|The citizens of small Kingdom of Bhutan came together and planted 108,000 trees in honor of the birth of newborn prince who is the heir of Bhutan throne. After the announcement on February 5 of crown prince's birth, a tree planting campaign all over the country which will last for 1 month started. Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Ministers, Leader of the Opposition, King Khesar and Queen Jetsun were among the 100,000 volunteers who planted the trees.|
|In Buddhism, a tree is the provider of all life forms. 108 is a holy number in Buddhism, which represents enlightenment and purity. The number of planted trees is exactly 108,000.|
|Bhutan, a democratic monarchy, has a unique policy of “Gross National Happiness,” which balances economic growth with environmental conservation and the wellbeing of its people. Its constitution states that the country shall always keep 60 percent of its total area under forest cover.|
The term "Gross National Happiness" was coined by the fourth King Singye, the incumbent king’s father, in 1972, when he was just 16. Bhutan became a democracy in 2008, two years after King Singye abdicated in favor of Khesar, who introduced democracy against the wishes of the people.
While people still look up to the king for the nation’s stability and progress, the two elected governments have introduced reforms. Some issues related to civil and political rights remain and the country is yet to address alleged past human rights violations, but a slow and steady change appears to be taking Bhutan closer to being a true democracy. The king is seen as welcoming these changes.
As the people planted trees on March 6 in celebration, the Ministry of Tourism used the occasion to inaugurate a "Happiness Garden" in the national capital of Thimphu. The 48,400-square-yard garden invites foreign tourists to plant "happiness trees," with the aim of having trees representing every country in the world. “Bhutan is known as a country of happiness.
Last June, a team of 100 volunteers in Bhutan set a new Guinness record by planting 49,672 trees in just one hour in mountainous terrain.