This Country’s Mission is to Put Happiness Before Economic Growth

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Nested deep in the Himalayas, on the border between world’s two most populous countries China and India, Bhutan isn’t just carbon neutral — it’s carbon negative. The Kingdom has pledged to remain carbon neutral for all time. In this illuminating talk, its Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay (an environmentalist) shares his country’s mission to put happiness before economic growth and set a world standard. The tool being used top to bottom: environmental preservation as key attribute in all decision-making processes –sense and sensibility, NOT dollars & cents.

“Our enlightened monarchs have worked tirelessly to develop our country, balancing economic growth carefully with social development, environmental sustainability, and cultural preservation, all within the framework of good governance”

Its capital Thimphu is the only capital in Asia that has no traffic lights.

The nation is arguably the world’s happiest ones. The country is also one of the greenest. That’s no coincidence. In fact, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck developed his signature Gross National Happiness index based on four pillars: sustainable development, environmental protection, cultural preservation, and good governance. Other countries have taken note, since the Himalayan kingdom is not only carbon neutral, but carbon negative.

Bhutan has built sustainability into its national identity –the constitution mandates that 60 percent of its landmass be maintained and protected as forest.

Population densities and pollution rankings of countries in the region

Bhutan: 20 per km2
Iran: 52 per km2 (Twenty-third as world’s most polluted countries in the world 2020 ranking)
Afghanistan: 60 per km2 (Fifth as world’s most polluted countries in the world 2020 ranking)
China: 148 per km2
(Fourteenth as world’s most polluted countries in the world 2020 ranking)
Nepal: 196 per km2
(Twelfth as world’s most polluted countries in the world 2020 ranking)
Pakistan: 256 per km2
(Second as world’s most polluted countries in the world 2020 ranking)
Sri Lanka: 341 per km2
(Thirtieth as world’s most polluted countries in the world 2020 ranking)
India: 464 per Km2
(Third as world’s most polluted countries in the world 2020 ranking)
Bangladesh: 1126 per km2
(Tops as world’s most polluted countries in the world 2020 ranking)

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