Third Pole | A Photo Story by Kieran Dodds

Kieran Dodds, 2014

“Education will ruin our culture” laments Dorje, a local Tibetan teacher describing how compulsory education is driving the resettlement of nomads. “These lifestyles are endangered. You rarely see people on horseback nowadays. To improve the living standard depends on education but to save our culture depends more on the people”. The Tibetan plateau is the world’s third pole, with vast ice-fields giving rise to waterways that influence the lives of 40% of the global population downstream. Sanjiangyuan (or ‘The Three Rivers Headwaters’) Nature Reserve is China’s water tower, strategically vital and jealously guarded. Yet it is also home to some of the last Tibetan nomads whose traditional lifestyle is now, more then ever, under threat. “The waters from Sanjiangyuan sustain life for 600 million people downstream but in recent years this vast water tower is under threat,” says Dr Marc Foggin, a conservation biologist.