From Publishers Weekly
The expression tourist hot spot takes on new meaning in this fact-packed survey of travel destinations endangered by global warming, environmental degradation, predatory logging, mining and fishing and the impact of too many tourists. In 37 essays, travel journalists Lisagor and Hansen vividly document places in peril, ranging from the ocean nations of Tuvalu and the Maldives, slowly submerging beneath rising waters, to the historic ski chalets of the Alps, where snow is falling less and melting faster. The catalogue of disasters is chilling: the glaciers are vanishing from America's Glacier National Park; the ancient city of Timbuktu in central Mali is succumbing to desertification; warming seas are bleaching Australia's Great Barrier Reef; dry winters and inept water management have drained life from the Rio Grande; and the relentless march of hundreds of thousands of enthralled tourists is causing irrevocable damage to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu. The authors' accounts of how the world's beauty is being despoiled, based on sharp on-site reporting, are a cautionary call to arms for tourists to fight environmental excesses and, when traveling, to tread lightly. (Apr.)
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Dive into any chapter in this unusual and ensnaring collection, the one on Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays, let’s say, or Mount Rainer, or the Dead Sea, and you enter the pleasure zone of vivid, smart travel writing. But journalists Lisagor and Hansen quickly break the spell by chronicling the environmental devastation under way in the planet’s most glorious places. Lisagor and Hansen not only vividly document the problems but also seek solutions in conversations with activists determined to halt mountaintop-removal coal extraction in Appalachia, the littering hordes wrecking Machu Picchu and Mount Kilimanjaro (nearly bereft now of its fabled snows), and the overdevelopment threatening the Galápagos Islands. But the most harrowing damage is caused by global warming. The planet’s glaciers are melting, causing floods and promising severe water shortages. Ocean levels are rising, placing Venice and many coastal areas in jeopardy, while desertification is endangering legendary Timbuktu. By reporting on observable environmental decimation in places of profound natural beauty and cultural and spiritual significance, Lisagor and Hansen seek to arouse alarm and stoke resistance to further ruination. --Donna Seaman