After visiting Bhutan I do not remember it as a place, but as a home that hosts honest love to the environment like never seen before. It hosts the philosophies that people can not understand easily, but only observe the effects of when followed in their daily lives. The ideas perpetrated by many are followed in Bhutan. It is the country that represents what life should be like, close to nature and close to communal culture.
However, having one religion, and largely one worldview makes this task easy for Bhutan. If the same country, land, and population had division of cultures in the proportions such as India, the policies that work well may not have even passed the house of parliament. For example, smoking is heavily regulated in Bhutan. The average tax on a pack of cigarettes is about 200%. But there are many who believe ‘rules are made to be broken’, step into the India border, and smuggle a large quantity of cheap cigarettes to the dragon kingdom.
Yet their love for the environment is unprecedented, as the only carbon negative country in the world. The cigarette regulations are only one example of how they their reduce their carbon footprint. They all recognise the planet as their home. In India many compare a school to a place of worship, although it is equally important to equate our planet as our home – my key learning from Bhutan.
That is what pushed me to start my own venture more than ever before. Nonetheless, there was one striking conversation that I had with my guide Ranga.
The very excited man, resembling Samurai jack, also knows much about Bhutanese history and culture. Due to which he was guiding my family and I, around the beautiful dragon kingdom. When we went trekking to Paro Taktsang (the tiger’s nest). As the most popular sight in Bhutan, the monastery represents history nestled in waves of many mountains.
The trek takes approximately 3 hours. More than time, is the effort, and uneven path that leads up to the monastery. When we asked Ranga, why the government doesn’t build a cable car to ease the process of reaching the monastery for many aged ones. And, his response was that people going up there is not important enough. What is more important, is the environment which would be treated unnaturally, by building these cable cars. In the process of which many trees would be cut, something that is unacceptable for the local people. The old ones sincerely interested do make their way to the top.
Ranga’s message was strong enough for me to realise, that every tree is important, even in a world where destruction is so rampant, that we need to save forests and not trees. But the forests are made of multiple trees, and each one of them, acting as lungs do what no piece of technology could do for this planet.