Treasured by Tibetans and foreigners
alike, Tibet's vast grasslands, powerful rivers, towering mountains and unique
wildlife constitute priceless fortune. For generations Tibetans have lived
harmoniously with their environment, viewing it as both a mystical abode for
the spirits and as a life-sustaining force. The Chinese government regards the
region as Xizang or "Western Treasure House," but the
government-instituted development projects, the commodification
of natural resources and migration policies have negatively impacted the
natural environment in Tibet.
Today, as a growing consciousness forms around global climate change, many
scientists are looking to Tibet as an early warning of possible environmental
calamity. Experts say that the Tibetan plateau, situated amid the Himalayas, is
well placed to offer various environmental indicators predicting the gravity of
future climate change.