The world is struggling to fight out the damaging consequences of climate change. No number of global summits, scientific approaches, and green movements could pull down the carbon footprints on this planet; it is ever increasing.
The Kingdom of Bhutan, the small landlocked country safely nestled among the Himalayan mountain ranges is shining brightlyof being carbon neutral and is declared as the world’s most eco-friendly country.Ironically, sandwiched between two greenhouse gas emission giants China and India, Bhutan is silently carrying on the crusade to keep the planet clean and green.
For a tiny economically backward country like Bhutan, this achievement is no doubtoutstanding. And why not? A country that welcomed the first Royal newborn by planting 108,000 saplings highly speaks of its attitude in maintaining a carbon-negative environment sustainable for everybody.
According to the World Bank report, carbon emission of this country is negligible about 0.8 metric tons per capita. Not only it is a carbon-neutral country but is a carbon sink as well due to its high ability to absorb atmospheric carbon-dioxide.
Factors helping Bhutan to maintain the highest level of eco-friendliness:
- Low population:
Low population means low carbon footprints and less atmospheric pollution. Bhutan’s population that hovers near 8, 00,000 automatically works in favor of making the country eco-friendly.
- The culture:
Bhutanese by and large are followers of Buddhism, the religion which considers “A Tree as the provider that nourishes all living forms”. The initiator of this green movement Tenzin Lekphell inspired people of Bhutan to respect trees symbolizing them for health, beauty, longevity, and compassion.
Driven by this culture, Bhutan made entry into the Guinness World Record in 2015 by planting about 50,000 trees in just one hour.This is something that developed countries couldn’t achieve even after years of efforts.
- Constitution devoted to environment protection:
According to the constitution of Bhutan, about 60% of the land surface should be kept covered by forest. According to recent figures, Bhutan emits about 1.5 million tons of carbon every year while its forests absorb more than 6 million tons.Here are some more green facts about Bhutanese constitution:
- Every Bhutanese is treated as a trustee of the country’s natural resources and environment.
- Environment protection is considered as the fundamental duty of every citizen of Bhutan.
- They should strive towards the protection of country’s biodiversity and abstain from all sorts of environment-degrading activities through noise and physical pollution.
- They should always adopt the best environment-friendly practices.
- The nation’s achievement is judged by measuring Gross National Happiness (GNH) and not GDP.
- Setting future Green Targets:
The most admiring feature of Bhutan is that it is not resting inspite of their extraordinary achievement. The country is aiming for zero net greenhouse gas emission by 2020 and also has plans to go 100% organic. By 2030, it would turn to be a zero-waste country.
Such targets cannot be achieved only through mere official declarations to catch public attention. The efforts to achieve the set goals are no less appreciable with government lending full support to various community-based programs.
National Organic Program
Launched in 2011, this program is running successfully through the following initiatives taken:
- Training farmers free of cost in best organic farming practices by which farmers can increase their earnings.
- Providing financial assistance for organic farming.
- Switching to organic farming, many farmers of Bhutan have turned into successful entrepreneurs as well.
- Aiming for zero-dependency on imported food products:
Through this organic farming and making full use of hydropower, Bhutan is aiming to be self-reliant in food production. This would also help them in achieving their zero-waste target. Bhutan’s farmers are seeing brighter days through organic farming where they are using everything from plant remains to cow dung or chicken poop for farming reducing their dependency on environment-damaging fertilizers and pesticides.
- National EV strategy aiming towards zero-emission:
Bhutan is yet to be powered by 100% renewable energy. In a partnership deal with Nissan, the government aims to run electric vehicles (EV) to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels and further lessen the carbon-emissions.
There may be a lot of factors that have helped Bhutan to turn out as the greenest country but it is mainly the people’s attitude towards mother earth that contributed greatly to this achievement. Truly, this small country has set a bright example in its Go Green efforts for others to follow.