A young Tibetan man lies on the grassland of his family farm in the Sanjiangyuan or Three Rivers Headwater region of western China. The region contains the sources of the Yangtze, Mekong and Yellow Rivers.
A young Tibetan man lies on the grassland of his family farm in the Sanjiangyuan or Three Rivers Headwater region of western China. The region contains the sources of the Yangtze, Mekong and Yellow Rivers.

A Tibetan monk walks through a snowstorm in August. Snowstorms are rare at this time of year on the Tibetan Plateau, but climate change is leading to more extreme weather occurring at unexpected times.
A Tibetan monk walks through a snowstorm in August. Snowstorms are rare at this time of year on the Tibetan Plateau, but climate change is leading to more extreme weather occurring at unexpected times.

Harsh afternoon sun causes shadows to fall through the town of Zaduo, in the far interior of the Tibetan Plateau. Temperatures here are rising faster than anywhere else in Asia, having far-reaching implications for people across the region.
Harsh afternoon sun causes shadows to fall through the town of Zaduo, in the far interior of the Tibetan Plateau. Temperatures here are rising faster than anywhere else in Asia, having far-reaching implications for people across the region.

A young Tibetan monk stands next to a river in the town of Sershul in Sichuan Province.
A young Tibetan monk stands next to a river in the town of Sershul in Sichuan Province.

Tibetans inside a "relocation town," created to house nomadic herders moved from the highland grasslands.
Tibetans inside a “relocation town,” created to house nomadic herders moved from the highland grasslands.

Severe pollution in a waterway in the Tibetan town of Donda, in China's western Qinghai Province. Little education is given to the locals about how to dispose of waste. Failure by the authorities to collect refuse has led to the contamination of many urban water resources.
Severe pollution in a waterway in the Tibetan town of Donda, in China’s western Qinghai Province. Little education is given to the locals about how to dispose of waste. Failure by the authorities to collect refuse has led to the contamination of many urban water resources.

A heavy-machinery operator takes a break. Construction in the region is increasing rapidly as the government implements its "western development strategy," aimed at bringing prosperity to the region.
A heavy-machinery operator takes a break. Construction in the region is increasing rapidly as the government implements its “western development strategy,” aimed at bringing prosperity to the region.

A child sleeps in her family's tent on the grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau. Few nomads remain in the region, as many have been relocated into towns as part of large-scale relocation projects.
A child sleeps in her family’s tent on the grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau. Few nomads remain in the region, as many have been relocated into towns as part of large-scale relocation projects.

The ribcage of a yak lies in the highland grasslands 5,000 meters above sea level.
The ribcage of a yak lies in the highland grasslands 5,000 meters above sea level.

A young man walks up a plank near Tsyaring Lake, the official source of China's second mightiest waterway, the Yellow River. Temperatures are rising on the Tibetan Plateau twice as fast as anywhere else in Asia, causing concern in scientific circles as to how this will affect the sources of some of Asia's most important rivers.
A young man walks up a plank near Tsyaring Lake, the official source of China’s second mightiest waterway, the Yellow River. Temperatures are rising on the Tibetan Plateau twice as fast as anywhere else in Asia, causing concern in scientific circles as to how this will affect the sources of some of Asia’s most important rivers.

A contaminated pool of water by the side of one of the major highways that runs through the northeastern region of the Tibetan Plateau. Development in the region is having severe environmental consequences.
A contaminated pool of water by the side of one of the major highways that runs through the northeastern region of the Tibetan Plateau. Development in the region is having severe environmental consequences.

A Tibetan pilgrim prostrates himself during a pilgrimage to Lhasa.
A Tibetan pilgrim prostrates himself during a pilgrimage to Lhasa.

A young boy stands near the banks of a small river running through the town of Sershul, in northern Sichuan Province on the Tibetan Plateau. The region is known as Sanjiangyuan, or Three Rivers Headwaters, as it is the source of the Yangtze, Mekong and Yellow Rivers which feed millions of people who live downstream.
A young boy stands near the banks of a small river running through the town of Sershul, in northern Sichuan Province on the Tibetan Plateau. The region is known as Sanjiangyuan, or Three Rivers Headwaters, as it is the source of the Yangtze, Mekong and Yellow Rivers which feed millions of people who live downstream.

A Tibetan monk carries water cans toward a river on the grasslands. The water is for the local monastery in Sershul, in Sichuan Province on the Tibetan Plateau.
A Tibetan monk carries water cans toward a river on the grasslands. The water is for the local monastery in Sershul, in Sichuan Province on the Tibetan Plateau.

A gnarled sheep looks out onto a degraded grassland at the edge of the town of Donda, in Qinghai Province on the Tibetan Plateau. Development in rural areas has had detrimental effects on many local ecosystems as pollution connected with development contaminates local land.
A gnarled sheep looks out onto a degraded grassland at the edge of the town of Donda, in Qinghai Province on the Tibetan Plateau. Development in rural areas has had detrimental effects on many local ecosystems as pollution connected with development contaminates local land.

A Tibetan man near one of the first bridges that crosses the Mekong River, in the town of Zaduo on the Tibetan Plateau. The Mekong River quickly leaves China after originating on the plateau. However, China's management of this important resource will have implications for its future relationships with its neighbors who rely on water from this river.
A Tibetan man near one of the first bridges that crosses the Mekong River, in the town of Zaduo on the Tibetan Plateau. The Mekong River quickly leaves China after originating on the plateau. However, China’s management of this important resource will have implications for its future relationships with its neighbors who rely on water from this river.

A young boy playing in an irrigation channel in the town of Sershul in Sichuan Province.
A young boy playing in an irrigation channel in the town of Sershul in Sichuan Province.

A Tibetan boy looks out of a car window and onto the blue skies of the Tibetan Plateau.
A Tibetan boy looks out of a car window and onto the blue skies of the Tibetan Plateau.

A Chinese construction team at the side of a road on the Tibetan Plateau.
A Chinese construction team at the side of a road on the Tibetan Plateau.

A Tibetan man throws small pieces of paper, called "wind horses," into the air, next to a stupa on top of a mountain on the Tibetan Plateau. This practice is is said to bring good luck and a safe journey..
A Tibetan man throws small pieces of paper, called “wind horses,” into the air, next to a stupa on top of a mountain on the Tibetan Plateau. This practice is is said to bring good luck and a safe journey..

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