Posts Tagged "tibet"

Nuns in Nepal Rebuild Sustainably

Posted by on Feb 11, 2016 in Adaptation, All Posts, Communities, Experiences, Featured Posts | 0 comments

Nuns in Nepal Rebuild Sustainably

Spread the News:ShareFor more than eight months I have been working on a project to help restore a remote mountaintop Tibetan nunnery in Nepal, which was devastated by the earthquake last year. These activities draw directly on the religious traditions of the nuns and on indigenous building practices of the region. Four days after the earthquake on April 25, 2015, I took a private rescue flight to Bakhang, Sindhupalchowk district in Nepal. I found a ghostly landscape of flattened and damaged buildings.  The earthquake killed one nun and left all the others, about 200 in all, homeless. Thirty of them were seriously injured.  All the nunnery houses—which had been hand-built by the nuns—were destroyed. Sixty-four residents of nearby villages were also killed. In this rugged landscape, with glaciated mountains reaching over 5000 meters in elevation, active landslides created additional damage. The conditions were extremely difficult. Two hundred of us slept under one large blue tarp. Many nuns kept crying, mourning the dead and expressing great distress. Moving out from the shells of their homes created a spiritual crisis for the nuns, because they felt they violated their faith; according to Buddhist beliefs, it is not permitted to leave in the middle of spiritual practice, even in the face of a disaster like a fire or a flood. I was soon joined by my colleague from the Mountain Resiliency Project, a social enterprise dedicated to strengthening remote mountain communities in Nepal, and by others from the Hunnarshala Foundation and the Tibet Fund. We stayed for three weeks, providing psychosocial counseling to the nuns and assisting them with the first steps of the recovery. During that time, we did not receive any assistance from any government or international aid group. The members of our Tibetan and Sherpa communities in Kathmandu were the first to mobilize support. To date, more than half of the funds we have gathered are individual donations from within our community. American Jewish World Services, a non-sectarian humanitarian and emergency relief non-profit organization, has granted also $287,000 to our rehabilitation effort. Tibetans face difficulties in seeking help from the Nepali government, since they are largely refugees who lack legal documents. As refugees, they were also cut off from their families. The majority of the nuns come from my mother’s home district in southern Tibet, Dingri, the northern base of Mt. Everest. Many of them are my relatives. The nunnery itself is less than a day’s walk from the border between Nepal and Tibet, five to seven days’ walk to Dingri. The nunnery is located high on a mountain, a day’s walk from the nearest road. Where cars cannot travel, mountain people journey on foot. The nunnery has sheltered many Tibetan refugees who fled Chinese occupation to exile in India. The nuns were sent by their parents to Nepal at early ages— typically in their teens— because of the lack of prospects for them in Tibet. Their average age is now around 38.  Isolated from their relatives for decades, they lack familial support systems. Nonetheless, their childhood memories of home and strong cultural ties are central to their lives. In recognition of this identity and affiliation, our team emphasized the importance of reconstruction with a strong inclusion of traditional Tibetan building techniques while also incorporating techniques to make the buildings resilient in the face of earthquakes. This team included the Mountain Resiliency Project, along with the Hunnarshala Foundation and the Tibet Fund, and a local service society that supports the nunnery. “Many people in Nepal are lulled into this false sense of security with reinforced cement buildings and put...

Read More

Roundup: Icebergs, Mobile Toxins, Festive Algae

Posted by on Jan 18, 2016 in All Posts, Featured Posts, News, Roundup | 0 comments

Roundup: Icebergs, Mobile Toxins, Festive Algae

Spread the News:ShareIceberg Ahead! A New Study Finds Way to Avert Disaster “When performing offshore operations in the Arctic, there are several challenges. One of those challenges is the threat of icebergs on offshore structures and vessels. Icebergs can exert extremely high loads on vessels, offshore platforms, and seabed installations.” Find out how the team is proposing safer Arctic travels.    Glaciers Retreat Toxic Metals Are on the Move in Tibet “In mountain ecosystems, the most important natural source of trace metals is from the weathering of parent materials. However, in recent decades, the metals in mountain regions are mainly from anthropogenic sources including mining, refinement, and fuel combustion. Considering the toxicity of trace metals, it is necessary to investigate and evaluate their mobility and eco-risk in mountain ecosystems.” Learn more about the possibly toxic soil exposed as glaciers retreat.   With Red and Green Snow, Algae Just Misses Christmas Season “We demonstrate that green and red snow clearly vary in their physico-chemical environment, their microbial community composition and their metabolic profiles. For the algae this likely reflects both different stages of their life cycles and their adaptation strategies. ” Read more about the colorful algae and what it means for soil quality.   Spread the...

Read More

Tibet’s Melting Glaciers; The World’s Leaky Roof

Posted by on Dec 2, 2015 in All Posts, Communities, Featured Posts, News | 0 comments

Tibet’s Melting Glaciers; The World’s Leaky Roof

Spread the News:ShareTibet is often referred to as the roof of the world, since it is the world’s largest and highest plateau. The lead-up to the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris, or COP21, created a push to make Tibet a central part of the discussions, even though it does not have direct representation there. Though some countries, such as Peru and Nepal, incorporate minority peoples into their national delegations at COP21, China has not included Tibetan representation in their delegation. The Climate Action for the Roof of the World campaign is arguing that the COP21 agreement cannot be accomplished, and thus the house cannot be saved, without direct consideration of Tibet. This planet is our home and Tibet its roof. We need #climateaction for #Tibet – the #RoofOfTheWorld #COP21 #ADP2015 https://t.co/5JsgkUwfLb — Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) November 28, 2015 Tibet is not only the highest plateau, with an average elevation of more than 4000 meters above sea level, it is also known as the Third Pole of the world. With 46,000 glaciers, it is the world’s largest concentration of ice after the Arctic region and Antarctica, at the North and South Poles. Two-thirds of those glaciers may be gone by 2050 if the current rate of retreat is sustained. In a press release on the campaign’s website there is a powerful quote from the Dalai Lama: “This blue planet is our only home and Tibet is its roof. As vital as the Arctic and Antarctic, it is the ThirdPole…[t]he Tibetan Plateau needs to be protected, not just for Tibetans but for the environmental health and sustainability of the entire world.” The goal of the campaign is to show the world how environmentally critical and fragile Tibet is. The Roof of the World campaign highlights a few key points that they feel make the Tibetan plateau crucial to the world’s climate and therefore central to COP21; the glaciers provide water for 1.3 billion people in the surrounding area, it influences the region’s monsoons, and there has been a link made connecting thinning Tibetan snow cover with heat waves in Europe. The campaigners believe that if the Tibetan ecosystem is to be preserved, the Chinese government needs to enforce their Environmental Protection Law more vigorously and the global community needs to engage in robust climate action. The campaign points out a number of  critical areas that need to be addressed in a worldwide: retreating glaciers, permafrost melting, the lack of snow accumulation since the 1950s, and threats from deforestation, mining, and dams as. @Tibetans #RoofOfTheWorld photo challenge #peoplesclimate march happening in Brisbane https://t.co/RcNRxhINSQ pic.twitter.com/UfX4vXu3vJ — clara (@clara111) November 28, 2015 The campaign could be seen as a form of “clicktivism” since it is being introduced to the world by way of social media. There is an online photo challenge where people post photos of themselves with their hands above their heads, forming a “roof,” to show their solidarity with the campaign. There are even pictures of the Dalai Lama getting involved, posting his own roof photo. The Dalai Lama has been actively pursuing climate change action since 2011, so it is notable that this is the campaign he has chosen to support. There is also a Thunderclap organization that attempts to amplify users’ messages through way of active social participation that the Roof of the World campaign has used to spread it’s message. The website itself, though, is full of informative guides to help update those who wish to learn more about Tibet and seems to actively push for action beyond the social media campaign. GlacierHub’s managing editor, Ben Orlove, who is currently...

Read More

Roundup: Droughts and Floods in the Future

Posted by on Nov 23, 2015 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Roundup, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Roundup: Droughts and Floods in the Future

Spread the News:Share15% Shrinkage for Tibet Glaciers “Glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau – the source of rivers such as the Brahmaputra – have shrunk by as much as 15 per cent, retreating by 8,000 square kilometres since 1980, according to a new Chinese government-backed study. The decades-long study conducted by the official Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) discovered that the perennial frozen earth on the Tibetan plateau had also shrunk by 16 per cent over the past 30 years.” Read more of the story here.   Nepali Communities in Fear of Glacial Melt Floods “Pemba Sherpa looks fearfully at the huge Imjha glacier lake which lies at an altitude of nearly 6,000 metres above sea level in the Everest region of eastern Nepal…His house in Chukung village is only a few kilometres from the rapidly growing lake.”   Read more of the story here.   Climate change: Melting glaciers bring energy uncertainty “Running 2,000 kilometres from east to west and comprising more than 60,000 square kilometres of ice, the Hindu Kush–Karakoram–Himalayan glaciers are a source of water for the quarter of the global population that lives in south Asia. Glaciers are natural stores and regulators of water supply to rivers, which, in turn, provide water for domestic and industrial consumption, energy generation and irrigation.” Read more of the story here. Spread the...

Read More

Photo Friday: Glaciers in China

Posted by on Jan 2, 2015 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts, Images | 0 comments

Photo Friday: Glaciers in China

Spread the News:ShareSouthwest China, part of the Tibetan region, has a large number of high peaks, many of them with glaciers. The photos here are showing glacial mountains from Tibet, Szechuan, and Yunnan provinces in southwest China. These are taken by Yu Song, a Chinese traveler with a strong interest in exploring the beauty of China’s mountain. Photo Friday highlights photo essays and collections from areas with glaciers. If you have photos you’d like to share, let us know in the comments, by Twitter @glacierhub or email us at glacierhub@gmail.com. Yala_Sichuan 青藏高原_Tibetan Plateau 西藏阿里日图新藏公路_Tibet copy 云南梅里雪山_Yunnan 西藏山南雅拉香布雪山_Tibet 西藏浪卡子卡若拉冰川佛塔_Tibet Spread the...

Read More