World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations’ principal vehicle to encourage worldwide awareness and action for environment. Over the years it serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for environment, starting individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.
TWA observed the day,5th June 2015, through awareness programs with school children and public.Tibetan Women’s Association, Student for a Free Tibet, India and International Tibet Network observed World Environment Day by raising awareness on the crucial environment situation inside Tibet. The UN declared theme for this year is focusing on Sustainable Living and hence the three Tibetan NGOs aimed to encourage the general public on adopting a more sustainable way of living. Individuals took their personal responsibilities and pledged for a sustainable society in the future.
On the March 14 International Day of Action for Rivers, Tibetan Women’s Association rejoice this day to remember the significance of Rivers in Tibet, lift our voices to celebrate rivers around the world and solute those who struggle to protect them. Tibet is the source for many of Asia’s principal rivers and the end of those same rivers lie the world’s largest deltas. Nearly 2 billion people depend on Tibet’s water for fishing, agriculture, industry and for drinking.
Chinese occupation of Tibet is not only destroying our culture and religion but they are destroying our land and water ways by pollution, diversion and damming.
On this International Day of Action for Rivers, we join the campaign ‘Rivers are in our hand’ to promote the importance of rivers and urge you all to unite, we demonstrate that this issue is not merely local, but global in scope. We have the power to protect these vital lifelines if we join together and act.
Central Tibetan Women’s Association’s Women’s Environment and Development Officer Dorji Kyi and The Tibet Policy Institute’s environment research fellow Tempa Gyaltsen are participating the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference or more popularly known as the COP20 at Lima, in Peru.
The COP20 or the Conference of the Parties organised by the UNFCCC and hosted by the Government of Peru is being held from 1 to 12 December. More than one thousand government delegates, researchers, activists and scientists from around 190 countries are participating in the conference.
TWA has been participating at the past UN Climate conferences such as COP15 in Copenhagen, Denmark; COP17 in Durban, South Africa and COP 18 in Doha, Qatar.
The two Tibetan representatives are attending the conference to raise social-environmental issues such as the impact of climate change on the Tibetan landscape, the forceful removal of Tibetan nomads, polluting and damming of Tibetan rivers, the impact of destructive mining in Tibet under Chinese rule, and the global significance of the Tibetan plateau.
The COP or the conference of parties is the biggest environmental conference organised by the UN to specifically deal with the impact of climate change and find solutions to mitigate the future impacts. The next or the COP21 would be held in Paris next year to sign some of the most important agreements.
TWA’s Women Environment and Development Desk joins Lha Charitable Trust and Clean Upper Dharamsala Program on World Environment Day. A street art was performed by the team from Dharamsala Art School conveying environment sensitive message to the masses.
To mark the ‘World Rivers Day’, Women’s Environment and Development Desk (WEDD) of the Central Tibetan Women’s Association organized a public seminar on Tibet’s River and its importance for Asia’s sustainability. This event was aimed to inform and spread awareness about the importance of the rivers in Tibet and the adverse effects of climate change on the roof of the world. Not many people are aware of this critical issue and hence we felt the need of a public awareness event within our own community. Yet many foreign friends also turned up for the event.
Millions of people around the world participated in the ninth annual World Rivers Day on Sunday, and we are so glad to be a part of this huge campaign.
“I have traveled on several rivers in and around Tibet and your event is very timely and important. Rivers are integral to all life and yet many waterways continue to be impacted by inappropriate practices and inadequate protection,” a message from Mark Angelo, Rivers Day Chair and Founder and Chair Emeritus of the Rivers Institute at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).
Our first speaker Tenzin Norbu (Mr.), (Head of the Environment and Development office of CTA) spoke on ‘Tibet’s Rivers and their significance for Asia’s sustainability’. He also stressed on the increasing number of dams being built and planned in Tibet. As of now in Tibet, around 160 dams are in planning stage and many are already built. He added that China’s destructive policies towards Tibet’s ecosystem are going to affect not only Tibet but all the ten down steam nations including China.
Dhardon Sharling (Ms.) (Member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile and Co-chair of International Tibet Network) addressed about international campaigns for the protection of Tibet’s rivers and the importance of finding a tangible solution to the crisis, mutually by all the downstream nations. She also pointed that even though we are little late in realising the importance of this issue, there is so much we can do individually and institutionally.
We also screened 3 documentary films on Tibet’s ecosystem; ‘Melt down in Tibet’ by renowned film maker Michael Buckley, ‘Save Tibet Third Pole’ and ‘Achi Dokmo’ both are productions of the Tibetan Women’s Association.
Scientists have referred to the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding mountains as The Third Pole; the area holds the largest ice masses on Earth outside of the polar regions. The Tibetan Plateau contains more than 46,000 glaciers (which cover an area of 105,000 sq.km). Originating from these glaciers are Asia’s largest rivers such as the Yangtze, Yellow River, Mekong, Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra. Nine downstream nations in Asia depend on these rivers. Including the nations of China and India, over a third of the world’s population depends on these rivers.
With this event, we want to request every individual to take the responsibility and be aware of such environmental issues especially Tibet’s ecosystem. Along with Tibet’s political issues, it is very important that we keep ourselves updated regarding Tibet’s environment.