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FOREWORD


TIBET: Enduring Spirit, Exploited Land


The Dalai Lama

The people of Tibet for centuries have adhered to spiritual and environmental values in order to maintain the delicate balance of life. Tibetans have a great respect for all forms of life. The concepts of non-violence, compassion, and the interdependence of living and non-living elements of the earth, teach us to be more caring and more concerned about others and our surroundings. This belief is further strengthened by the Tibetan Buddhists' traditional adherence to the principle of self-contentment: that the environment should be used to fulfill one's needs, and not greed.

Prior to China's invasion in 1949, Tibet was a beautiful and unspoiled wilderness sanctuary in a unique natural environment. Unfortunately, during the last few decades, Tibet's wildlife and environment has been severely damaged and in many places the damage has been irreparable. The unique Tibetan way of life has been trampled upon by a materialistic and atheist attitude. The environment of Tibet is now plagued with rampant deforestation and excessive mining. It is further threatened by the increasing number of Chinese settlers pouring into Tibet for short-term economic gains.

The significance of the Tibetan Plateau could be understood from the fact that it is the source of ten major rivers, which are the lifeline of millions of people living in Asia. What happens in Tibet has a direct bearing on the lives of millions of people living downstream. The environmental balance of Tibet also affects the global weather pattern as recent scientific research shows.

At this crucial stage, Tibetans in Tibet and in exile need, more than ever before, the assistance of the global community in their endeavour to protect their homeland. Tibet's environment, with its distinct cultural heritage and national identity, can only be preserved if a mutually agreeable political solution is found to the Tibetan problem. I have been making every effort over the years to facilitate negotiations with the Chinese government. I appeal to various governments, organizations, and individuals to bring China to the negotiating table. I welcome this book and am sure that it will help in creating more awareness among the people about the tragic ecological plight of Tibet and move them to help save Tibet.

Tenzin Gyatso

The Dalai Lama


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