DHARAMSALA, 27 Sept: There is no planet b, says Tibetan high school students as they took part in the global student’s climate strike here in Dharamsala, the exile headquarters of the Tibetan people.
“Every day when I walk to school, I see people mindlessly throwing garbage everywhere. This makes me sad. Sad and angry. This is our only planet and if we don’t save it, no one will,” said a Samdol Lhamo, 14, from Mewoen Tsuglag Petoen School.
“We are taking to the streets to let everyone know that we care about our planet. We are doing this to show the world leaders that they just can’t trade our future for money and power. Every one of us deserves a safe future and we demand it,” she added
“We talk about grand future, but if we continue to repeat the very same mistakes that brought this crisis upon us, we will definitely not have future,” she concluded imploring everyone to take a stand.
Addressing the world leaders and adults alike, Tenzin Pema, a 10th standard student from Tibetan Children’s Village School, Lower Dharamshala said, “There will be a day when everything will be gone because of your ignorance and when that day comes, you will realize that you can not eat all that money that you work so hard to amass.”
“What is the point of all the educations that we are receiving, what is the point of all these goals and dreams that we have, what is the point of doing all these when in few decades there will be no more food and water for us to survive on?” she cautioned.
“The climate crisis is affecting the world drastically and we are at the edge of our own destruction, if we don’t act now, it will be the end of all of us and everything that we love and care about,” said Tenzin Shedup, another student from Tibetan Children’s Village School, Lower Dharamshala.
Speaking specifically about the effect of the global climate crisis on Tibet, he added that the effect is much more severe in Tibet.
“These days in Tibet, the glaciers are rapidly melting and also the Tibetan rivers are quickly drying up which is resulting in drought in other countries as Tibet is a major source of water for many downstream Asian countries,” he added.
Around 90 Tibetan high school students from Tibetan Children’s Village School, Lower Dharamshala, and Mewoen Tsuglag Petoen School, marched in solidarity with the global movement demanding climate action and highlighting the climate emergency unfolding in Tibet.
Believed to be the largest coordinated climate strike in world history, the Global Climate Strike, also known as the Global Week for Future, is a series of international strikes and protests to demand action be taken to address climate change.
According to media reports, the protests are taking place across 4,500 locations in 150 countries. The event is a part of the school strike for climate movement, inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
The Dharamsala Climate Strike is organised collectively by Students for a Free Tibet-India, Tibetan Women’s Association, Tibetan Youth Congress, and coordinated by International Tibet Network and Jhatkaa.org.
The week-long global climate strike was also endorsed by the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“It’s quite right that students and today’s younger generation should have serious concerns about the climate crisis and its effect on the environment. They are being very realistic about the future. They see we need to listen to scientists. We should encourage them,” the Dalai Lama tweeted on Friday.
Tibet, often referred to as the ‘Third Pole of Earth’ suffers the thrice the effect of climate crisis compared to the rest of the world.
“The impact of climate change on the Tibetan Plateau, one of the most glaciated regions on earth, has been extreme. The plateau has seen an unprecedented number of natural disasters occurring simultaneously across the region since 2016, primarily due to rising temperature and increased rainfall. The temperature rise on the plateau is 0.47°C per decade, three times faster than the global average of 0.12°C per decade,” says Tempa Gyaltsen Zamlha, a research fellow at CTA’s Tibet policy Institute.