Nature is always changing, but there are certain places that just invoke the power of transformation. Shifting landscapes, changing perspectives, and flourishing rebirths make these five destinations special places to reflect on our own growth and evolution.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos are synonymous with evolution. It was here that Darwin witnessed the way familiar species had splintered and adapted to thrive among the unique settings of each volcanic island. Finches sprouted from a single ancestor into thirteen distinct species with different nesting and eating habits, and tortoises adjusted shell shapes and neck sizes to facilitate their access to local vegetation. Darwin’s resulting observations and theories showed the world that we’re all evolving and adapting to meet new circumstances and challenges.
Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland
Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord is a maze of glistening icebergs that emanate from the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. Chunks of ice calve from the glacier, crash into the fjord below, and float out into the sea. Over 35 billion tons of ice plunge from the glacier each year, bringing a steady flow of change to the Arctic waters. While the sea of ice is an amazing spectacle to see, it’s also a stark reminder of a more concerning transformation occurring throughout the world – global warming. The glacier is receding at alarming rates and serves as a powerful illustration of the impacts of climate change.
Namib Desert, Namibia
Sprawling across Western Nambia, the Namib Desert is considered the oldest in the world. Namib translates to “Vast Place”, a name that remains fitting to its immensity and isolation, even after 55 million years of existence. But don’t mistake age for stasis; the massive dunes of the Southern Namib are constantly shifting as desert winds reshape the landscape. A more immediate transformation occurs each day, as the sun and shadows send the desert through a rotating palette of colors, from deep reds to shimmering golds.
Mt. St. Helens National Monument, Washington, USA
Twenty –five years after its powerful eruption, Mt. St. Helens is a testament to the restorative power of nature. Slowly, life has crept back into the blast zone. Purple lupine wildflowers were among the first to return, pulling nitrogen from the air and enriching the surrounding soil. Fireweed and other vegetation followed suit, attracting herds of Roosevelt Elk which now exceed pre-eruption populations. The area may be hundreds of years away from the old-growth forests that once towered over the landscape, but the emerging flora and fauna show nature’s resilience after even the most devastating events.
Savute Channel, Botswana
Sometimes change is a gradual process, and sometimes it comes all at once. The Savute Channel was dry for nearly thirty years before it began flowing again in 2008. Known for its unpredictability, the waterways of the channel have paused for up to 80 years, with little regard to the area’s surrounding rain and flood conditions. Its latest rebirth has brought life back to the Western Section of Chobe National Park, including resident bull elephants which flock to the cooling and nourishing waters. Savute also attracts one of the largest zebra migrations in Africa, with hungry predators following not far behind.
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