Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Formation and Fate of World's Largest Canyon

The steep topography along the Yarlung-Tsangpo River ( (Tibetan: ཡར་ཀླུངས་གཙང་པོ་, Wylie: yar kLungs gTsang po) is created due to the interplay between the forces of tectonics and powerful river erosion, which in turn leads to large landslides.

This is the conclusion drawn by Isaac J. Larsen and David R. Montgomery from the University of Washington (presented online May 27, 2012 in Nature Geoscience) after quantifying landslide erosion rates in the eastern Himalaya. 

They closely observed an area of the 150-mile Tsangpo Gorge in southeastern Tibet, where the Tsangpo plunges more than 6,500 feet (1.25 miles), before entering India to form Brahmaputra River and flow into Bay of Bengal through the Ganges River delta.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Tibet:The Third Pole - Importance of Environmental Stewardship

This paper was presented by EDD during the 6th World Parliamentarian' Convention on Tibet held on April 27 to 29, 2012; Ottawa, Canada

        Conference Venue: Government Conference Centre, Ottawa, Canada

Introduction: Transboundary commons

With an average elevation of 4500 meters above mean sea level, the Tibetan Plateau physically dominates the geographical map of the world. The whole plateau stretches for almost 3,000 kilometers from west to east and 1,500 kilometers from south to north. Since time immemorial, the plateau held the Hindu Kush Himalayan Ice Sheet, considered as the largest ice mass and reservoir of fresh water outside the two poles, hence the name ‘Third Pole’. The Tibetan plateau even though very inhospitable to many species due to its high altitude and extreme climates holds one of the most diverse plant and animal species, some of which are unique to the Tibetan Plateau for instance Wild Yak, Tibetan Antelope and medicinal plants such as Rheum palmatum (Chumtsa), Frittilaria (Abhika) and about 400 species of Rhododendron.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Environmental Protection: In Belief, Custom and Songs

The conscious awareness about environmental protection has been deeply rooted in Tibetan religious beliefs, customs, moral obligations and taboos. For thousands of years, Tibetans have maintained a harmonious relationship with the natural environment by protecting the ecosystem, treasuring resources and conserving it for future generations.

The idea of protecting nature dates back to, as early as 3000 years ago when Tibetans followed the primitive Bon religion. According to Bon, everything in the world including mountain, water, tree etc.have its own deity, who can both protect and punish based on human behavior towards nature.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Anthropogenic (Human-Induced) Factors Causing Environmental Degradation on the Tibetan Plateau

Various anthropogenic factors on the Tibetan Plateau are also responsible for speeding up the environmental degradation and its associated problems. One of the major causes has been the Chinese government’s policy to bring changes in land use, in particular, conversion of grassland into cropland to maximize agricultural production. In addition, several developmental projects and mining activities are also adding to the ecological problems in Tibet.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Resource Extraction and Deforestation in Tibet

Tibet’s elevation has produced a unique, resource-rich geology. The Indo-Eurasian plate collision that began 55 million years ago and resultant compression of the Plateau, has led to the formation of suture (weak) zones where magma from beneath erupt onto surface to form volcanic rocks. These suture zones are highly rich in minerals of various types prominent among them are chromium, copper, gold, lithium etc.

The unchecked mining operations in Tibet have been a major cause for environmental degradation since 1960s. Extraction of mineral ores and natural resources (chromium, salt, copper, silver, coal, gold, lithium, lead, zinc, asbestos, oil, gas, magnesium, potash and uranium) has been vigorously carried out by the Chinese government to fuel its growing economy and to lessen its dependence on costly imports.