You’ve heard of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index, yes? The country measures happiness among its people the way we measure economic output. One of the pillars of Bhutan’s GNH is conservation. Its constitution declares that the country must preserve 60 percent of its land under forest cover at all times. It protects more of its land than any other country in Asia.

As a result, the country is richly carpeted in robust, healthy, thriving forests, crisscrossed with rivers and streams. One-fifth of the world’s population gets its drinking water from the watersheds in Bhutan. The entire country is carbon negative—the only such nation in the world, according the WWF.

Bhutan takes conservation very, very seriously.

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This is embodied in Sonam Phuntsho. He is a forest caretaker who has planted more than 100,000 trees over the past 50 years. Or roughly five trees per day. He does it because he loves trees. He does it because he hopes kids will take notice and inspired to do the same. He does it to combat, in his own way, climate change. He does it because when he is in the forest and the trees, he is at peace.

Matthew Firpo’s film “Kingdom” is a beautiful look at Sonam Phuntsho’s work and how Bhutan protects its environment.


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