It is the festival season in the country, or at least in the western region. Starting with the Blessed Rainy Day on Sunday and the Thimphu Tshechu in the capital city, it will be a long extended weekend. The festive season heralds a season of bountifulness, like our farmers say, a season to reap the gold by the handful, a reference to harvesting paddy.

Beyond the farming community and the revelry, like the change in season, it is time for change. When we return to work from the long break, the government will enter the final month of their five-year term. Government machinery and institutions will be preparing for significant changes as we prepare for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

If it is a season for change, there are reasons to look forward to changes.

Listening to the concerns of our people, we realise that we are still grappling with many fundamental issues. From pest depriving farmers of good yields to the private sector not getting the fuel to oil the engine of growth to ensuring basic infrastructure like, many are left frustrated. In addition to this are newer problems like the active working force leaving for abroad to seek greener pastures. There is no solution in sight. All we can expect is that they will come back or send home money to improve the livelihood of their relatives and the economy.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, leaders are meeting at the UN General Assembly session to discuss issues that affect humanity – climate change and its impact on mankind.

Bhutan is renowned for its commitment to environmental conservation and its status as a carbon-negative country. But that is not enough. We are increasingly feeling the heat of a warming world. Many believe that we just experienced the hottest September. The rain in the last few days brought relief reassuring our beliefs in the divine powers.  But like we say, we are the carpenters of our own crosses.

Climate change knows no borders or nationalities.  Our farmers are bearing witness to its impact, with apples this Autumn rotting on the trees, and colder places like Thimphu seeing fruit trees, plants and weeds of the hot places thrive. A lot of issues we are dealing with are not in our hands. But there are many that we can hope like the change in season brings along.

As we approach the final stretch of a year, the end of an elected government’s term and prepare for a new season, we realise that there is much to be done. We look forward with optimism, hoping for a season of abundance and a time when the challenges we face today are tackled by today’s generations and leadership.

In our region, the season of mellow fruitfulness is followed by the short and cold winter. How well we prepare for this sombre season depends on how we plan and our ability to transition into a season of hope and growth.