Top places to see before they're wiped out

Climate change threatens some of the planet's most beautiful islands, historic coastlines and largest cities

Humans love the coasts; the first civilizations were built along them, and along the rivers and lakes that flow into them. Humans do not love the coasts enough to protect them. Plastic waste washes up on beaches around the world, traveling from one continent to another and overwhelming whatever small group of people are responsible for cleaning it up. On coasts where there are no people, it collects. This is not the worst case scenario for everyone's favorite coastlines. The worst case scenario is extreme flooding (ask Miami Beach) followed by, according to most models, submersion.

What happens to a resort town when the beach suddenly moves a hundred yards inland? What happens when the waters move in on an island town where people struggle for food rather than with a greasy bottle of sunscreen? What happens when the subway tunnels of Manhattan flood beyond the pumps' capacities and the waters creep up to FDR Drive and the Westside Highway?

One inevitable consequence: the people on the coasts will have to crowd inland and the people living inland will not be happy about it.

Whether you believe that humans are responsible or not (we are), the waters are, undoubtedly, rising and with them, the future costs of flood defense and repairs. Famous beaches and coastlines could disappear. Tourism and farming economies in many coastal areas will suffer. Look at it a different way: the homes of millions of people—even entire countries—are in danger of rising sea levels. These are some of the stunning, important and delicate places at risk of disappearing.

Venice, Italy

Venice

Venice—Italy's romantic, legendary, literary, beautiful floating city—is sinking. Flooding has been a regular, fairly manageable problem for the city for decades but it is becoming worse due the rising water under and around Venice. According to city measurements, the Adriatic Sea and the Venice Lagoon have risen 5.5 inches since 1900. They will continue to rise, and more quickly, as global water levels rise. A city that has lost nearly two thirds of its full-time residents (as tourists sweep in as quickly as the waters) in a matter of decades risks losing more as its buildings sink and their foundations erode.

Venice is working on a system of hinged walls, called the Mose Project, that can be raised from the sea floor during floods to block the high waters from reaching the city. The system is unprecedented and officials hope it will work. Final cost estimates are now $5-6 billion. There are currently no alternatives. Visit Venice (just don't take a cruise) and, while you're there, spend money in the city—support its economy so that it can continue its survival efforts.

Kiribati (Charly W. Karl)

Kiribati

In the central Pacific Ocean, Kiribati is a country of just under 110,000 people that sits on 33 coral atolls). The biggest of which, South Tarawa, has a population density comparable to Tokyo. These atolls are low-lying and face extreme flooding from even small rises in ocean levels.

The president of these beautiful, Pacific Islands, Anote Tong, fears total "uninhabitability." He hopes to focus flood defense efforts on at least one island but acknowledges the impossibility of the task ahead. In 2014, his government bought five thousand acres in Fiji to give to the citizens of Kiribati who will be displaced by water in the future. Fly or float to the Kiribati islands and meet the residents of this Pacific island nation.

Maldive Islands

Maldive Islands

The Maldives, an archipelago spanning one thousand kilometers in the Indian Ocean, is the lowest-lying country in the world. Like Kiribati, the islands are made up of coral reefs and face immediate threats in addition to looming flooding. In addition to raising ocean levels around the world—the long-term, extreme danger for the islands—the changing climate has warmed the oceans and acidified them.

Earth's oceans absorb over 90% of the increase in the planet's heat. Warmer water forces algae away from the coral, causing bleaching events that, if too severe or frequent, could kill the coral. This would literally undermine atoll countries like Kiribati and the Maldives. In 2008, the president of the Maldives announced that he was in talks with countries such as Sri Lanka and India to buy land for the 300,000 Maldives citizens who could be forced from their islands by flooding. Next time you're planning an island escape, check out the resorts on the Maldives.

Solomon Islands (Facebook)

Solomon Islands

Northeast of Australia, another chain of atolls, the Solomon Islands, has already begun to disappear beneath the rising Pacific. The Sydney Morning Herald says its capital, Taro Island, could become "the first provincial capital in the world to be abandoned due to climate change." The island briefly disappeared during a tsunami in 2007, when 52 people died because there was no higher land to which to evacuate. Researchers have already recorded five Solomon Islands that have drowned completely and six more that are suffering extreme erosion. Their study showed that the rate of sea level rise in this area is three times higher than average. Visit the islands and learn more about how to help.

St. Mary Lake

Glacier National Park

Of the 150 ice sheets that, in the early 1900s, covered the mountains that make up Glacier National Park in Montana, less than 30 remain. On average, the glaciers in the park have been reduced by 39% in the past 50 years.

Not only do disappearing glaciers mean cosmetic changes for the national park named after them, but also a changing water supply. While populations continue to grow, the supply of fresh water usually stored by the glaciers is melting and struggling to refreeze in the way the ecosystem is used to. Fish and other animals that depend on cold streams and snow-covered forests will have to abandon the area and move increasingly northward. In 2012, 2 million tourists to Glacier National Park contributed $172 million to Montana's economy. All of that could change with the changing park ecosystem. Explore the park to learn about how to preserve it for the future.

Miami Beach

U.S. coastal cities

Some of the biggest urban travel destinations in the U.S. are also some of the country's largest population centers. Manhattan, Southern Florida and other coastal cities contain millions of residents whose communities and homes will be threatened by rising waters. Hurricane Sandy demonstrated the crippling effects of severe storm flooding in New York, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Sandy-sized storms ($75 billion in damage) have been and will continue to occur more and more often, according to a sediment study in PNAS.

East River, New York (Jared Verdi)

According to the projected 6-foot sea level change possible by 2100, New York, Queens, Kings, Nassau and Suffolk counties (including and surrounding Manhattan) are at severe risk for flooding or worse. This area includes hundreds of thousands of people who could be displaced. It also spells danger for the vast subway system beneath the boroughs. Beneath one station in Brooklyn, 650 gallons of water per minute pour from the bedrock.

Alan Weisman details the potential for catastrophe in his excellent book, The World Without Us: "'When this pump facility shuts down,' says [Paul] Schuber, 'in half an hour water reaches a level where trains can't pass anymore.'" Without the constant attention of hundreds of pumps throughout the city's subway system, flooding would be immediate and insurmountable, today. This will only get more dangerous.

Southern Florida also faces immense danger. In Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, 83.1% of its residents could be at risk. You can use the interactive Time map to explore the potential effects of climate change in your area.

This is not an East Coast problem; as many as 13.1 million people face danger along U.S. coastlines. A report by the NOAA and USGS warns that "all U.S. coasts are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change such as sea-level rise, erosion, storms and flooding."

Miami Beach

Cambridge, Massachusetts and Oakland, California are two more of the 670 coastal U.S. communities in danger of flooding. While local and federal politicians dance around the topic as if they fear some curse on their descendants (which their own political quarrels might, in the end, produce), some areas have already begun preparations for the inevitable. Since 2014, Miami Beach has been implementing a $400+ million electric pump system and raising its roads to save its picturesque residences and beaches.

Vacation cities and cultural centers around the world will be looking for solutions to the problems of rising waters. The futures of these islands, countries, cities and communities are not guaranteed. If you're the type of person who has an elaborate bucket list, it's time to start revising. Suddenly, some of your destinations might be places to see before they're gone. So go, see them, explore and learn, and, in the meantime, do whatever you can to help them survive.

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It's no secret that the restaurant scene in New York City is one of the most impressive in the world.

Whatever you could want to eat, you can find it in New York—meaning that even if you have a slightly restrictive diet, like veganism, there's plenty of options for you. Local fast-casual chains like By Chloe and Superiority Burger are making New York one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world, but the deliciousness doesn't stop there.


Between Manhattan and Brooklyn, there's been a boom of vegan restaurants that'll satisfy any craving. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Blossom(Upper West Side + Greenwich Village)

vegan restaurant

With two locations serving both Uptown and Downtown, Blossom is a go-to for local and tourist vegans alike. They offer an elevated dining experience (and a wide-spanning takeout radius) that puts a cruelty-free spin on classic main dishes like chicken piccata, rigatoni, and grilled salmon. Complete your dinner with a fresh, fruity cocktail and tiramisu—but reservations are strongly recommended beforehand.

Jajaja (West Village + Lower East Side)

vegan Jajaja

Jajaja is the ultimate heaven for Mexican food addicts. Get your fix of south of the border staples like burritos, street tacos, and enchiladas that'll make you second guess whether or not it's actually vegan (pro tip: The nacho portion is large enough to be a meal for one person). They also have a small but mighty menu of tequila and mezcal cocktails to kick off a night of LES bar-hopping. It gets crowded here quickly, though, so try to schedule your dinner early.

Urban Vegan Kitchen(West Village)

Urban Vegan Kitchen

We get it—eating vegan can get kind of bland sometimes. But that's not an issue at Urban Vegan Kitchen, the type of restaurant that'll have you wanting to order one of everything on the menu (but we recommend the "chicken" and waffles). Co-owned by the founder of Blossom, they boast a menu that's just as edgy and exciting as their decor. Their space is large too, making it a crowd-pleasing option for a slightly larger group.

Champs Diner (Williamsburg)

Champs Diner vegan

Located near the border of hip neighborhoods Williamsburg and Bushwick, Champs is a favorite of many young Brooklynites. Their menu is full of vegan alternatives to classic diner fare like breakfast plates, cheeseburgers, and even milkshakes that taste mysteriously like the real deal, while the decor puts a quintessential Brooklyn edge on '50s digs. Who said going plant-based had to be healthy all the time, anyway?

Peacefood (Greenwich Village)

vegan Peacefood

Conveniently located just a stone's throw from Union Square—near both NYU and the New School—Peacefood is a hotspot for college students, but vegans of any age are guaranteed to enjoy their menu. They specialize in comfort food items like quiche, chicken parmesan, and chili with corn bread—all plant-based, of course. While their "chicken" tender basket is to die for, make sure to save room for dessert here, too; Peacefood's lengthy pastry menu is a dream come true.

Buddha Bodai (Chinatown)

Buddha Bodai vegan

Dim sum restaurants in Chinatown are a dime a dozen, but Buddha Bodai takes the cake for the best veggie-friendly experience in one of New York's most bustling neighborhoods. Bring your family or friends along with you to enjoy this massive menu of buns and dumplings stuffed with any type of mock meat you could want. This is also a great option for gluten-free vegans, too, as much of their menu accommodates a gluten-free diet.

Greedi Kitchen (Crown Heights)

Greedi Kitchen vegan

Crown Heights might not be the first neighborhood people think of when it comes to dining in Brooklyn, but Greedi Kitchen is making the case for delicious restaurants in the area. Inspired by its founder's many years of travel, Greedi Kitchen combines the comforting flavors of southern soul food with the added pizazz of global influences. Try one of their po'boys or the crab cake sliders. Trust us.

Screamer’s Pizzeria (Greenpoint + Crown Heights)

Screamer's Pizza vegan

We know what you're thinking: Pizza without real cheese? Call us crazy, but Screamer's does vegan pizza to perfection. If you're into classic pies like a simple margherita or pepperoni, or you want to branch out with unexpected topping combinations, Screamer's is delicious enough to impress carnivores, too (pro tip: the Greenpoint location is small and serves most pies by the slice, while the Crown Heights location is larger for sitting down).


Learning a second language is one of the coolest and most rewarding things you can do in your spare time.

However, if hopping on a one-way ticket to your country of choice isn't an option for you, it can be difficult to find an immersive experience to learn, especially past high school or college.

The next best thing is language-learning apps.

We wanted to look at the top two: DuoLingo and Rosetta Stone. Duolingo is the new kid on the block; one of the top downloaded, this free app is a favorite. Then, there's the legacy option: Rosetta Stone. For over 20 years, they've been developing their language-learning software, and their app is the most recent innovation.

They're both great options, but keep reading to figure out which one is the best for you.

Key Similarities

  • Both claim you'll expand your vocabulary
  • Both are available as an app for iOS and Android users
  • Both have a clean user interface with appealing graphics
  • Both have offline capabilities (if you pay)

Key Differences

  • DuoLingo has a popular free version along with its paid version, whereas Rosetta Stone only has a paid version
  • DuoLingo offers 35+ languages, and Rosetta Stone offers 24 languages
  • Rosetta Stone has an advanced TruAccent feature to detect and correct your accent
  • DuoLingo offers a breadth of similar vocab-recognizing features, and Rosetta Stone offers a wider variety of learning methods, like Stories

DuoLingo Overview

DuoLingo's app and its iconic owl have definitely found a place in pop culture. One of the most popular free language-learning apps, it offers 35 different languages, including Klingon, that can be learned through a series of vocabulary-matching games.

DuoLingo offers a free version and a version for $9.99 a month without ads and with offline access.

Rosetta Stone Overview

The Rosetta Stone app is a beast. There are 24 different languages to choose from, but more importantly, you get a huge variety of methods for learning. Not only are there simple games, but there are stories where you get to listen, the Seek and Speak feature, where you go on a treasure hunt to photograph images and get the translations, and the TruAccent feature, which will help you refine your accent. Whenever you speak into the app, you'll get a red/yellow/green rating on your pronunciation, so you can fine-tune it to really sound like you have a firm grasp of the language.

Rosetta Stone costs just $5.99 a month for a 24-month subscription, which gives you access to all of their 24 languages!

Final Notes

Overall, these are both excellent apps for increasing your proficiency in a new language! They both feel quite modern and have a fun experience.

When it comes to really committing words to memory and understanding them, Rosetta Stone is king.

DuoLingo definitely will help you learn new words, and the app can be addicting, but users report it as more of a game than a means to an end.

With Rosetta Stone's variety of features, you'll never get bored; there are more passive elements and more active elements to help you activate different parts of your brain, so you're learning in a more dynamic and efficient way.

The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers only: Up To 45% Off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Languages & Free Tutoring Sessions!

Travel

So You Want to Try Workaway

Want to travel cheap, meet locals and kindred spirits, live off the land, and possibly change your life? It might be time to try Workaway.

Sitting in a house on a hill in Tuscany, Italy, watching the sun set and listening to the sound of music coming from the house in which I was staying almost rent-free, I wondered how I had gotten this lucky.

Actually, it was really all thanks to one website—Workaway.info.

Workaway Workaway


Workaway is a site that sets travelers up with hosts, who provide visitors with room and board in exchange for roughly five hours of work each weekday. The arrangement varies from host to host—some offer money, others require it—but typically, the Workaway experience is a rare bird: a largely anti-capitalist exchange.

I did four Workaways the summer I traveled in Europe, and then one at a monastery near my home in New York the summer after. Each experience, though they lasted around two weeks each, was among the most enriching times of my life—and I'd argue I learned almost as much through those experiences as I did in four years of college.

There's something extremely special about the Workaway experience, though it's certainly not for everyone.

Workaway Isn't for Everyone: What to Know Before You Go

I loved all the Workaways I went on, but the best advice I can give to anyone considering going is: Enter with an open mind. If you're someone who doesn't do well with the unexpected, if you're not willing to be flexible, if you're a picky eater or easily freaked out, then it's likely that you won't have a good experience at a Workaway.

There are exceptions to all of this. At the Workaway I stayed at in Italy, one of the travelers was suffering from stomach bloating, and the host helped cure her with a diet of miso. (I'm not saying you should go Workawaying if you're ill—this traveler's mother also came to oversee everything—but still, you never know what you'll find).

Workaway WoIsango.com

You should also probably be willing and able to actually work at your Workaway. These aren't vacations, and some hosts will be stricter and less forgiving than others regarding your work ethic. If you're someone who has no experience with difficult farm work, for example, it might not be a good idea to do a Workaway on a farm.

How to Choose a Host

The Workaway website boasts a truly overwhelming number of hosts. You can narrow your search down by location, but you can also search key terms that can help guide you in the right direction. You might search "music," for example—that's how I found the Italy location. You'll find hosts in busy cities and in the most remote mountains of India; you'll find opportunities to tutor and explore. You'll find shadiness, too, so trust your instincts.

Take time to actually read the host's entire bio before reaching out. Read all the comments, too, and if you're nervous or a first-timer, only reach out to hosts who have exclusively glowing reviews. I had the best experiences with hosts that had left extremely detailed bios—that showed me they were likely going to be dedicated hosts.

I also chose hosts whose bios gave me a good feeling, something like a spark of electricity or recognition. This instinctual method might not work for everyone, but it certainly led me in the right direction in all of my Workaway experiences. My Workaways gave me some of the best memories and deepest relationships of my life, and that was partly thanks to the fact that I chose places that were good fits for me.

For example, I chose to stay alone with a wizened academic in France. Something about his bio and descriptions resonated with me enough to trust him. (I also read some of his many thousand-page-long treatises on peace and compassion and decided that if someone could write this and be a psychopath, this wasn't a world I wanted to live in anyway). It was the right decision—and the two weeks I spent there were some of the most enlightening of my entire life.

When you reach out to a host, particularly if it's someone you really want to stay with, it's a good idea to frame your initial contact email as a cover letter of sorts—make sure you explain who you are and personalize your letter to fit each host.

Ixcanaan A Workaway painting experienceWorkaway


Travel Safely

Especially if you're traveling alone, it's always a good idea to choose a host whose page has tons of good reviews. Aside from that, a quick Google search and a scan of any social media pages related to your potential host can't hurt.

Ultimately, Workawaying requires a certain amount of trust and faith on both the host and the traveler's parts—you're either trusting someone to stay in your home or trusting a stranger to host and feed you.

But that trust, in my experience, also results in rapid and deep connections unlike anything I've experienced in the "real world." When you go and share a home with someone, you're also sharing yourself with them, and in that exchange there are the seeds of a powerful bond.

Participate Fully

Wherever you go, you'll want to open your mind and participate fully. Adjust yourself to your host's lifestyle, not the other way around, and take time to get to know your host and the others around you.

You might find that you become someone you never knew you were. As a lifelong introvert, I somehow managed to develop close relationships with many of the people I was staying with.

This might be because most people who are at Workaways are seeking something for one reason or another. In my experience, you find lots of people who are at junctures in their lives, seeking connection and meaning. With the right Workaway, you might just find it.

Workaway The Broke Backpacker - WorkawayThe Broke Backpacker