Whether it is the green house effect or the ozone layer depletion, we have all contributed massively into the phenomenon, and this generous contribution is known as carbon-footprint. However, many countries have taken eco-friendly initiatives in order to reduce their carbon-footprint. But one country has defied all odds to become a carbon neutral zone while the rest of the world remain unaware of this progressing environment degradation. Bhutan has been declared as the world’s first country in 2016 to become carbon negative.
With all the lush greenery and the majestic fog covered temples amidst the range of mountains truly paints the perfect picture when thinking of Bhutan. A country that is often overlooked by the international community lies deep within the Himalayas, shadowed by its neighbors China and India, two of the most populated countries in the world. The beautiful country has progressed in both political and environmental aspects in the last decade. They have been emphasising the growth of their economy on Gross National Happiness (GNH), and basing their national decisions on the index rather than over political agendas.
Carbon Dioxide is the largest contributing greenhouse gas emission produced by humans, which in turn drastically alters the worldwide climate change. Most countries produce too much carbon dioxide compared to what they absorb, and thus the residual amount remains in the atmosphere and slowly keeps building up. Bhutan still believes in keeping its forests green and filled with trees. 72% of the country is still forested, absorbing over 6 million tons of carbon annually while only producing 1.5 million tons, in comparison to the greater United States which produces around 16.5 tons.
Here are some pointers into how Bhutan made this miracle happen. They put a ban on export logging. A constitutional amendment was made in favour of keeping forest areas over 60%, and most importantly, they stopped consuming precious fossil fuels that degraded the environment and switched to a better eco-friendly and sustainable source for power, hydroelectricity from its many large rivers. A few smart choices and Bhutan has made it to the top. Bhutan started to protect its environment instead of destroying it like the rest of us.
This green country does not plan to stop just here instead, by 2030 Bhutan plans to reach zero net greenhouse gas admission and to produce zero waste. Therefore, implementing a comprehensive plan of sustainability by using renewable energy sources such as wind, biogas, and solar power. They have even approached the Japanese carmaker, Nissan to provide electrical cars in order to replace the fuel burning ones and to eventually, change all vehicles to electric. The government has taken various initiatives to provide rural farmers with free electricity in order to lessen their consumption and dependence of wood as fuel. Last year, around 49,672 trees have been planted within just one hour, setting a world record. But the 750,000 people of Bhutan have set some remarkable environmental benchmarks for the rest of us. Here is to hoping that we too, can one day contribute into protecting this blue planet that we call home.