Trees are often planted to give back to the planet and the people who live on it. In Bhutan, local residents planted not one but 108,000 trees to celebrate the arrival of their new crown prince. King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema announced the birth of their first child, a son, in early February and one month later volunteers planted the incredible amount of trees.
The act is another step on Bhutan’s journey to move past human rights issues and build an environmentally-friendly, happy nation. Last summer Bhutan earned their first Guinness World Record for the most trees planted in one hour: 49,672. They have set aside one quarter of land for protected national parks, and their goal is to be the first completely organic country.
In addition, they adhere to a Gross National Happiness policy, first introduced in the 1970’s, which displaces GDP as a measure of how the country’s citizens live. The policy centers on spiritual and emotional well-being over money. The trees for the crown prince are part of this emphasis on spiritual well-being. 108 is a sacred number in the official religion of Bhutan, Buddhism, and trees are a symbol of life.
The CEO who arranged the tree planting ceremony, Tenzin Lekphell, said, “In Buddhism, a tree is the provider and nourisher of all life forms, symbolizing longevity, health, beauty, and even compassion. 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.”
King Jigme has been described as “hugely popular,” and his marriage to Queen Jetsun in 2011 was the “biggest media event” in the history of the country. They will announce their baby’s official name in mid-April; for now he is called The Gyalsey.
Via My Modern Met
Images via Jetsun Pema’s Facebook