… to encourage people to question, discuss and understand climate change and its impact 

Chhimi Dema  

Phuntsho Tshering, knee-deep in snow, struggles to stand firm. Surrounded by snow-clad mountains, the glaciologist is dutifully measuring the thickness of the glacier. Every year he visits these mountains on foot to inspect the glaciers.

With Phuntsho Tshering as the protagonist, director Arun Bhattarai through his film – Mountain Man, presents what it takes for a small country like Bhutan to shield itself from the impact of climate change.

Mountain Man was screened yesterday at the inauguration of the Bhutan-CMS Vatavaran festival and forum on climate action and biodiversity conservation at the Royal Thimphu College.

Centre for Media Studies (CMS) Vatavaran is an international film festival and forum on the environment and wildlife.

The three-day festival and forum will screen 25 films on climate change, wildlife, and water from India, Bangladesh, Canada, Singapore, Germany, the USA, and Poland.

Director general of CMS and festival director, Vasanti Rao (PhD), said that the festival aims to encourage people to ask questions, start dialogues and understand the impact of climate change.

CMS Vatavaran aims to reach out to people in creative ways – touch their hearts through cinema and inspire them to take action for climate change, she added.

Bhutan is living in harmony with nature, Vasanti Rao said, adding that people need to realise how vulnerable the Bhutanese ecosystem is.

“The vulnerability needs to be reiterated so that people are encouraged to do more for nature,” she said.

The festival and forum aim to facilitate youth participation in planning, policy and action in conserving the natural resources and environment of the country.

The festival is supported by the Canadian High Commission in India and Bhutan, Royal Thimphu College, Norbuling Rigter College, and International Union for Conservation.

During the inaugural session yesterday, two environmentalists from Bhutan, Rebecca Pradhan, a senior botanist at the Royal Society for Protection of Nature and the Bhutan Ecological Society’s executive director, Nawang Norbu, received Green Ambassador Awards for their contribution to biodiversity conservation in Bhutan.