7. Gujarat • India
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 http://www.100places.com. Gandhis Birthplace The most western state in India, Gujarat is the nations largest producer of cotton and salt, and the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, the political and spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement. Gandhi was born under the British Raj in the seaport of Porbandar. As a child, he witnessed locally grown cotton being shipped to Britain, only to return to India as finished garments. He understood how this kept the Indian people in a state of poverty, and later encouraged his fellow countrymen and women to boycott imported British clothes and make their own instead. To set an example, he began spinning cotton in public, made the spinning wheel a symbol of independence and was only ever seen in a homespun Indian dhoti. In 1930, Gandhi launched a campaign against the British salt tax, which had made it illegal for Indians to produce their own salt. He led the famous Salt March for 400 kilometres through Gujarat to the coastal town of Dandi, where, flouting the law, he picked up a handful of salty mud and declared, With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire. India finally gained its independence in 1947. The following year, Gandhi was assassinated. By then, production of salt, cotton and many other agricultural products from Gujarat rested in Indian hands. India is now the third biggest cotton producer in the world after the USA and China, and the majority of its cotton comes from Gujarat. The state also produces 140,000 tons of salt a year. In the summers of 2005 and 2006, heavy monsoons caused severe flooding in Gujarat, destroying thousands of homes, killing more than 1,000 people and devastating both infrastructure and agricultural production. Global warming is projected to intensify this climate pattern. If this happens, Gujarat will experience much heavier, more unpredictable monsoon rains and floods, which would deal a severe blow not only to the infrastructure and to millions of people and their homes, but also to the very pillars of the state economy salt, cotton and agriculture.