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with Stefan Nestler

Dalai Lama: Climate change threatens roof of the world

It's melting away

It’s melting away

200 meters as the crow flies away from my desk, nothing less than the future of the planet is negotiated. Until Friday representatives from around the world are debating at the World Conference Center Bonn on a new climate agreement. It is to be adopted at the global climate talks in Paris, which will begin in late November. Once again the negotiations are long and tough. The solidarity with the states that are already feeling the effects of climate change is within limits. In most cases economy beats ecology. But the clock is ticking. With only a few exceptions, glaciers are melting worldwide. Glacier Works, an organization founded by US mountaineer David Breashears in 2007, has impressively documented how far for instance the glaciers around Mount Everest have retreated during the past decades. Now the Dalai Lama has pointed to the consequences of climate change for his Tibetan homeland.

The Third Pole

“This blue planet is our only home and Tibet is its roof. As vital as the Arctic and Antarctic, it is the Third Pole”, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhists says in a video message (see below) from exile in India. “The Tibetan Plateau needs to be protected, not just for Tibetans but for the environmental health and sustainability of the entire world.”

The 80-year-old emphasizes that he wants people to understand his words not as a political message, but as a humanitarian.

Drinking water for more than one billion people

Even Chinese scientists have been warning for a long time about the effects of climate change on the glaciers in Tibet. The average temperature on the more than 4,000 meter high plateau has increased by 1.3 degrees Celsius over the past five decades and thus significantly faster than the global average. The Tibetan glaciers are the source of water in rivers that support about 1.3 billion people in Asia. Against this background, the Dalai Lama appeals to the young generation of the 21st century to become more engaged in protecting the planet – thus also fighting for the environment in the Himalayas, especially in Tibet. Will his message be heard by the negotiators here in Bonn and later in Paris? That would not be bad.


21. October 2015 | 14:42