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Showing posts from July, 2017

How long and tall will our trees stand?

Most of our rural villages now have electricity. Chiwogs under Shingkhar Gewog in Zhemgang Dzongkhag finally got theirs on November 11, 2015, coinciding with the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan. 
It was the biggest gift of the century for the farmers in this part of the Kingdom. 
Although power outage is more frequent than wild boar visiting their farmlands, villagers have nothing but gratitude to the government for lighting their homes. But the biggest impact of electrification is on our environment. Pressures on our forest have significantly dropped now that farmers no more need to cut down trees for firewood. And also the need to burn kerosene fuel to light a home is next to nil. I am sure smokes from kerosene is harmful to people’s health.
Thanks to electricity, today not many people use wood-fed mud-stoves. They are now concerned more of how and where they would refill their LPG cylinders. It is a lifesaver, especially in summe…

Fluttering solution to our prayer-flag dilemma

Back in those days when trees were aplenty and permission to cut them down was not required (this was at least so in rural Bhutan), people would normally erect 108 prayer flags in the name of a dead person. Erecting prayer flags is believed to deliver the dead person's soul from the state of Bardo.
And still to this day most people insist on wooden poles. This comes at a time when we face difficulties in conserving our forest and keeping our constitutional promise to the future generation. But again the issue concerning the dead is a sensitive one that requires utmost care. On one hand, we need to respect the sentiments of those bereaved family members and on the other, it is important to protect our forest.
Realizing this, a few years ago, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest (MoAF) encouraged people to use bamboo poles instead as they are stronger and more durable. The same poles, unlike their wooden cousins, can be reused multiple times. This was a perfect substitute and the wh…