Tibet's Environment: Denuding, Degrading & Depopulating
PRESS RELEASE for immediate release
Tibet Intergroup Hosts
Landmark Environmental Event
Wednesday 19 June, 2013
European Parliament, Room ASP 3H1, Brussels
20 June 2013, Brussels – The offices of MEPs Satu Hassi (Greens), Thomas Mann (EPP) and Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D), the Tibet Intergroup of the European Parliament, the International Campaign for Tibet, the Office of Tibet in Brussels and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) held a seminar at the European Parliament on the state of Tibet’s environment. Mixing politics, human rights and environmental sciences, this hearing was the occasion for all to discover the multiple facets of Tibet’s struggle against the degradation of its land, air and water.
Keynote speaker, Mr. Tenzin Norbu, Director of the Environment and Development Desk of the Central Tibetan Administration, gave a presentation focused on resource exploitation, nomads and climate change. Introducing the “third pole” concept, he stressed that Tibet is currently the largest reservoir of fresh water in the world thanks to its glaciers, permafrost and rivers. However, these resources are in danger of disappearing fast due to over-exploitation of minerals and forests on the Tibetan plateau. Combined with climate change, these activities have a strong impact on flood risks and the timing of the monsoon season on which billions in South East Asia depend for agriculture. Nomads, the indigenous people of Tibet, are seeing their lives turned around as they are forced to settle in Chinese-built ghettos because of mining sites and the construction of dams. As a traditionally self-sufficient people, their livelihood is in jeopardy and dependence on the state threatens their survival.
The screening of a short documentary, “Nomad to Nobody”, by Michael Buckley (2011), showed telling images in support of Mr. Norbu’s environmental concerns. The film is based on images and interviews that the director was able to gather while in Tibet and India, which had a rare look into the life of Tibetan Nomads.
MEPs Satu Hassi and Thomas Mann, joined by their colleagues Eva Lichtenberger (Greens), Raül Romeva I Rueda (Greens), and Csaba Sogor (EPP), both stressed the importance of holding such an event in the Parliament, resolutely breaking the silence imposed by the Chinese authorities on Tibetan issues, and have pledged to continue their cross-party support for Tibet.
Mr Tenzin Norbu delivers his presentation on Tibet's environment
From left to right: Office of Tibet in Brussels, Tenzin Norbu, Office of Tibet in Brussels, Thomas Mann, MEP, Csaba Sogor, MEP, UNPO, International Campaign for Tibet