What are Tibetan nomads doing in the Swiss capital?

7. December 2015, 12:00

The passers-by were flabbergasted when they saw Tibetan nomads with a big Yak in the streets of Berne, the capital of Switzerland. Members from Tibetan Youth Association in Europe (TYAE) called with a banner for climate action for the roof of the world.

Tibetan activists dressed up as Tibetan nomads and walked trough the streets of Berne with a huge Yak-costume. Because of the consequences of global warming as well as the forced removal by Chinese authorities they are displaced far from their homeland. The young Tibetans therefore demand human rights for Tibetan nomads including their access to land, water and that their cultural identity needs to be preserved.
Tibet’s grasslands hold around one fifth of the world’s soil carbon. In Tibet it is the nomads who have sustainably maintained the fragile grasslands protecting the soil carbon. As the world struggles to curb greenhouse emissions, the ability to sequester carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will become an increasingly valuable service. Maintaining Tibet’s grasslands is essential to tackling global climate change. Tibetan nomads have been active stewards using traditional based knowledge for over 8,000 years.  

To preserve the unique eco-systems of the roof of the word which is Tibet as well as the impact on downstream nations that will feel the impact of the fast glacial melt, the activists urge their countries to put Tibet on the agenda of COP21. 

TYAE president, Tende Yundung, says: „Tibet as watertower of Asia needs to be protected and Switzerland as watertower of Europe has therefore a big responsibility.“

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