Where yaks roam and pineapples grow
Yak burgers are a sign of internationalization, and a lot more suggests that Tibet is opening up even as it protects its environment.
Think of the Tibet autonomous region and nature, and the popular imagination quickly sees yaks. Few would think of this place as pineapple country, but that is exactly what it is. Not only that, but other tropical fruits – such as mangoes, bananas and durian – are being grown, and that is being done organically.
Greenhouse technology enables the Zhizhao Pure Land agritech demonstration center in Lhasa to produce 60 tropical crops, the district says, including palm, rubber trees, bottle coconuts and orchids.
The pilot project exhibits innovative, green growth.
That said, a joke points to the somber realities of food production elsewhere on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
A city slicker is driving across the grassland when he crashes into a yak on the road, totaling his car and killing the yak. He confronts the nomad. “Why did you lead your yak onto the road? There’s no grass there.”
As quick as a flash the herder replies: “Why did you drive over my yak? There’s no road seal on it.”
That gag puts a humorous spin on concerns about parched prairies.
In the light of the desertification that climate change is bringing us, the joke raises very serious questions about Tibet’s future, ones that were raised at the 2016 Forum on the Development of Tibet on July 7 and 8. The event examined innovation, coordination, greening, openness and shared development.
The joke points to more than simply the collision between city and rural living; it also points to concerns about vanishing grasslands.
Indeed, the forum was an opportunity to discuss possible solutions, such as agricultural technology, to the development problems that Tibet faces.
As for those yaks, the region is so synonymous with them and are so omnipresent that the InterContinental hotel in Lhasa even serves Yak burgers.
While tropical produce defies the Shangri-La stereotype, it is not less real than yaks.
On the other hand, Yak burgers are a sign of internationalization, and a lot more suggests that Tibet is opening up even as it protects its environment.
In the 2016 Lhasa Consensus, signed by the State Council’s Information Office, Tibet’s regional government, Lhasa’s leaders and forum participants adopted proposals put forward by more than 100 experts from more than 30 countries.
I even got to move an amendment about climatechange mitigation and it made the cut.
Tibet generates virtually no greenhouse gases, yet bears some of their fiercest consequences.