climate Risk Index concluded that extreme natural disasters are specifically momentous in poor countries who are the least responsible for climate change and its consequences. Heavier monsoons and stronger and more frequent cyclones will affect countries like Burma, giving it a top rank in the Global Climate Risk Index. Another risk report published by the World Economic Forum identified water resources and security as the main issue and greatest risk over the next years – leading to social, political and economic challenges and crisis in a country that already endured decades of military regime. Sharks and manta rays are highly endangered in South East Asia as both animals suffer from warming, pollution and a lack of plankton, the main source of food for manta rays. The journey includes the magic highlights of Burma like Bagan and manta diving before the country will be hit by another series of crises.
The World Resource Institute stated that Chile, Israel and Spain are faced with extremely weak water supply, less rain and the exhaustion of groundwater over the next 10 to 20 years. With more and more people moving to cities, there is an even stronger pressure of getting clean water – specially in combination with the population becoming wealthier, leading to an increase in water consumption. Greenpeace sees significant potential for conflicts between water used for domestic, agricultural and industrial users. This might lead to a critical shortage and even violent conflicts. Nature is suffering too with areas of freshwater lakes and mountains that will dry out and glaciers in the far south Patagonia region that melt as fast as the Arctic or the close by Antarctic. The journey includes Chile’s culture and unique lakes, deserts and glaciers before they become history.
2% of the CO2 generated by humans is due to air transport. The biggest costs for Airlines are coming from fuel, so they are constantly trying to implement fuel efficiency improvements. These include experimenting with less weight, different devices and flying technics as well as sustainable alternative aviation fuels, which are already used on a small increasing scale. Several NGOs and organisations of air transport identified the airlines working the most towards alternative fuels and sustainability, which are Lufthansa, KLM and Virgin Airlines.