So our economy is small, but here is where it gets interesting. Education is completely free. All citizens are guaranteed free school education, and those that work hard are given free college education.Healthcare is also completely free. Medical consultation, medical treatment, medicines: they are all provided by the state. We manage this because we use our limited resources very carefully, and because we stay faithful to the core mission of GNH, which is development with values. Our economy is small, and we must strengthen it. Economic growth is important, but that economic growth must not come from undermining our unique culture or our pristine environment.
So as I was saying, 72 percent of our country is under forest cover, and all that forest is pristine. That’s why we are one of the few remaining global biodiversity hotspots in the world, and that’s why we are a carbon neutral country. In a world that is threatened with climate change, we are a carbon neutral country.
Turns out, it’s a big deal. Of the 200-odd countries in the world today, it looks like we are the only onethat’s carbon neutral. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. Bhutan is not carbon neutral. Bhutan is carbon negative. Our entire country generates 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide, but our forests, they sequester more than three times that amount, so we are a net carbon sink for more than four million tons of carbon dioxide each year.