Meltdown in Tibet
Tibet has always been a stuff of legends. It has a very sensitive ecosystem with high chunk Himalayas and high altitudes grasslands. Tibet also has various fresh water lakes which makes its ecosystem all the more unique. Tibetan citizens have always revered its ecosystem and hasn’t tempered with the same. China on the other hand always wanted to get into Tibet for different reasons, but because of protest from Tibetans and international pressure, have restrained. But in recent times China has pepped up it construction activities in Tibet. It has managed to tone down the voices among the Tibetan citizens. The construction activities have started showing some concerning effects and could prove disastrous in foreseeable future.
Micheal Buckley said that Tibet faces a great challenge at its ecological friends
Micheal Buckley, an environmentalist, has travelled through the length and breadth of Tibet and saw the catastrophic effects of all the construction going on. He gave a lecture regarding the ‘Meltdown in Tibet’ and addressed various aspects.
At the outset he said that a few days back someone congratulated him for his book and the book being a thriller. He chuckled and said that it really is a thriller, the only difference being that the crime in the book is an ecological crime i.e. Ecocide. The crime is going on in Tibet but the sad part is, very few people know about it. China keeps everything secret and quite. Information doesn’t get in and out of Tibet. The only way to know about things is by field work. Micheal had visited Tibet for several times and hence could notice the change in its ecosystem, which was very stark.
The rivers in Tibet
There are various factors which makes building a dam in Tibet very difficult. The altitude, temperature and the powerful flow of rivers in Tibet makes building a dam a rarity. So, once China overcame these limitations they have started to build at a very rapid pace. They have realised that the hydro power capacity of Tibet is unparalleled as there are 10 major rivers that flows across Tibet. The buildings of dam have had a huge impact on the flow of rivers. Various countries like Burma, Nepal, Bangladesh and India has felt the pinch. The levels of rivers have fallen drastically, the marine life have been affected adversely and hence the people who depend on it.
The eradication of grasslands is also a major effect. It could have a drastic effect not only Tibet but also countries around it. The ‘Meltdown’ mainly refers to the glaciers of Tibet. Glaciers around the world are at danger but the melting rate at in Tibet is much higher than normal.
Micheal Buckley, the environmentalist
Towards the latter part of his lecture he pointed that China is driving the climate change. It puts out approximately 27% percent of Carbon Dioxide which is the highest in the world. The closest competitor is United States which puts around 15%. But China is being ignorant about it. It says it cannot help it, it’s all part of climate change. But if we really look deeper, it really can. The basic example is the amount of Black Soot in the environment. It gets deposited at the top of mountains and entraps heat. This eventually has adverse effect. It could get minimised in a matter of weeks.
Even the lakes of Tibet are getting affected. The hydro power project is polluting the fresh water reservoir.
World needs to focus on Tibet as it has a significant ecological position. Tibet’s ecology effects a lot of countries and it’s high time it gets its share of environmental attention.
Micheal Buckley is a travel writer, a documented film maker and an environmentalist. He has authored several books.
Photo Credits: Neel Kamal Pandey