Thursday February 21, 2019
Home Lead Story Environmental...

Environmentalist Evaluate The Mistakes That Bhutan is Making

Mountain Echoes literary festival is an initiative of the India-Bhutan foundation and Siyahi, a Jaipur based literary consultancy agency.

0
//
Rivers flowing in Bhutan. Image source Wikimedia commons

Conservation of the environment is one of the four pillars of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness philosophy but “the greatest mistake” the Himalayan nation can make is “to live in isolation”, Daniel C. Taylor, who has been engaged in social change and environmental conservation for over four decades, said here on Saturday.

Taylor was speaking on “Environmental Justice: Questions For The Future” on the closing day of the Mountain Echoes literary festival. Using a powerpoint presentation, the well-regarded environmentalist behind the creation of two massive national parks around Mount Everest, one in China and the other in Nepal, explored the various stumbling blocks in the path of conservation.

Bhutan has mandated environmental preservation in its Constitution and preserves 60 per cent of its land under forest cover. But it is sandwiched between India and China, arguably among the most polluting countries in the world.

Responding to a question on similar lines, Taylor contended that Bhutan should not live in isolation.

He said that pollution and degradation of environment is not limited to one country or one region alone. “It is an ecosystem,” he said, elaborating at length how pollution arising from China or India could have impacts on Bhutan.

On its part, Bhutan is a carbon-negative country and home to the highest percentage — more than 51 per cent — of protected land in Asia.

 

bhutan
The challenge for Bhutan is to work with both India and China. Pixabay

 

“The greatest mistake that Bhutan can make is to remain isolated. The challenge for Bhutan is to work with both India and China. At the same time, it also needs to work with the world.

“Bhutan has to take an active role in teaching the world about environmental justice because you have done tremendous work in conserving the natural habitats in your country,” said the 71-year-old.

Taylor said that India and China “are themselves countries in disruption” and thus there was a great deal that the landlocked nation can impart to its neighbours.

Directly referring to China, he said that he worked there for several years and saw the wide-ranging impacts of its policies on the environment.

He pointed out that being so close to the China and India, Bhutan would see implications of pollution arising from its neighbours despite its enormous forest cover.

“We are all riding one giant ball called Earth, which is headed into a future — a future which may be frightening. What each of us can do is teach each other,” Taylor said.

Bhutan
Being so close to the China and India, Bhutan would see implications of pollution arising from its neighbours despite its enormous forest cover.

In his 45-minute session, Taylor also presented some rare photographs, audio and visual clippings of his journeys through the Himalayas.

Comparing two photographs — one taken during his first visit to the Paro valley some 60 years ago and the other taken just four days ago — he showed that the forest cover increased in the Paro Valley, despite the construction of the Paro International Airport.

Also Read: Asian Farms Tackle Drug Resistance with Apps and Dictionary

“No country is developed or underdeveloped. All countries are developing. Aeroplanes, better homes along with more trees should be the future,” he contended.

Mountain Echoes literary festival is an initiative of the India-Bhutan foundation and Siyahi, a Jaipur based literary consultancy agency.

The ninth edition of the festival will reach its culmination on Saturday evening. (IANS)

Next Story

Researchers Develop Wearable Device to Measure Wearer’s Physiological Response to Environment

The team says the aim of Project Coolbit is to create a personalised comfort model for each wearer, as well as crowdsourcing environmental data in the city in real-time.

0
Fitbit watches, Sensors, Environment
Fitbit watches have sensors that get information from air temperature and humidity, but also from the physiological response of the individual in that environment. Pixabay

Researchers are developing a wearable device that aims to provide individualised information while gathering environmental data.

According to researchers, the device can measure the wearer’s physiological response to their immediate environment.

“We have added some sensors to the Fitbit watches that get information from air temperature and humidity, but also from the physiological response of the individual in that environment, such as your heart rate, your skin temperature, and your skin humidity,” said Negin Nazarian from UNSW.

“We have also developed some apps where you can interact with and tell us how you feel about the environment, so that way we can develop a methodology and a solution that is personalised and not one-size-fits-all,” Nazarian added.

Fitbit watches, Environment
There are some apps where you can interact with and tell us how you feel about the environment. Pixabay

The team says the aim of Project Coolbit is to create a personalised comfort model for each wearer, as well as crowdsourcing environmental data in the city in real-time.

“So your wearable already knows your personal comfort model, it knows your preference of the environment, the type of activities you like and some information about your physiological response,” the team said.

ALSO READ: Scientists Find Solution to Reduce Air Pollution, Develop Smart Windows

A Coolbit user could create a personalised heat safe route for a run, based on the previous information received by the wearable, according to the researcher.

“It also knows, based on the environmental information that other parties may give about the cities, the climate of the city,” the researchers said. (IANS)