Anne Parker is passionate about serving life and renewing our connection to and deep reverence for the Earth in her teaching and life work. She is a Professor of Environmental Studies, a full-time Naropa University faculty member who has taught in both the BA in Environmental Studies and MA in Environmental Leadership since 1996.
March 6th, 2018 | 26 mins 58 secs
bhutan, environmental caretakers, gross national happiness, himalayas
When people hear the words "gross national happiness," they tend to envision a sort of idealization of what's really going on in Bhutan, the country that originated the concept. I watch our students while we're in Bhutan sometimes idealize things, and then hit a sort of crash as they see the reality, and then come out with a really deep sense of excitement and amazement about what's actually happening. We'd like to take that idealization off its pedestal altogether.
A bit of context for our listeners, first: Bhutan is a small country–about the size of Switzerland–that climbs from about 600 feet in elevation to 23 thousand feet in elevation, and quite quickly. It’s a very steep sort of place, mashed between India and China. It’s a little country trying to do this very large, very brave experiment. The fourth king of Bhutan, when he was pretty young, came up with the gross national happiness term, pretty spontaneously. As a reporter was bugging him about the poverty of his country, here is what I believe was his exact quote: "We don't believe in gross national product. Gross national happiness is more important."