All through the global pandemic, we’ve been looking up the death-tolls in various countries, comparing them, discussing them and fretting over them. The one country we haven’t really been speaking about is Bhutan; the death-toll there is zero.* Another key Bhutanese score that is zero is their net greenhouse gas emissions quantum - in fact Bhutan is the world’s only carbon-negative country, making it an apt place to discuss on World Environment Day.
Environmental concerns are at the core of Bhutan’s development strategies. The Bhutanese people face their own set of challenges, but they’ve still committed to environmental conservation goals like preserving 60% of the land area under forest cover, designating more than 40% of territory as national parks, reserves and other protected areas, and most recently, to identifying a further 9% of land area as biodiversity corridors linking the protected areas. In 2013 their government announced the aspiration that Bhutan will become the first country in the world with 100 percent organic farming. And instead of measuring their country’s progress in GDP values, they talk about GNH - Gross National Happiness.
Today, my daughter’s school reopened online after the summer, and in the orientation session they spoke about learning from each other - Bhutan does seem to have something going that we could all learn from, doesn’t it?
- “Bhutan set to plough lone furrow as world's first wholly organic country". The Guardian. 11 February 2013. Archived from the original on 9 August 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- Paull, John (2017) "Four New Strategies to Grow the Organic Agriculture Sector" Archived 4 March 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Agrofor International Journal, 2(3):61–70.
- New IUCN State Members". Switzerland: IUCN Newsletter. January 2012. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
- “Parks of Bhutan". Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation online. Bhutan Trust Fund. Archived from the original on 2 July 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
- “The Organisation". Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation online. Bhutan Trust Fund. Archived from the original on 29 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2011.