Tibet Awareness Talk Series Report: ‘An Ocean of Glaciers: Tibet from Top to Bottom’

Gabriel Lafitte speaking on the topic, ‘An Ocean of Glaciers: Tibet from Top to Bottom’

Dharamshala: On 21st March 2023, as a part of the bi-monthly Tibet awareness talk series program, Gabriel Lafitte spoke on the topic, ‘An Ocean of Glaciers: Tibet from Top to Bottom’ at the Tibet Museum’s auditorium located in Gangchen Kyishong, Dharamshala.

Gabriel is an Australia-based researcher and author who has written numerous reports, books on the impacts of Chinese policies on the Tibetan Plateau and regularly trains young Tibetan professional environmentalists and advocates. He is also an experienced public policy adviser with expertise in development, biodiversity and resource management policy.

Before diving into the core of his presentation, he gave an overview of the metaphors used for Tibet such as the roof of the world and Asia’s water tower and etc. Subsequently, he spoke on the importance of Tibetan plateau with its profound influence on whole Asia and global climate conditions.

He then explained the origin of the major rivers that flow from the glaciers of Tibet and how Tibet serves as Asia’s water tower. With the help of self-explanatory maps, he gave a detailed projection of the full extent of ten river basins and most importantly the Tibetan plateau’s climate systems. The speaker also described how Tibet magnetizes the monsoon that draws billions of tons of water floating in from the oceans and stated that Tibet can be considered as the engine of the water cycle that feeds almost all of Asia. 

Speaker speaking on the importance of Tibetan rivers

He also gave a glimpse into future rainfall possibilities having intensified monsoons with less predictability. He concluded this topic by saying Tibet is teleconnected with many countries around the world and directly influences the ecology of entire south Asian countries.

The speaker discussed China’s law on ecological conservation that covers all of Tibet across six provinces. He then disclosed that instead of truly protecting the vulnerable ecology of Tibet, this Article 18 legislature explicitly expelled Tibetan pastoralists from their pastures, removing the traditional caretakers from their homeland. You can visit https://rukor.org/ for essays by Gabriel Lafitte.

Audience actively listening to the talk