SAMANTHA CLANCY WRITES — In a time of rising carbon emissions, one country is commendably focusing its efforts on environmental sustainability: Bhutan. Located between China and India, its mountainous terrain and dense forest areas provide a sort of natural inaccessibility, allowing ecosystems to flourish, thanks to both the current administration’s policies and a historic, nationwide commitment to maintain a clean environment.
How deep is that commitment? Bhutan’s constitution requires that 60% of its land remain forested.
In fact, Bhutan is the only country in the world with negative carbon emissions. Why? Because its vast forests take in more CO2 than its people produce. And because the country actually has a Gross National Happiness index. Bhutan considers the Gross National Happiness index more important than Gross Domestic Product, as it measures non-economic aspects of life, using 9 domains such as health, education, and community as measurement.
All is not well, however—or clean. Recent population and economic growth have led to more pollution and trash than in prior years. And since environmental issues cross borders, pollution from neighboring countries can still hurt Bhutan’s pretty perfect clean environment. In an effort to combat this trend, Bhutan was represented at the important (and impossibly namedl!) 14th Session of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (COP14 UNCCD) by Lyonpo Yeshy Penjoy, Prime Minister of Agriculture and Forests.
Said he: “Bhutan is committed to remain carbon neutral and emphasizes on the critical requirement to transition to a clean energy economy” and then requested international support.
Here’s hoping that global communities buddy up with Bhutan to maintain a clean environment— and keep that Happiness Index high.