March 12, 2016

How The Tiny, Poor Country Of Bhutan Became One Of The Most Sustainable Countries On Earth

"The country knows it needs to develop, but it's making sure the development doesn't come at the expense of its natural resources."

Lush green valley

"My country is not one big monastery populated with happy monks."
That’s the first thing that Tshering Tobgay, the charismatic prime minister of the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan, wants you to know about his homeland.
People are forgiven for thinking otherwise. For its beautiful forests and mountains and ancient Buddhist architecture, Bhutan—a poor, isolated country sandwiched between India and China that famously measures Gross National Happiness as its main economic indicator—has been called the last Shangri-la. But the prime minister knows that perception works against Bhutan’s efforts to develop economically along a truly sustainable path that has eluded many other equally beautiful nations. In Bhutan, many people still live in poverty, youth unemployment is rising, and pressures on forests are increasing. Its total GDP, $2 billion, is half that of Springfield, Ohio.
But Bhutan has ambitious, long-term conservation goals. Its constitution requires a minimum of 60% of its land must be forested at all times; currently it's at 72%, with more than half the nation covered by a network of national parks, nature reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries. And when it became the first country to commit to being carbon neutral in perpetuity in 2009, it was actually already carbon negative: Its forests absorb three times more CO2 than the whole country emits.
All of this is easier in Bhutan than most nations. For one, its politics and culture are unusually cohesive. Governed under a series of monarchs who voluntarily let go of their power over the last two decades, the first democratic elections took place in 2008. And like Costa Rica—another small country within reach of being carbon neutral, Bhutan’s many rivers allow it to generate vast quantities carbon-free hydroelectricity. Much of the excess is exported to India.
Tobgay, a reformer who is only the second prime minister in the nation's history, knows none of this can be taken for granted. Even in Bhutan, he tells Co.Exist, forests face pressures from the outside in—from illegal logging, poaching, and mining—and the inside out—from poor communities who live in them.
"Over the next few years, our small economy won’t have the resources to cover all the costs that are required to protect our environment," he said to a room full of wealthy people at the latest TED conference in February. "When we run the numbers, it looks like it will take us at least 15 years before we can fully finance all our conservation efforts. But we in Bhutan and all the world can’t afford to spend 15 years going backwards."
fresh river water running through valley

A balanced view of ecotourism
Bhutan for Life isn’t the only way that the country is remaining sustainable and carbon neutral. Rural farmers get free electricity so that they won’t have to use firewood to cook food. The country is actually planting new trees through a program called Green Bhutan. And for a country that has been famously slow to incorporate new technologies—it only lifted a ban on televisions in 1999—it is subsidizing the purchase of LED lights and electric vehicles in a big way. With its cheap hydroelectric power, it hopes to become a world leader in EVs and has suspended import taxes on two EV car models.
Bhutan is also a famously isolated country. It requires expensive tourist permits for a fee of $250 a day, which include a mandatory guide. But it is working to develop this part of its economy, with its employment and revenue potential, in a careful way. "We can’t overdo tourism because it will undermine the very things we want to preserve for ourselves and share with the world. So it is a fine balance," Tobgay tell us.
Despite its uniqueness, Roberts hopes that Bhutan can be a model for many other countries. "Every country is different. But every country is also hungry for models that let them overcome the limits of traditional models of conservation. There is no other Bhutan on Earth ... but anytime you do something that works on a scale that matters, people are hungry to learn from it."


February 26, 2016

Bhutan officially enters Guinness World Record

Her Majesty Gyalyum Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck hands over certificate to the government represented by Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay
The Guinness World Records based in London, UK, yesterday officially awarded certificate to Bhutan for beating the Guinness world record by planting 49,672 trees in an hour over 25 acres of land on June 2 last year.
About 133 certificates were awarded to the government, agriculture and forest ministry, 100 volunteers who planted the saplings, stewards, forestry officials, sponsors of the event and two media partners by Her Majesty Gyalyum Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck in a ceremony held at the Terma Linca Resort.
Awarding the certificates Her Majesty said it was a befitting occasion to achieve this milestone to honour His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo, the Champion of the Earth on his 41st Coronation Day during His Majesty’s 60th year celebrations.
“When the anniversary of that special day (41st Coronation anniversary) comes, in four months time, it should be our collective wish and duty to ensure that most of those trees are thriving and not lost to neglect and forest fires,” Her Majesty Gyalyum Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck told the volunteers who planted an average of eight trees a minute to beat the record.
The volunteers, comprising desuups, civil servants, students, and corporate and private employees, planted five indigenous species of trees at Kuenselphodrang.
“This morning, it is my happiness to give you the Guinness World  Record Certificate which you have worked with deep sincerity and allegiance to receive,” Her Majesty said.
People’s initiative in Celebrating the Sixtieth Anniversary (PICSA) was formed under Her Majesty Gyalyum Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck as the royal patron to supplement the government’s initiatives for the 60th birth anniversary celebrations of His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
“We have our first Guinness World Record and by His Majesty The King Jigme Singye Wangchuck’s 61st birth anniversary, we will have a second in the form of the largest and the most beautiful book in the world,” Her Majesty announced. “This book is being made in Bhutan by Bhutanese artisans with Bhutanese raw materials.”
Her Majesty also expressed her deep gratitude to Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Finance Minister Namgay Dorji, Agriculture Minister Yeshey Dorji, and officials and staff of agriculture ministry for their whole-hearted enthusiasm and support. She also thanked the victorious planters for the historical landmark.
Her Majesty said, “The Fire Male Monkey Year has been the best and the most auspicious beginning with the arrival of The Gyalsey, truly a precious gift to our nation. May he be blessed with all the great qualities of his father and of his grandfather, may our guardian deities keep a constant watch over him to realize his destiny of  unparalleled service.”
Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said the saplings are growing and thriving. He said they will continue to take care of the saplings now and then. “My staff are fully involved and all inputs such as manure, water, weeding and care are being provided,” he said. “I am confident that the seedlings we had planted will grow into happy and healthy trees in a few years.” The minister urged all to visit the area and make their simple contribution by watering, manuring and weeding. “It belongs to us all.”
The minister also announced that another record will be attempted this year to commemorate the birth of The Gyalsey. “100 Bhutanese women will plant 50,000 trees in one hour in Kurtoe Lhuentse,” he announced.
The PICSA coordinator Karma Tshering said that Bhutan paid a registration fee of 5,500 Great Britain Pound to the Guinness World Record to attempt the record. “It was not easy to get registration and it took more than five months to accept our registration,” he said.
In his appreciation note to the participants, Guinness World Records president Alistair Richards said that of the thousands of applications they receive every month, less than five percent actually make it to become an official entry in their archive.
In 2012, Assam, India planted 40,885 trees by 100 men (army) in one hour.
Her Royal Highness Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck, prime minister, cabinet ministers, and senior government officials attended the certificate award ceremony.
Rinzin Wangchuk (Kuensel)

February 24, 2016

Amazing Photos of Chele La Pass

Ariel View of Chele La pass
The seed of faith in its setting 
Perfect medium to transmit spiritual message 
The art of Zen Buddhism
Simplicity and Blissfulness 
Placing hopes at sunset 
Beauty, Art and hopes
Inevitable Truth 

February 6, 2016

And the Royal Price is born

The King and Queen 
Our happiness knows no bounds, as we announce the Royal Birth of His Royal Highness The Gyalsey on 5th February 2016.
Our Prince, the first Royal Child of His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Her Majesty Queen Jetsun Pema, was delivered safely at the Lingkana Palace, Thimphu. His Majesty was at Her Majesty's side during the time of the delivery. Following the Royal Birth, His Royal Highness was first presented to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen and His Royal Highness are both in perfect health.
All sacred Bhutanese traditions were observed for the auspicious occasion, with His Holiness the Je Khenpo presiding over the religious ceremonies.
Their Majesties and members of the Royal family are filled with profound joy on the birth of His Royal Highness.
Their Majesties expressed appreciation to the Bhutanese medical team for their service.

Their Majesties also expressed heartfelt gratitude to the Zhung Dratshang, Rabdeys, and other religious organizations who performed prayer ceremonies in all the Dzongs and Lhakhangs across the country for the wellbeing of His Royal Highness, Their Majesties, and the people of Bhutan.
We join the people of Bhutan in our heartfelt prayers for the wellbeing of Her Majesty and His Royal Highness, and in the expression of our joy on this momentous occasion.
(Image: This photograph was taken on the 20th of January, 2016)



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