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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Opinion: Free Tibet from pollution

December 30, 2010 December 28, 2010

In Our View / Climate Change

One document obtained by Wikileaks that didn’t get enough attention,
apparently due to insufficient citing of public figures’ peccadillos,
was the cable describing the Dalai Lama’s concern about climate change.

The Buddhist leader told American officals the issue of Tibet’s
political future should be temporarily shelved in favor of immediate
action help save the sacred Himalayas, according to the cable released
by The Guardian newspaper.

The Dalai Lama told the U.S. ambassador to India that political talks
with Beijing could wait for five or 10 years, but that the environmental
crisis cannot wait.

The Himalayas are the Earth’s most massive mountain system and home to
its highest peaks. The entire range is often called “The Roof of the
World” and contains the greatest area of glaciers and permafrost outside
of the poles. While the vastness of the Himalayas remains difficult to
comprehend, the tangible effects from environmental damage unfortunately
brings the region back down to earth.

The Dalai Lama pointed to the Himalaya’s melting glaciers, deforestation
and increasingly polluted waters as evidence for his call to focus on
the physical. He is particularly critical of China’s dams, which have
displaced thousands of Tibetans while leaving temples and monasteries

We agree with those who say the Dalai Lama is on the right path. It’s
difficult to think of an issue — protecting the Earth — that more
clearly fits the Buddhist belief that all things, great and small,
plant, animal and objects, are interconnected.

So we agree again with those who say not only should the Dalai Lama take
on this issue, he should take it on more publicly, roundly and strongly.
That is to say, it’s not just China that needs pressuring. Huffington
Post blogger Nikolas Kozloff notes, “If the Dalai Lama is serious about
safeguarding Himalayan glaciers, then getting the U.S. (the world’s
second largest greenhouse gas emitter) to pressure China (the world’s
largest greenhouse gas emitter) is an exercise in futility.”

Kozloff argues that the “climate change justice movement” needs a
high-profile spokesperson and that the Dalai Lama, 75, is just the
person for the job.

Almost half of the world’s population depends on water from the
Himalayas. Which is why this is truly a “global” issue, regardless of
political boundaries. If caring for our earthly home so that current and
future generation can live here is something humans can’t agree on,
well, then, that would be karma.

This will take real work. Like Tibet’s political struggle with China,
making the environment just another liberal American bumper-sticker
issue won’t fix anything.
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