Adventure travel writer Michael Buckley calls the desecration of the Tibetan Plateau by occupying Chinese as a disaster of Biblical proportions, giving rise to Meltdown in Tibet (Palgrave/Macmillan & Raincoast 2014). With the arrival of the train in Tibet, large-scale mining of lithium, gold, copper, lead, crude oil, natural gas and other resources is underway to feed China's voracious industrial sector. Canadian mining companies are complicit in the mining, pollution and enviromental damage.

None of this benefits Tibetans. In fact, mining pollutes drinking water and kills the livestock. According to Michael Buckley, the degree of environmental damage is viewable on Google Earth. In a nutshell, one way or another, over a billion people will be seriously affected by Chinese mining and megadams in the Tibetan Plateau-a figure that includes Chinese downstream on the Yellow and Yangtse rivers (leading to Yangtse Delta and Yellow River Delta).

The major trans-boundary rivers that will be impacted by China's dam-building and mining are the Mekong, the Salween (starting up with string of megadams now), and the Yarlung Tsangpo which runs from Tibet through Bangladesh and India (with start-up of five new megadams in Tibet, as well as extensive mining close to the river).

The subtitle of Buckley's book is China's reckless destruction of ecosystems from the highlights of Tibet to the deltas of Asia. Buckley is also filmmaker for three short documentaries about major environmental problems in Tibet.

As a photographer and videographer, Buckley is equally at home in Asia, India or the Himalayas. He has travelled widely on seven continents, and thrives on adventuring in remote areas-rappelling from the treetops of Costa Rica, cave-kayaking in Thailand, bicycling over high passes on the Karakoram Highway, trekking over a snowbound pass at Mount Kailash, chasing rare mammals in Bhutan, or diving with manta rays in the tropical waters of Borneo.

He is author or co-author of ten books about Asian and Himalayan travel, including Eccentric Explorers: Unravelling the Mysteries of Tibet (Crazyhorse 2008), a biography-based book about ten adventurers to the Tibetan plateau. This book won the Biography category at the National Indie Excellence Awards in California in 2009.

Other titles include Shangri-La: A Travel Guide to the Himalayan Dream (2008); Tibet: the Bradt Travel Guide (2012); Heartlands: Travels in the Tibetan World (2002); and a guidebook to Indochina titled Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. (2006). One of his earlier books is Bangkok Handbook. In Cycling to Xian & Other Excursions he describes his 4,000-mile journey through China overland to Kathmandu, half of it by bicycle.

Buckley's feature stories have appeared in dozens of magazines, newspapers and other sources. Buckley believes travel is transformation. "Travel cuts across barriers of time and space. It gives you a special sense of being wide awake-everything is new and different and magical, and there's so much to be discovered, so much to learn. Real travel means encountering people whose way of life is very different from your own and learning from them."

AWARDS

Eccentric Explorers: Unravelling the Mysteries of Tibet, winner in Biography category, National Indie Excellence Awards, USA, 2009

Heartlands: Travels in the Tibetan World, Bronze Medal Winner, Best Travel Book
Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards
SATW Foundation, USA, 2003

Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, Honorable Mention Award, Travel Guide, ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Awards, USA, 2006

WEBSITES

www.himmies.com

www.WildYakFilms.com

BOOKS

Meltdown in Tibet (Palgrave/Macmillan & Raincoast 2014). 978-1-137-27954-5
Tibet: the Bradt Travel Guide (2012)
Eccentric Explorers: Unravelling the Mysteries of Tibet (Crazyhorse 2008)
Shangri-La: A Travel Guide to the Himalayan Dream (2008)
Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos (2006)
Heartlands: Travels in the Tibetan World (2002)

[BCBW 2014]