As open as we decided to be, we are staunch protectionists. We are talking about our wildlife and the environment.
Bhutan for Life has come. But what is it? Each an every citizen of this nation needs to understand what this idea holds for us, and for our children, the future.
Although the idea was floated to the world beyond through prime minister’s TED Talk a year ago in Canada that impressed policymakers and environmentalists with Bhutan’s pledge to remain carbon neutral for all times to come, not so many Bhutanese know what Bhutan for Life really is.
Basically, Bhutan for Life is framed around the core principles and hard pillars of gross national happiness. It is country’s mission to put happiness before economic growth and to set a world standard for environmental preservation.
The idea is grand. What we need to understand is the real grandness of it all. The world recognised our conservation efforts with some medals and awards. Maybe we deserve more such recognitions. What would we be counting, though, awards or our efforts?
Conservation of environment has always played a central role in the way we approach economic development. Perhaps because of this very fact we aren’t today among the major economic players in the world. But that has been our conscious choice. We cannot be without our environment intact. That is why our Constitution has a special place for environment. We have pledged to maintain at least 60 percent of our nation under forest cover. That is why we have some of the most vibrant national parks that are linked each to other with network of corridors.
And that has done us good. When the world beyond has only to regret mindless extraction of forests and natural resources, ours have been a unique story. We realised early on our priorities and we never budged. This day in the 21 Century too there are world leaders and nations that need some basic conservation lessons. There were naysayers when we began; there are cynics still. But the point is one of making our own home safe.
Bhutan for Life is a funding initiative that is aimed at providing a sustained flow of finance to maintain the country’s protected areas and biological corridors for ever.
Prime Minister said that the Green Climate Fund has committed USD 26.5 million to the project. It will require a lot of investment. The real idea is that Bhutan is responsible and that every Bhutanese is up and ready to support the initiative.
Small as we are, we have shown the way. We have friends and countries that believe in this our idea. We worked for Bhutan for Life. The idea has now matured. Now it is upon us to take a step further. We celebrate this idea. Also, at the same time, we are stirred with deep sense of responsibility.
Show the world we must even if we can’t lead. Our voices will one day find ears that will listen. We already have good many friends. The earth cannot live long without forests and they key plays that make them their home.
That’s the lesson.