DHARAMSALA, Nov 30: A day before global leaders meet for the 21st session of the United Nations climate conference in Paris, members of three Tibetan NGOs enacted a street theatre at the main square in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala to raise awareness on the need to address China’s irresponsible environmental policies on the Tibetan plateau.
More than 150 world leaders are gathering for the high-level conference, popularly known as COP21, to be held from Nov 30-Dec 11 to sign a long-term agreement to reduce global carbon emissions to check global warming.
The street theatre in Dharamsala was jointly organized by Students for a Free Tibet( SFT), Tibetan Women’s Association(TWA) and International Tibet Network(ITN).
The NGOs highlighted China’s forced resettlement of Tibetan nomads, mining of sacred mountains and building of numerous dams for China’s domestic needs and its damaging consequences on the neighbouring countries through Tashi-the yak, the play’s mouth piece and the main character.
“I am the mighty Tibetan Yak. For centuries I’ve roamed in the highest plateau of Tibet with my nomad family. It was a complete joy but it ended abruptly. My nomad family was forcefully resettled by the Chinese government. My family, who once roamed freely, are confined to the four walls, endangering a way of life practiced sustainably for many years. My grassland has been plundered; it’s no longer green. My grassland has been swept and replaced by the mining companies that produce clouds of smoke. I am not only running out of food but dramatic climate change in Tibet will have serious damaging effect on the whole world. Its not just the grasslands, Tibet’s rivers are not spared. For years Tibet’s rivers have been Asia’s lifeline. Over 1.3 billion people depend on Tibet’s rivers for survival. To meet the needs of power and energy in China, they are diverting Tibet’s rivers, like Yarlung Tsangpo, what you call the Brahmaputra. The climate change in Tibet can have lasting effect on its neighbouring countries like India which is why we need to take action now,” Tashi, the yak says in the play and ends by shouting- Tibet’s rivers, Asia’s lifeline! Climate justice! Free Tibet!
Addressing the gathering, SFT’s program coordinator Lobsang Tseten said, “A number of Tibetan delegates will be attending climate conference tomorrow in Paris. A climate rally is going on in Delhi. We are here to ask you to tell your leaders to raise this issue to the Chinese government. We are here to ask you to tell your leaders to hold China accountable. Because if we don’t act now, we might not have a tomorrow.”