Project Locations: Tibet
Often referred to as ‘the roof of the world’, TIBET is the highest region on earth and boasts stunning landscapes, primitive forests and vast steppes that lie between the region’s snow-capped mountains. Bordering Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan and four other provinces in China, Tibet has the lowest population density among China’s province-level administrative regions, the majority of which is ethnically Tibetan and practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism and Bön, the oldest spiritual tradition of Tibet.
The region is home to mighty rivers and the world’s highest lakes as well as numerous exotic wildlife and plant species. However, in recent years there have been obvious changes to the local environment due to economic development and climate change, leading to both desertification and glacial melting. While the local livelihood is still largely based on subsistence agriculture, Tibet is subject to heavy investment particularly for its mineral and power-generating resources. It is important to guarantee that these rapid changes do not have a detrimental effect on local culture and that traditions and indigenous knowledge are preserved.
• Community Education for Sustainable Development
Traditional Tibetan culture is a valuable component of the world’s heritage. The indigenous knowledge and culture of Tibet has a great deal to offer the world in terms of belief systems, approaches to natural surroundings and way of life. In order to protect the traditions of this region public participation is essential, especially the involvement of the younger generation and local communities. For this participation to be effective, active learning and preservation activities by all the stakeholders must be facilitated through appropriate programmes that provide locally relevant and meaningful learning experiences with regards to local tradition and cultural heritage.
The Institute for Sustainable Development of Tibet University in Lhasa was developed with the support of the Shangri-la Institute, to provide a vital platform for the learning and development of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the region. Most teachers who have studied at the institute mainly go on to work at schools in the Tibet Autonomous Region. In addition, the Institute has become involved in and developed considerable expertise in ecological research, which has brought them in touch with the traditional rural communities with a strong commitment to living a subsistence lifestyle despite their ever-changing environment.
• Climate Change Education
Lhasa is also one of the sites from our CCE project that aims to integrate local indigenous knowledge and practice with the scientific, social and ethical concepts to develop a set of national guidelines for Climate Change Education.
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