That morning I woke up early to take a walk before work in Punakha (Bhutan). I noticed some youngsters in school uniforms walking toward town. A bit surprised I asked them why they were going to school hours before classes start. They explained that schools have a daily rotating system of students who come in early to clean and disinfect the school building, classrooms, yard, etc.
Children are taught about cleanliness as part of health, protection of the environment, and how the country’s future prosperity depends on these aspects. Bhutan, a small Himalayan Kingdom, considers its land to be sacred and that all living things should be respected. It’s part of the constitution.
The attention to the environment is not limited to a provision in the constitution, however. Bhutan is the first carbon-negative in the world and is on its way to reaching zero net greenhouse gas emissions and producing zero waste. The Bhutanese King’s Day is celebrated annually with an environmental theme. All people and institutions are asked to clean up their surroundings every second day of the month.
Educating youth on climate change has turned everyone into conservationists. Every day is Earth Day in Bhutan. Now Curaçao.