100 Places to Remember before They Disappear

Article excerpt

Some of the most beautiful locales on earth could change radically--or vanish altogether--if climatologists' predictions prove correct. This sampling from a Newsweek special issue (on newsstands now) reminds us what's at stake--not just for the people, plants, and animals that inhabit these magical, fragile places, but for all of us.

Maldives-Indian Ocean: Famous for it's 1,200 tropical islands, snow-white beaches, swaying palm trees, and richly colored coral reefs, the Republic of Maldives stretches across more than 600 miles. With 80 percent of the country less than 3.3 feet above sea level, rising ocean levels and a potential increase in the intensity of tropical storms pose a serious threat.

Chicago-Illinois: The Windy City has been the Midwest's center of transportation, industry, finance, and entertainment since it was founded in the 1830s on the shore of Lake Michigan. More than 9.5 million people now live in the Chicago metro area, making it the third-most-populous city in the U.S. In the coming years, the city could experience a gradual yet dramatic increase in heat waves and flooding.

Kauai-Hawaii, U.S.A.: The fourth largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai is one of the wettest spots on earth. Large parts of the mountainous island are swathed in cloud, which protects its lush and mossy forests--home to the colorful Hawaiian honeycreeper, an endangered bird. …