Meltdown In Tibet: China’s Reckless Destruction Of Ecosystems

Michael Buckley turns the spotlight on the darkest side of China’s emergence as a global super power in this book .Tibetans have experienced waves of genocide since the 1950s. Now they are facing ecocide. The Himalayan snowcaps are in meltdown mode, due to climate change―accelerated by a rain of black soot from massive burning of coal and other fuels in both China and India. The mighty rivers of Tibet are being dammed by Chinese engineering consortiums to feed the mainland’s thirst for power, and the land is being relentlessly mined in search of minerals to feed China’s industrial complex. On the drawing board are plans for a massive engineering project to divert water from Eastern Tibet to water-starved Northern China. Ruthless Chinese repression leaves Tibetans powerless to stop the reckless destruction of their sacred land, but they are not the only victims of this campaign: the nations downstream from Tibet rely heavily on rivers sourced in Tibet for water supply, and for rich silt used in agriculture. This destruction of the region’s environment has been happening with little scrutiny until now. 

Here are excerpts from the book:

“Tibet’s glaciers are melting rapidly, and its lakes are drying up. The
plateau is under siege from climate-change factors, but instead of
seeking ways to minimize the impact of all this, China is aggravating the
situation. Chinese hydro consortiums are damming the heck out of the
rivers of Tibet, blocking their flows. Extensive mining by Chinese
companies is degrading the land, with high potential to pollute rivers
downstream. The grasslands of Tibet are being encroached upon by
Why should this matter to someone sitting halfway across the world?
Well, for reasons that you will discover in this book, environmental
meltdown in Tibet is going to have a huge impact. The initial impact
will be on the nations downstream. Any water shortages will disrupt rice
or wheat harvests and drive grain prices to record highs, causing great
social unrest—and causing nations like China or India to import massive
quantities of grain.
What appears to be just a Tibetan Plateau problem or a Chinese
problem is going to become an Asia-wide problem. Ultimately, this will
become a global problem because there are no boundaries when it comes
to environmental impact. A volcano erupts in Iceland and spews volcanic
ash into the atmosphere—which shuts down flights over the whole of
Europe. A tsunami triggers a meltdown at a nuclear reactor in
Fukushima, putting Japan on alert for radioactive fallout—and leaking
radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, impacting marine life. Massive
clear-cutting of forests in Tibet and expanding desertification of
grasslands have severely impacted regional ecosystems and may
influence extreme weather patterns in Asia. Tibet sits on the largest
permafrost layers outside of the two poles. As the permafrost starts to
thaw, it releases significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane into
the atmosphere. Methane is a superpotent greenhouse gas, thought to be
some 20 times stronger than carbon dioxide.
We only have one Tibet. There are no backups, no second chances. If
the water resources of the Tibetan plateau should be blocked or diverted,
or become polluted, then Asia will tumble into chaos. His Holiness the
Dalai Lama, a great believer in interdependence and the
interconnectedness of all living things, captures the heart of the matter
in a few sentences: “Destruction of nature and natural resources results
from ignorance, greed and lack of respect for the earth’s living beings….
Our ancestors viewed the earth as rich and bountiful, which it is. Many
people in the past also saw nature as inexhaustibly sustainable, which
we now know is the case only if we care for it.”

(The book is available at

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