Australia Tibet Council

Enabling everyone in Australia to be part of change in Tibet

Tibet’s environment and its global impact

EnvironmentBanner2Tibet is a place of great environmental importance. The Tibetan plateau is the driver of global climate systems. Referred to as the world’s Third Pole, the glaciers of the Tibetan plateau has the world’s largest reserve of freshwater outside the Arctic and the Antarctic. These glaciers are the source of many of Asia’s major rivers. Global warming is melting these glaciers, threatening the water supply of more than 1 billion people in 11 downstream countries.

Development, resource extraction and misguided policies of the Chinese government such as the forced removal of nomads are damaging sensitive ecosystems providing little if any benefits to the Tibetans.

Our campaign on Tibetan environment will highlight the implications of changes in Tibet for the region and the wider world.


  1. In the lead up to the UN Climate Conference in Paris in December 2015, we released our report Tibet - An Environmental Challenge in the Parliament. The International Tibet Network distributed a special edition of our report among activists and leaders attending the UN climate summit in Paris.

  2. On the eve of the climate summit, we joined Australia’s Tibetan communities at the People’s Climate March rallies across Australia to show that Tibet is at the global forefront of climate change.

  3. In March 2015, our Tibet Advocacy Day team sent a strong message to Australia’s political leaders that Tibetan environment has global impact and the Australian government and parliament cannot afford to ignore Tibet. 

So what’s next?  We'll be organising awareness-raising activities to build new alliances with experts and leaders in the environment movement and engaging the broader Australian community on why Tibet matters in today’s world.

In April, we hosted an informative panel discussion - Tibet, Roof of the world: Climate change, human rights, and our common future - at the Festival of Tibet.

And throughout 2016, by sharing this compelling story of Tibet’s enormous environmental significance, we’ll take the Tibet issue to new audiences and build support for an urgent and peaceful resolution. And for those who already care deeply about Tibet, open a new window on this beautiful part of the planet.


On World Environment Day, we delivered a big postcard to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Together we have highlighted the crucial importance of Tibet on this World Environment Day.

Our message is simple. Australia and the world can no longer afford to ignore the environmental and human rights crisis in Tibet.

As the Dalai Lama says, “this blue planet is our only home and Tibet is its roof. The Tibetan plateau needs to be protected, not just for Tibetans, but for the environmental health and sustainability of the entire world."

The ABC has done a rare and important coverage on Tibet’s environment. The Lateline program on 25 July showed the rapid changes that are taking place on the Tibetan plateau and their global implications.

Watch this special coverage of how Tibet is on the frontline of global climate change

ABC video1

The ABC has also done a wonderful web feature to highlight this important issue.

Click here to read the report and see some stunning images.

Click on the images to enlarge

View the embedded image gallery online at:

“We believe that living and non-living beings of this earth are interdependent on each other and that we must live in harmony with nature. China’s development and environment policies in Tibet are in conflict with our traditional Tibetan values.”

These are the words of Tibetan activist and former political prisoner Tsering Dorje during our panel discussion - Tibet, Climate Change and Our Common Future - at the Festival of Tibet in Brisbane this past weekend.