Tibet suffers melting glaciers and nuclear dumpage

As if living under the heel of a repressive communist neighbor wasn’t bad enough, Tibet now has to contend with a coming ecological catastrophe and nuclear waste it didn’t produce. According to a survey conducted by some 20 U.S. and Chinese scientists, Tibet’s glaciers — which have been receding for decades, particularly since 1990 — could melt entirely by 2100. The short-term result of melting will be an increase in river flows from the glaciers, but in the longer term those rivers could dry up, which could be devastating for 300 million or so residents of western China that depend on that water. Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama this week accused China of surreptitiously dumping nuclear waste in Tibet, citing birds and other animals born with birth defects. Still, despite being the spiritual and political representative of a country whose recent history makes the Book of Job look like a fairy tale, the world’s most famous Buddhist said, “I believe the world is getting better. I’m optimistic.”