Be the change you want to see in the world

It’s easy to blame others. It’s human nature to point the finger and build walls as a defence. You can spend your entire life blaming the world for your mistakes, your lack of foresight or your lack of commitment. But your successes and failures are entirely your own responsibility on an individual level and on a national level. I can’t speak for you but I look at national heads of state and sometimes think its high school all over again! You say global warming or climate change and you see America point its finger at Russia, Russia points to Germany, Germany points at the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom has India in a head lock while pointing at Australia. It’s a vicious circle that goes on and on.

What happened to the lessons our mothers and fathers taught us about humility, accountability and the clean understanding of what is right and what is wrong? Climate change has surpassed the point-the-finger stage and now needs to be taken seriously by EVERY single world leading country.

Let me set the ground work for you, Bhutan is a small country situated between China and India, with a population of 700,000 people. This small underdeveloped country is not what it seems because it harnesses strength and determination for change, something that is lacking in countries such as America, United Kingdom and even Australia. The GDP is a mere two billion dollars which forces the country to watch every penny whereas large countries that have larger than life GDP’s such as America seem unsure of what to do with endless wealth. In the 1970s Bhutan's King proclaimed that Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product, and here is the real kicker; education is free for citizens from primary to high school and for those who work hard University is paid for via scholarship. Furthermore, health care is free including consultations, medical treatments and all medicines are provided by the state.

In 2009 Bhutan attended the Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen and announced that their country would remain carbon neutral indefinitely. No one listened, as other countries were to busy blaming each both for climate change. Last December in Paris, COP 21 was held and again the country restated its promise to remain carbon neutral for all time. Here is the plot twist, governments listened and people cared. The UN Framework convention on climate change states that if intended commitments are kept by both small and large countries we would be closer to containing the growth of global warming. Yes, you read that right, if each and every country pulled together and truly committed to climate change we would be closer to containing global warming by two degrees Celsius each year!

Let’s look at climate change like it’s a high interest debt (oh, that got your attention). A country doesn’t accrue a large amount of debt and then say “oh well that’s the banks problem now” and walk away wiping their hands of it (sorry guys, it doesn’t work that way). It’s the same with global warming, every country plays its part in causing the issue but in turn each country should make changes in order to rectify the issue.

Bhutan is one of a small minority of countries - one of two hundred to be precise - that have stood up and made a motion to repay their CO2 emissions. Not only is Bhutan CO2 neutral but also CO2 negative, that’s right NEGATIVE! Bhutan creates 2.2 million TONS of carbon dioxide, but their self planted forests that covers seventy percent of the country sequester more than three times that amount so essentially Bhutan is a carbon sink for more than four million tons of carbon a year, but it doesn’t stop there. Exporting renewable energy from fast flowing rivers allows clean energy to offset 17 million tons of carbon dioxide, and by continuing to harness green energy and hydropower potential Bhutan could be exporting 50 million tons of carbon dioxide a year. That’s enough carbon dioxide to negate New Yorks Green House gas emissions for a whole year with extras added in for emergencies throughout the year.

So, if a small country such as Bhutan can offset their CO2 emissions and become carbon neutral on a GDP of two billion dollars but still offer medical assistance, medicine and free education with scholarships to University all for free to its citizens, what the hell is the rest of the world doing? If a country such as this can survive, no wait thrive, by putting funds into Green infrastructure, renewable energy and strict community involvement to become carbon neutral then why aren’t the rest of us doing it? Yes, I’m looking at you America, Australia and Europe!

We shouldn’t be placing all the blame on the government officials that make the decisions, handle the money and control legislation. It starts with the individual, the small communities and the territories to push each other to better their green practices, that make being green, emission aware and change a high priority.

No excuses anymore. Enough is clearly enough, it’s not funny anymore. There is no reason to continue pointing fingers and blocking our ears. Just like Bhutan, countries need to invest in infrastructure, create policies, laws and enforce change to better the earth, its environment and all its living, breathing organisms.

Do your part today and install a sustainable energy solution in your home!

Mellino, C. (2015). This Country is Already Carbon Neutral and Now Plans to go 100% Organic and Zero-Waste. Retrieved from; http://ecowatch.com/2015/09/28/bhutan-organic-zero-waste/

Tobgay, T. (2016). This Country isn’t just Carbon Neutral-It’s carbon Negative. Retrieved from; https://www.ted.com

Graham, K. (2016). Bhutan is not just carbon neutral, it’s carbon negative. Retrieved from; http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/environment/bhutan-is-not-just-carbon-neutral-it-s-carbon-negative/article/460581

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