The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan celebrated the birth of the crown prince in a very unique way indeed. The birth of the prince was celebrated by planting over 108,000 saplings across the country. In Buddhism, trees are considered to be the provider of life, and the number 108 is considered a sacred number.
The tree plantation ceremony is a form of prayer for the newborn in Bhutan – the land of happiness, where happiness and well being of citizens and conservation of environment are given prime importance. Celebrations go hand in hand with nature here.
As part of the birth ceremony of the prince, a ‘Happiness Garden’ was also inaugurated in the capital Thimphu, where international travellers would be able to go and plant a sapling.
Sustainability is imbibed in the lifestyle and development model of Bhutan. Its four pillars of development are good governance, sustainable promotion of socio-economic development, preservation of culture and environmental conservation. The nation evaluates prosperity by ‘Gross National Happiness (GNH) index’ that is a measure of the spiritual, physical, cultural, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment. It believes that the well being of the people lies in the well being of the environment, and has committed to conserve its forests and be carbon neutral.Bhutan has made significant progress in several of the erstwhile Millennium Development Goals, providing access to improved drinking water, establishing gender equity, improving education and healthcare as well as enhancing the protection of its natural resources.
The constitution of Bhutan mandates a minimum 60 % of the total land area to be under forest, while the country has actually achieved a higher percentage of land under forest cover. Bhutan is one of the most sustainable countries in the world and is carbon negative, it produces more oxygen than it consumes. While the Himalayan nation generates 2.2 million tonnes of carbon annually, its forests absorb three times this amount thus creating a carbon sink. It ensures that while the economy grows rapidly, the environment does not take a backseat.