Climate change is a reality. We realised that a long time ago. Only the world beyond had not the courage to accept it.

We have a special way of paying tribute to the world we live in. We do so with deep reverence to the leader extraordinaire that gave us everything. Our beloved Drukgyal Zhipa long recognised that human greed and carelessness will put the world in peril.

No one heard Him then, but now, when the world is facing myriad challenges related to climate and associated problems, we are still the champions of the environment.

The world still has time. We can make amends. That’s why we have Earth Day with the mission to plant 7.8 billion trees. Who is taking it seriously, though?

Bhutan has set aside a day in a year to celebrate social forestry initiatives, because for us greenery is more than life. It is, for us, the future. Small as we are, we have been bold to pave our own way and initiate our own programme to make this our home, planet Earth, safe for all.

Who approved of our dreams, we never cared because we believed in ourselves. It makes us feel good that now the world is looking at us and following our footsteps.

On June 2, Bhutanese in 20 dzongkhags planted about 169,826 saplings. In a remarkable feat, about a 100 women volunteers in Takila in Lhuentse planted some 49,718 saplings. We did not do it for records or recognition. We did it for the love of the world and enlightened wisdom of our leadership.

Social Forestry Day as we used to celebrate quietly took the back seat for some years, but now it has come again. For Pema, a Class V student of Changangkha Middle Secondary School, planting trees is her service to the nation as a responsible citizen. She knows that trees help combat climate change by absorbing excess and harmful CO2 from our atmosphere. Trees help us breathe clean air.

This is what Pema’s teacher told her. This is what thousands of our teachers tell our children everyday. The future looks good for Bhutan and the world. Let us plant more trees.