Tibetan activists joined the Global Climate Strike from Dharamshala on October 22, 2021. Photo: TPI

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Dharamshala, India — Tibetan activists and supporters joined the Global Climate Strike from Dharamshala on October 22, 2021, to raise awareness of the climate crisis in Tibet ahead of COP 26 in Glasgow, UK from October 31 to November 12, 2021.

On October 22, 2021, Clean Upper Dharamshala Programme, Gu Chu Sum Movement Association of Tibet, National Democratic Party of Tibet, Students for a Free Tibet-India, Tibetan Women's Association organized a climate strike, facilitated by the International Tibetan Network at McLeod Ganj Main Square, to raise awareness of the climate crisis in Tibet and demand that COP26 should recognize the global ecological significance of the Tibetan Plateau and put it at the center of any discussion on global climate change.

About 20 Tibetan activists and supporters from various organizations gathered in the main square of McLeod Ganj and carried placards that read "If the world is not safe, no one is safe," "Stop denial, the earth is dying," "Tibet's rivers, Asia's lifeline," and "Climate Action for Tibet, Climate Strike for Tibet."

“Even with Paris Agreement's decision to stop the world's average temperature from rising more than 2° C or ideally 1.5°C, Tibet, an area roughly the size of western Europe, rising in the heart of Asia at an altitude of 4000 meters above sea level, is heating twice faster than the global average and is undergoing catastrophic changes. The impacts, including rising temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and 8 billion tonnes of ice being lost each year from Tibet's glaciers, directly affect not only Tibetans, but the water security of 1.5 billion people downstream,” a statement issued by the organization noted.

“The COP26 should recognize the global ecological significance of the Tibetan Plateau, making it central to any discussion on global climate change,” they demanded.

“That all Tibetans, and especially Tibet's more than two million nomads, have a fundamental human right to choose life and livelihood on the grasslands, and to cultural and livelihood self-determination in deciding how best to adapt to climate change,” they said.

“That all local and regional stakeholders, in Tibet and downstream, work as full partners in the creation of transparent, inclusive, and durable local and trans boundary governance institutions and processes to guide mitigation of and adaptation to the effects of climate change across the Tibetan Plateau,” they mentioned.

"The upcoming COP26 conference on climate change in Glasgow will bring together over 190 countries to submit their national plans to cut emissions and negotiate terms of implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Against this international setting, it is essential that Tibetans join this critical conversation in finding solutions. Motions to the long-term restoration, management, and conservation of the Tibetan Plateau," said Dr Lobsang Yangtso, Research Assistant at International Tibet Network.

“Under China's rule, Tibetan voices have been brutally suppressed. China's occupation prevents Tibetans in Tibet from being part of the global climate change conversation, but it is vital that they are part of the solution. Moreover, there must be an immediate halt to all extractive and deleterious land uses that threaten the Tibetan Plateau's fragile and unique ecosystems and ecosystem services, especially water resources,” the joint statement stated.

"The Climate Crisis in Tibet is not just a regional but a global issue, which is why Tibetans and Tibet supporters around the world are taking to the streets in support of the Global Climate Strikes", said Wangmo, from Tibetan Women's Association.