The mountain kingdom of Bhutan may not seem an obvious place to look for lessons on addressing climate change. But on a recent visit I was impressed with how much this small country has achieved and also with its ambition. Bhutan has much to teach South Asia and the wider world. These lessons are especially relevant as the world negotiates in Paris a new pact on climate change at the International Climate Change Summit, known as COP21, which we all hope will eventually move the global economy to a low carbon and more resilient path. Continue reading Big lessons on climate change from a small country
US City takes cue from Bhutan
Seattle trying to achieve ‘Gross National Happiness’
by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News
Courtesy: King 5 News, Seattle, WA
It’s one of the most isolated nations in the world, nearly a quarter of the population lives in poverty and they’ve only had television for twelve years. So why are the people of Bhutan so happy, and why does the City of Seattle want us to be more like them? Continue reading US City takes cue from Bhutan
Quake damage toll rises in Bhutan
The earthquake damage toll in the country, especially in the eastern dzongkhags, has risen. The death toll in Mongar, Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Lhuentse and Samdrup Jongkhar has increased to 13.
Reports from the east say many people are moving to safer places out in the open. The details of damages are sketchy owing to large affected areas and difficult terrain. Assessment is underway, according to the field personnel deployed to assess the extent of damage and support the people affected by the earthquake need.
“Dzongkhag administration officials are out in the villages assessing the magnitude of the damages. It could take a day or two to compile a comprehensive report,” said the Trashiyangtse Dzongda.
The latest damage figures stand at 1,805 houses, 116 lhakhangs, 165 chortens, 39 schools and 47 government offices. Figures are expected to increase as assessment teams reach the far-flung villages. Continue reading Quake damage toll rises in Bhutan
Semsos and relief works for the victims
In Trashigang Dzongkhag, as commanded by His Majesty the King, the Royal Bhutan Army and the Office of Gyalpoi Zimpoen, in collaboration with Dzongkhag Administrations, are carrying out relief works and delivering essential commodities to people affected by the recent earthquake.
Soldiers from the Royal Bhutan Army continue to build temporary shelters, take foods and medicines and assist families in carrying out funerals rites of those killed by the earthquake.
According to Zimpon Wogma Karma Thinley, an additional reinforcement of some 45 soldiers had to be sent to Narang and Thangrong – the two Geogs where damages have been maximum.
Today, one of the team visited Durung village under Yangyer Geog in Tashigang Dzongkhag. There the arm force personnel are helping to set up temporary shelters.
On behalf of His Majesty the King the officials from the office of the Gyalpoi Zimpo delivered Semso to the families of the victims and those injured. Continue reading Semsos and relief works for the victims
The prayer flag and the forest
When sentiment clashes with common sense, something’s got to give
Environment : Part III
September, 2009 – Bhutan’s verdant forests, whose coverage the Constitution mandates should not be less than 60 percent for all time to come, is under tremendous pressure from the soaring demand for prayer flags that dot the country’s hills and valleys.
Although no studies have been carried out on the impact on the forest by felling trees for flag posts, statistics with the department of forest show that thousands of trees are felled every year to meet this demand.Between June 2007 to 2008, Bhutan felled 60,178 trees, or about 165 trees every day, to meet the demand for poles, of which demand for flag posts is the highest. This excludes the 550 trees felled daily for other uses. Continue reading The prayer flag and the forest
Mapping the small mammals
A five-day training course for field forestry officials in Lobesa to address lack of data
Although Bhutan has nearly 200 species of mammals, there is no ecological information on their status – population, distribution and threats, especially for small mammals. Small mammals consist of bats and rodents, which form the most diverse order of mammals.
To address the absence of data, the forestry department, together with various international environment conservation agencies, is conducting a five-day training course for field forestry officials in Lobesa.“Small mammals are very important, because they form the basis of the food chain,” said chief forestry officer (CFO), Dr Sonam Wangyel Wang. “They are also more responsive to environmental changes,” added the CFO, “which made them especially vulnerable to extinction.” Continue reading Mapping the small mammals
Bhutan’s rich biodiversity just got richer
Adding to an already rich biodiversity are 21 new species of amphibian, insects and an equal mixture of both flowering and non-flowering plants discovered in Bhutan.
These have been clubbed in a book, “The Eastern Himalayas: where the world collides,” launched by WWF on August 10. Also included in the discovery list are 7 species of grass root parasite, commonly called lousewort, and a unique frog species, Scutiger bhutanensis.
A total of 353 new species have been discovered in the eastern Himalayas – the whole of Bhutan, parts of India and Nepal – from 1998 to 2008, that amounts to an average of 35 new species every year. The list includes 244 plants, 16 amphibians, 16 reptiles, 14 fish, 2 birds, 2 mammals and about 60 new invertebrates.
Although the book boasts of the new discovery as a result of the richness of bio-diversity in the eastern Himalayas, it pointed out that these species were threatened by forest destruction, shifting cultivation, illegal poaching, pollution and poorly planned infrastructure. Continue reading Bhutan’s rich biodiversity just got richer
Total Solar Eclipse in Bhutan
Videos and Images of Total Solar Eclipse in Bhutan 2009
Early morning on July 22nd, 2009, with a small group of guests, we went to Sangaygang, a hill overlooking Thimphu valley, and witnessed what was truly a “once-in-a-lifetime” event. The morning clouds, which ridiculously hung over the valley, gave way just in time to a spectacular display of the longest total solar eclipse of our time.
Guess who invented the recycling symbol?
Chasing arrows recycling symbol
– By Tobin Hack- (www.plentymag.com)
Q. I’ve raised my daughter to look carefully at recycling symbols and sort trash accordingly, but the other day she looked a little bit closer than I had expected and asked me who invented the three-arrow recycling symbol. I couldn’t answer her! Do you know? – Tim, AZ
A. Trivia! As reliable an information source as Wikipedia is, we went to the American Forest and Paper Association to answer your question. Turns out, the person you’re looking for is a guy named Gary Anderson. Here’s how it all went down: In 1970, the Container Corporation of America (CCA), the largest paper recycler at the time, was using recycled content to make its paperboard, and really wanted to brag about it… I mean, let consumers know. Continue reading Guess who invented the recycling symbol?
Message from Bridge To Bhutan – Vote Earth!
Vote Earth! Switch Off Your Lights For Earth Hour
Dear Friends of Bridge To Bhutan:
Here in Bhutan, we are exactly one hour away from observing the Earth Hour 2009.
From melting glaciers to increasingly intense weather patterns, we know that climate change is already impacting life on our planet.
On Saturday, March 28, 2009, at 8:30 pm, Bridge To Bhutan will take part in Earth Hour – the world’s largest global climate change event. By simply turning out all non-essential lighting for one hour at our company buildings and in our own homes, we will join tens of millions of concerned citizens throughout the world in calling for action to save our planet for future generations.
We’d like to encourage you, one of our valued visitors, to join us in this important and inspiring effort.
Led by the World Wildlife Fund, more than 50 million people in 370 cities around the world took part in Earth Hour last year. The lights went out at Sydney’s Opera House, Rome’s Coliseum, the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge. Even the Google homepage went dark for the day.
This year, Earth Hour will be even bigger. It’s true that the effort may not seem significant in the developing countries, including Bhutan, where the luxury of having lights is a rarity; people can still make a difference.
It’s the gesture that matters! Let’s do what we can in support of this timely effort. Spread the awareness!
Around the world, cities large and small have said they’ll participate with more signing up daily. They will join international cities such as Beijing, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London, Manila, Mexico City, Moscow, New York, Paris, Rome, and Toronto. So far 2,140 cities, towns and municipalities in 82 countries have already committed to VOTE EARTH as part of the world’s first global election between Earth and global warming. So if you’re traveling or flying and all of sudden, all the lights go out for an hour (the Eiffel Tower, Golden Gate Bridge and Sydney’s Opera House are a few of the participating landmarks around the world) – don’t be alarmed. It’s just Earth Hour.
To get a better sense of the magnitude and inspiring nature of the event, take a moment to watch WWF’s video about Earth Hour 2009:
Participating in Earth Hour is easy, fun and absolutely free. To get more information and to sign up to for Earth Hour 2009, just visit www.earthhour.org (choose your country) and agree to turn out your lights from 8:30-9:30 pm on March 28, 2009. If you are in Bhutan or any other developing countries not listed on the site, you can still make a difference by turning off your lights for an hour at the same time.
Energy efficiency isn’t just good for the bottom line. As citizens of the world, we all have a stake in the future of our planet and must seek to operate in ways that don’t deplete our world’s limited natural resources.
In the weeks and months following the Earth Hour, we will continue to look at ways we can operate more efficiently, waste less and reduce our environmental footprint – not only in our own operations, but throughout our supply chain (partners and visitors). That’s because all of us here at Bridge To Bhutan care about the future of our world and want to do what we can to make a positive difference.
We want the world to do more than just turn out lights during this historic event; we hope you’ll join us, and encourage people you know in the community to also take part and learn about global warming. Don’t forget – tonight at 8:30 pm, switch off.
Let’s not stop here; we can do more. Let’s be conscious!
Team Bridge To Bhutan