The Third Polar Cap


It’s one of the remotest places on Earth. Yet even Tibet and its mountain resources cannot escape the wrath of climate change wrought by industrialization (Midui Glacier photo by reurinkjan).

In one of the most far reaching consequences of China’s rapid economic acceleration and its somewhat related occupation of Tibet, the world’s largest non-polar glacier reserve is endangered. Dubbed the Third Pole or the Roof of the World, this beautiful and remote resource is greatly endangered.

In a bizarre way, the disastrous glacial melt in Tibet represents a much slower version of the ecological apocalypse envisioned in Roland Emmerich’s 2012. The movie trailer shows a Tibetan monastery in the Himalayas overcome by a tsunami.
Readying to bring the world’s attention to the calamity is Tibet Third Pole, a group consisting of Tibetan, Chinese, and western scientists, development specialists, campaigners, and more than 170 Tibet Support Groups around the world. Third Pole will launch a series of campaigns in the run-up to and during the UN’s climate change conference in Copenhagen on Tibet’s behalf.

One thing is for sure about this year’s Copenhagen conference: More and more stories like the Third Pole’s plight will come to light. Each of our individual actions has very serious and real global impact.

Geoff Livingston is a regular contributor to the Live Earth blog.