Bhutan is one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world. On February 5, 2016, King Khesar and Queen Pema announced the birth of their first child and that triggered the initiative of planting trees. The people of Bhutan have planted 108,000 saplings each sealed with prayer for their newborn prince.
Tenzin Lekphell, who coordinated the initiative, said, “In Buddhism, a tree is the provider and nourisher of all life forms, symbolizing longevity, health, beauty and even compassion.” Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, three of his ministers, and the leader of Opposition were among the 100,00 volunteers who planted the trees across the country.
The number of trees wasn’t a coincidence and it was exactly 108,000 as it is a sacred number in Buddhism. All 82,000 households in the country planted a tree and the remaining 26,000 trees were planted by volunteers. Lekphell said, “Each sapling encapsulates a prayer and a wish from the person who planted it to His Royal Highness the Prince so that just like the bountiful tree, the Prince also grows up healthy, strong, wise and compassionate.”
Bhutan has a unique policy of ‘Gross National Happiness’, which balances economic growth with environmental conservation, and the wellbeing of the people. Its constitution states that the country shall always keep 60 percent of its total area under forest cover. Last June, 100 volunteers in Bhutan sat a new Guinness record by planting approximately 50,000 trees in just an hour in mountainous terrain.
Well, it is unlikely to find another monarchy where people love and respect the royal couple as the people of Bhutan do.