The Most Eco-Friendly Nation on the Planet Is Now Carbon Negative
The Most Eco-Friendly Nation on the Planet Is Now Carbon Negative
“If the Government cannot create happiness for its people, there is no purpose for the Government to exist.” ~Legal code of Bhutan, 1729
By Carolanne Wright / wakeup-world.com
May 24, 2016

Lodged between two of the most populated countries on earth — India and China — Bhutan may be small at 700,000 souls, but it has a mighty role to play in showing the world how to preserve the environment, while also cultivating happiness in its human population. In fact, the Bhutanese believe that nature and happiness go hand in hand, that it’s impossible to have one without the other.

“Preserve our natural rich heritage do not pollute the surroundings. Remember nature is the source of all happiness.” ~ Drukgyel HSS

One way Bhutan is protecting its natural surroundings is by taking “carbon neutral” up a notch to “carbon negative” — where the country absorbs three times more CO2 emissions than the population generates, mainly through hydropower and the protection of its forests. Since last year, the country is a designated “carbon sink,” where it stores more carbon than it emits. Moreover, the constitution itself demands that a minimum of 60 percent of Bhutan’s total land remain under forest cover for all time. It’s currently at 72 percent. As we know, maintaining forested land is an important component of supporting the environment and buffering the effects of climate change. Instead of narrowly focusing on Gross National Product — and logging their forests to no end for short-term gains — Bhutan has chosen a path less traveled. And are happier for it.

Bhutanese Prime Minister sets the record straight about the realities of climate change

“My country and my people have done nothing to contribute to global warming, but we are already bearing the brunt of its consequences.” ~ Tshering Tobgay, Bhutanese Prime Minister

Bhutan has good reason to want to curb global warming. Beyond the sheer pristine beauty of their natural environment — and desiring to protect it for generations to come — Bhutan has already seen the devastating effects climatic changes have had on the country. Glaciers melting and creating lakes that, while stunning, pose a very real threat of flash flooding — which is exactly what happened a few years ago, wreaking havoc on the valley below when the dams were breached. Considering Bhutan has 2,700 similar glacial lakes to contend with, the ramifications of global warming are daunting for this tiny Himalayan country.

Says Thinley Namgyel, Bhutan’s chief negotiator at COP 21:

“People are already noticing the temperature changes. High mountains which should be closed for months are now open year-round. Monsoon rains are not arriving on time, and then appearing when we don’t need them, destroying crops.”

And Richard Black, director for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) adds:

“As a small state high in the Himalayas, Bhutan faces disruption to water supplies, extreme weather and impacts on ecosystems as a result of changes to the climate, so it is in their interests to address the problem both domestically and through the UN climate process.”

But no one, up until this point, has been listening.

Back in 2009 during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP 15, in Copenhagen, Bhutan first made the promise to remain carbon neutral. “Governments were so busy arguing with one another and blaming each other for causing climate change, that when a small country raised our hands and announced, “We promise to remain carbon neutral for all time,” nobody heard us. Nobody cared,” said Tobgay.

Fortunately, a renewed promise made at the COP 21 in Paris fared better. Governments agreed on the realities of climate change and were willing to work together in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Finally Bhutan was heard and noticed — even recognized as a good example of how to solve the looming problem of global warming. Things are looking up. Nonetheless, there’s still a long way to go. But Bhutan is making major strides. Here’s how.

Multi-pronged approach to cooling global warming

Not only is the country preserving forests to help the environment — and investing in low-pollution energy sources like hydropower — but it’s also taking steps to combat the regional growth of gasoline-powered cars by imposing strong automobile taxes, implementing a public transit system and encouraging a greater use of electric vehicles through subsidizing their purchase. The Prime Minister hopes to eventually convert all the country’s vehicles to electric power. Similarly, Bhutan subsidizes the cost of LED lights and the government is in the process of going completely paperless. In addition, free electricity is provided to rural farmers, which helps to reduce the use of firewood for cooking food. By 2030, Bhutan plans to be zero-waste and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions. And the country’s food supply will be 100% organic by 2020.

We then come full circle to the focus on trees. Through the national programs Clean Bhutan and Green Bhutan, trees are being planted across the country. A ban on export logging is also in place. In June 2015, a world record was made by a team of 100 volunteers for planting 49,672 trees within an hour. The following March, in celebration of the birth of the first child of King Khesar and Queen Jetson, each household in the nation — 82,000 to be exact — planted a tree, while an additional 26,000 were planted in various areas around the country, bringing the total up to 108,000.

All and all, Bhutan is proving itself to be a leader of innovative solutions for the challenges we face regarding climate change. Let’s hope larger, more influential nations will follow suit in the not so distant future.

This country isn’t just carbon neutral — it’s carbon negative

Sources


About the author:

Carolanne Wright enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years.

Through her website Thrive-Living.net, she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people from around the world who share a similar vision. You can also follow Carolanne on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

3.5 ·
1
Trending Today
Why It's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound
Bethany Webster · 16,055 views today · The issue at the core of women’s empowerment is the mother wound
Before He Was Assassinated, MLK Jr. Was Advocating For An End To Income Inequality
10 min · 12,273 views today · We can honor MLK Jr. by pursuing the causes he was advocating for before he was killed.  ​​ Part 2: The Basic Income, A New Human Right (3 minutes) MLK's idea of a basic...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 7,804 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Watch How Europeans Carved Up African Land They Never Owned
56 min · 7,679 views today · Watch how Europeans gave away African land they never owned, then expressed anger when Africans resisted. The film is called Africa: A Voyage of Discovery, Episode 6: The...
The Corporation (2003)
145 min · 3,754 views today · The Corporation is today's dominant institution, creating great wealth but also great harm. This 26 award-winning documentary examines the nature, evolution, impacts and future...
One "Piece of the Oppressor" That I Have Discovered Within Myself
Tim Hjersted · 3,098 views today · One "piece of the oppressor" that I have found in myself during my inner activist journeys is my use of shame as a method of engaging with the world's problems. Having learned...
#ReclaimMLK Seeks to Combat the Sanitizing of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy
Danielle C. Belton · 2,188 views today · Martin Luther King Jr. had more than “a dream,” but you might not notice that on Monday during observances for his birthday. Somewhere between his assassination and today...
What Martin Luther King Jr. Can Teach Us about Nonviolence
John Dear · 1,940 views today · I've been reflecting on the principles of nonviolence that Martin Luther King Jr. learned during the historic yearlong bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala. After Rosa Parks refused...
Coping With Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the White House
N Ziehl · 1,557 views today · I want to talk a little about narcissistic personality disorder. I’ve unfortunately had a great deal of experience with it, and I’m feeling badly for those of you who are...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 1,152 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 972 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
The Comprehensive Activist Guide to Dismantling Neoliberalism
Drew Serres · 476 views today · “The creation of today’s market society was not the result of a sequence of spontaneous events but rather of state interference and violence.” – Naomi Klein in The Shock...
90 Inspiring and Visionary Films That Will Change How You See the World in Profound Ways
Tim Hjersted · 436 views today · The world today is in crisis. Everybody knows that. But what is driving this crisis? It's a story, a story that is destroying the world. It's a story about our relationship to...
22 Documentaries That Tell the Truth About How Government Really Works
Tim Hjersted · 424 views today · And 6 that show how people are responding.
The Invention of Capitalism: How a Self-Sufficient Peasantry was Whipped Into Industrial Wage Slaves
Yasha Levine · 349 views today · “…everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.” —Arthur Young; 1771 Our popular economic wisdom says that...
Positive Thinking in a Dark Age: A Guide to Gracefully Losing Faith in a Collapsing Dominant Culture
Jim Tull · 323 views today · I recall a Buddhist parable involving a stick that appears from a distance to be a snake, causing fear to rise in the perceiver. As the perception shifts upon closer...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 310 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
This Woman Gets No Applause...Why? They Are Too Creeped Out...
7 min · 306 views today · Think you aren't being fooled by advertising tricks? Take a look at this so-called expert revealing food marketing's secret weapon. No amount of marketing makes factory farming...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 293 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Live Before You Die
6 min · 264 views today · Travelling the length of the country and back again with a pair of horses and gypsy caravan, Live Before You Die is the ultimate horse-drawn road movie, following a band of...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
The Most Eco-Friendly Nation on the Planet Is Now Carbon Negative