In a symbolic commemoration of Earth Day on 22 April, Indian environmentalists from Ladakh brought down a block of glacial ice and presented it to the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.
The ice was cut out from a glacier at 6,000m in Khardung La, and carried down in bicycles, public transport and electric vehicles in a journey that took four days.
To prevent the ice from melting quickly, it was packed in an insulated drum lined with locally produced pashmina fibre, and presented to the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile in the presence of delegates to an international conference on climate change in Dharamsala.
“This is more than a piece of ice , it is a message that the Himalaya is facing an unprecedented emergency because of climate change,” said Ladkah-based activist Sonam Wangchuk, as the ice melted and dripped on a table in front of the Dalai Lama.
Climate scientists at the conference said that the Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau are melting even faster than the global average, and predicted that most glaciers would be gone by the turn of the century unless fossil fuel use is drastically cut.
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