The world’s beauty is at risk


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Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls, on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, usually spans 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) and its waters plummet 100 meters (350 feet) into the canyon below. During the dry season, it shrinks, but this past year, the falls shrank to barely a trickle, when a climate change-fueled megadrought struck the region. Now, its waterfalls have returned. But shifts like these between weather extremes can be devastating for people and ecosystems that depend on a reliable water source.

Shutterstock

Updated 2317 GMT (0717 HKT) April 21, 2020

Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls, on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, usually spans 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) and its waters plummet 100 meters (350 feet) into the canyon below. During the dry season, it shrinks, but this past year, the falls shrank to barely a trickle, when a climate change-fueled megadrought struck the region. Now, its waterfalls have returned. But shifts like these between weather extremes can be devastating for people and ecosystems that depend on a reliable water source.

Shutterstock

The world is full of natural wonders, but at a time when borders are closing and travel is restricted, seeing them in person is not a realistic option for many people. Thankfully, technology lets us to see the world virtually and visit these magical places — if only through our screens.

You may recognize many of the stunning landscapes in this gallery from your own travels, Instagram or your desktop screen savers. For some, they can bring calm to a hectic day or an escape from the reality of a pandemic.

But these images also serve as a warning. Because of human-caused climate change, these incredible places are at grave risk of changing forever.

For 50 years, Earth Day has brought attention to the impacts that people are having on the planet, and to serve as a rallying cry to protect the natural world — from your neighborhood green space to bucket list destinations.

This year, the theme of Earth Day, which is Wednesday, is a call to action is to halt the climate crisis and to preserve these landmarks for generations to come. If not, these photos could look drastically different in another 50 years.

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