Environmental change, economic development, and the constant demand for energy are profoundly affecting natural systems the world over. There are places where this is a good thing. New jobs, electricity, and new water sources can be great news for local populations. Unfortunately, they can also spell curtains for the singular landscapes and ecosystems that suddenly find themselves besieged. These are some of the beautiful places that may not be around for the next generation — places to visit before it's too late.
The Dead Sea
Why: One of the saltiest bodies of water on Earth, the Dead Sea is the world's original health resort. Herod the Great and Cleopatra allegedly took dips in the mineral-rich waters, which have been said to relieve ailments ranging from psoriasis to osteoarthritis. In the past four decades though, the lake has shrunk by 30 percent and sunk 80 feet. The culprits? Surrounding countries tapping the River Jordan, which is the Dead Sea's sole water source. Eli Raz, a researcher at the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, is alarmed by the plunging water levels, which are falling around 43 inches every year, despite heavy rainstorms. At the current rate, experts predict the Dead Sea will be gone within 50 years.
What to do: Access the Dead Sea from either the west shore (Israel) or east shore (Jordan), both of which host a variety of cultural attractions and health and wellness resorts, such as the eco-conscious Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea in Amman. On the Jordan side, the Amman Touristic Beach, a mile from the resort area, offers swimming pools and changing rooms for day-trippers.
More Info: visitjordan.com
Credit: Getty Images