Goa – Sikyong Dr Lobsang, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Tibet, spoke November 17th at the 2nd India Ideas summit in Goa. The three day conference was themed 'Learnings from Civilization,' aimed at understanding contemporary India and its global context.
The summit was organized by India Foundation, an independent research centre focused on issues, challenges and opportunities of the Indian polity. Over 350 intellectuals including Union Ministers, professionals, journalists, politicians and social activists participating, and Bhutan Prime Minister attended as chief guest and keynote Speaker was Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.
The Sikyong's panel was titled 'Mother Earth, Mother Nature – The Eastern Wisdom,' and in his remarks, Sikyong spoke on the importance of the fragile Tibetan plateau and the global impact of Tibet's ecological destruction. With the UN's upcoming COP21 summit on climate change, he implored the world to commit to a strong climate change agreement for the health and sustainability of the entire world.
"The Tibetan plateau is going through a disastrous experience of illegal mining, deforestation, damming of rivers, etc. This is harming the environmental health of not only Tibet but also of its neighbors, particularly the countries lying downstream," Sikyong said.
"Tibetans, as Buddhists, are peaceful and maintain harmony with nature. So much so that mountains and the soil are considered sacred and revered as the abode of gods and deities. We are governed by a concept of Mahakaruna: that you need to have Karuna for everything including nature as well as sentient beings," Sikyong explained.
However, Sikyong cautioned that the modern man with science as a weapon is moving on a self-destructive mode. "The modern man thinks he can dominate everything including Mother Nature. They say they want to win the battle with nature. But if you think carefully, if humans win the battle with nature, they are actually on the losing side because if nature loses, you lose," he said, stressing the need for respect to nature in order for humanity to survive.
"Most of the natural calamities including tsunami and global warming are created in part by man. The recent heat wave across Europe, for instance, was caused by melting of glaciers in Tibet according to some environmental experts from China," Sikyong noted.
Emphasizing the need for recognition of the Tibetan plateau's global significance, Sikyong said: "Tibet is not only the largest and highest plateau in the world; it is home to the third-largest store of ice and the largest source of accessible fresh water on the planet. It is also the head source of Asia's six largest rivers, flowing into the 10 most-densely populated nations. Therefore, Tibet should be central to the environmental discussions."