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40. Mergui Archipelago • Myanmar

We have selected 100 unique places on Earth that are projected to undergo profound changes within the next few generations. We based our selection of the 100 places on the 4th Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Simply by drawing attention to the beauty of these places, 100 Places to Remember Before they Disappear creates an argument to preserve them. The 100 Places we have chosen to highlight, and the people who live in them, are in serious danger because of rising sea levels, rising temperatures and extreme weather events triggered by climate change. Among ambassadors are Joss Stone, Desmund Tutu for more info visit Where Sea Gypsies Dive Among the Coral The blue waters and white coral reefs off the western coasts of Myanmar and Thailand are home to the Salon, also known as Moken or sea gypsies, some of the last surviving nomadic sea hunters and gatherers in the world. The Moken dive for fish, turtles, shellfish and sea cucumber in and around the coral reefs, spending most of their lives on boats. They sail from island to island, catching food, sleeping, eating, preparing their catch and giving birth on board their floating homes. Deep water is their natural element, where the children play and dive from an early age. The area where the Moken live is home to rare hawksbill turtles, butterfly fish and puffers. The very existence of the Moken is now endangered by changes in the pattern of movement of the ocean and rising sea temperatures, which threaten the entire reef. Within the next 30 years, 30% of Asian coral reefs are expected to die as a result of rising sea temperatures. At the same time, ongoing settlement and deforestation on the islands in the archipelago is causing the erosion and destruction of the coral reefs. If the reefs disappear, it will threaten the livelihood and culture of the 4,000 Moken people and force them to change their way of life. The Moken can dive in deep water for long periods of time without artificial breathing support. Their underwater vision is clearer than any other people in the world. Only in the monsoon season do the Moken seek shelter on the islands in the eastern part of the Adaman Sea. As they go ashore, they perform a ceremony in which they eat sea turtles and invoke the spirits. Like the Moken, the turtles spend most of their lives in the sea rather than on land.
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