“The earth is supposed to grow warmer because of global warming,” so remarks a teenager to his father, who is seated with the rest of the family close to a kerosene heater, “and yet it feels a lot colder outside.”
The mother muscles in and says this winter has been comparatively colder than the last.
The father quips at his wife that this winter is always colder than the last, because people forget what last winter felt like, and probably will say the same the next winter.
Perhaps, or maybe the temperatures are indeed dropping, going by records maintained by the metereology division officials, and what they claim was triggered by the cold wave whooshing in from Northern India.
Although it has yet to be proven scientifically, residents in Phuentsholing have felt this queer change in weather, where they have had to slip on their heavy jumpers, jackets and boots.
Temperatures in Bumthang struggle to rise from negative five degrees.
Outside the country, drops in temperature have been reported in the UK, the US, India and other parts of the world in recent times.
What does all this go to show?
While we might argue that the country’s rich forest cover and other natural environment have the ability to and actually do absorb from the atmosphere carbon dioxide that developed and industrialised nations emit, we are just as vulnerable, if not more, to its impacts as any nations that are to blame.
Bhutan is just a patch between two roaring economies that show no signs of slowing down in their stride towards economic development.
Going beyond the two neighbouring nations into the region, and what we like to visualise as a green patch turns into a dot that would vanish if it were a wee bit smaller.
Economists in the past have argued that greenhouse emissions can be curbed without having to flatten the world economy, but that model has not taken any tangible shape.
In fact, climate change continues to be one of the most difficult political problems the world continues to deal with, and that is evident from the disagreement among nations, caught on either side of two critical dimensions – emission levels or economic prosperity.
While the world remains undecided, and caught up at that, and others continue to claim their moral right, as Lyonchhoen put it, to demand their own share of emission towards economic growth, we should hold firm to our policies.
The country’s laws and policies that put a premium on environmental preservation draws it wisdom from lessons of other countries, helps craft measures, guides our lifestyles today and promises a better future to hand down to our children.