08/02/2011 11:11 am ET Updated Oct 01, 2011

Islands on the Edge: Visit These Gems Now or Never

English poet and all round clever chap John Donne famously coined the phrase 'no man is an island' to encapsulate his belief that we are all part of mankind, cogs in a living breathing machine. The metaphor is far from perfect.

Islands are not self-contained entities floating in the ocean. To the contrary, island life is generally more holistically connected to the world at large than life in valleys or the middle of plains. The myriad ways that islands are affected by the world and their inability to rely on size to absorb change, put them at risk. Whether the threat is mass tourism or climate change, many islands perch on the edge. Today, they embody continuity and natural beauty. Tomorrow, who knows.

Here are some beautiful islands on the edge. Get going.