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Bhutan is often overlooked by the international community. The small nation lies deep within the Himalayas between China and India, two of the most populatedÂ countries in the world.
But the country of about 750,000 people has set some impressive environmental benchmarks. As weâ€™ve written about in the past, BhutanÂ is not merelyÂ carbon neutral, itâ€™s also a carbon sinkâ€”making it one of the few countries in the world to have negative carbon emissions.
This means the countryâ€™s carbon sinks, such as its forests, absorb more carbon dioxide each year than its sources of pollution, such as factories, emit.
â€œAccording to recent figures, the country emits around 1.5 million tonnes of carbon annually, while its forests absorb over 6 million tonnes,â€Â Proudly Carbon NeutralÂ said.
To boot, Bhutan is aiming forÂ zero net greenhouse gas emissions,Â zero-waste by 2030Â andÂ to growÂ 100 percent organic foodÂ by 2020. The Himalayan nationÂ is currently 72 percent forested and the constitution requires that no less than 60 percent of itÂ remains forested. It has evenÂ banned export logging.
Trees hold special valueÂ in Buddhism, the nationâ€™s dominant religion.Â Last June, a team of 100 volunteersÂ set a world recordÂ for plantingÂ 49,672 trees in just one hour. And earlier this month,Â toÂ celebrate the birth ofÂ the first child of King Khesar and Queen Jetson, all 82,000 households in Bhutan planted a tree, while volunteers planted another 26,000 in variousÂ districts around the country, for a total of 108,000 trees.
Planting trees with thousands of volunteers to celebrate the birth of HRH, our Gyalsey. Well done Tendrel Initiative pic.twitter.com/i0hxFF9EHa
â€” Tshering Tobgay (@tsheringtobgay) March 6, 2016
BhutanÂ alsoÂ refuses to judge its success on Gross Domestic Product, instead using an index that measuresÂ Gross National Happiness.
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