Tibet: Life on the Frontlines of Climate Change

Image by Jamie Williams
Monday 6 August 2018
6.00 - 7.30pm

This event has passed


Law School Foyer, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney



Sydney Ideas

As the earth’s ‘third pole’ and source of Asia’s major rivers, Tibet is an area of immense environmental and geostrategic importance.

For millennia, Tibet’s nomads flourished sustainably on the ‘roof of the world’. Today they are being forcibly removed from their ancestral lands. At the same time, the climate crisis is bringing dramatic changes to Tibet, with profound consequences both for Tibetans and the hundreds of millions of people who live downstream.

Tsechu Dolma, 25, is a Tibetan refugee, Columbia University graduate, and founder of the Mountain Resiliency Project – a social enterprise dedicated to building climate change resilient communities in Nepal through women’s empowerment in sustainable agribusiness. Her pioneering work led Tsechu to be recognised as one of Forbes 30 under 30 in social entrepreneurship.

Tsechu will explore how Tibet lies at the heart of many of the great development challenges of the 21st century. We will hear about how climate change is impacting Tibet, and how this affects the fresh water supply and food security of a staggering proportion of the world’s population. We will hear about the role of nomads in protecting Tibet’s environment, and the importance of traditional knowledge and practices in responding to climate change.

This talk promises to offer a unique insight into climate change, inclusive development, and the role of frontline communities in driving solutions.


Tsechu Dolma, Founder of the Mountain Resiliency Project


Kyinzom Dhongdue, Australia Tibet Council
Professor Robyn Alders, School of Life and Environmental Sciences


Professor Leanne Cutcher, Head of the Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Discipline


Tsechu Dolma was born to Tibetan refugee parents in Nepal, Tsechu Dolma moved to the United States as a young girl. She is the founder of Mountain Resiliency Project, a not-for-profit social enterprise dedicated to building climate change resilient communities through women’s empowerment in sustainable agribusiness. Her interest is in refugee rights, biodiversity conservation, climate change policy and inclusive development. Her work has been featured on Reuters, Forbes, NBC News, and Sierra Club. She was recognized as one of Forbes 30 under 30 in Social Entrepreneurship, Fulbright-Clinton Fellow, Echoing Green Fellow and Brower Youth Award winner. Tsechu has a BS in Environmental Science and MPA in Economic Development from Columbia University in New York.

Kyinzom Dhongdue is the Executive and Campaign Officer of Australia Tibet Council, the leading national organisation campaigning for human rights and freedoms of Tibetans. She is also the Member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile based in Dharamsala in Northern India. Kyinzom was born to Tibetan refugee parents in India and was schooled at the Tibetan Children’s Village. After studying at Delhi University, Kyinzom worked as a journalist for the Times of India and The Asian Age. She has lived in Australia since

Robyn Alders is a Professor of Food and Nutrition Security in the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney. She is also a Principal Research Fellow, School of Life and Environmental Sciences and member of Sydney Institute of Agriculture and the Charles Perkins Centre where she convenes the joint Charles Perkins Centre/Marie Bashir Institute Project Node on “Healthy Food Systems: Nutrition • Diversity • Safety”. For over 20 years, she has worked closely with smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia as a veterinarian, researcher and colleague. Her major research interests include domestic and global food and nutrition security and systems, Planetary Health, gender equity and Science Communication.

Leanne Cutcher is Head of the Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Discipline in the University of Sydney Business School.  Leanne’s research explores organizational strategy and discourse and how they impact on diversity, equity and inclusion for organizations, the people who work in them and the wider communities in which they are embedded. The not for profit sector has been the site for much of Leanne’s research.  Her research has been published widely in a range of journals including; Journal of Management Studies, Organization Studies, Human Relations, Organization, Work Employment and Society and Gender Work and Organization.