Bhutan’s first ever Guinness World Record ‘Most Trees Planted in an Hour’ made a statement of our relation with trees. Perhaps it must be one of the most meaningful records ever set, and coming from a small nation like ours is a matter of huge pride. To make it the most memorable event ever it was dedicated to the celebration of the 60th birth Anniversary of our beloved Fourth King, who has placed environment at the heart of our Constitution and all of our national development plans. “Coinciding with Social Forestry Day on June 2, a team of 100 volunteers got their hands deep in the ground to plant a total of 49,672 trees in just 60 minutes, smashing the previous record by nearly 10,000.”-Guinness World Record
The record required each man to plant over 8 trees per minute, god knows how they did that. I would like to congratulate the 100 super humans, the organiser Karma Tshering and everybody in the team for the making us so proud.
Our Guinness World Record inspired a green idea. If an ordinary Bhutanese has the potential of planting 500 trees in an hour, can every Bhutanese citizen plant at least 108 trees in a life time? Easily. Therefore, I think planning. Planned towns are better run.
Our experiences in the past have us believe it must be made a citizenship requirement to plant 108 trees to rightfully call yourself Bhutanese.
I heard in some countries you have to serve in the military for at least a year to fulfill your requirement as citizen, and in some countries you have to have voted in an election to have access to public services. Likewise I thought we Bhutanese could do more than just being born here.
I chose the auspicious number 108 because that›s the exact numbers of young trees we cut down to offer prayer flags when someone dies. So 108 trees will be felled for each one of us regardless of our environmental morals. However, in case of Non-Buddhists the number could be viewed differently or changed to another significant number, because after all it›s the tree we are placing at the centre.
If this is taken seriously our 70% forest cover can be maintained for ages without affecting the developmental activities because we have the potential of planting 75,600,000 tress with our current population alone and it›s only going to grow. This is well beyond any record on the planet and Bhutan›s greatest gift to the world.
Opinion by Passang Tshering
The writer is a teacher at the Royal Academy in Paro