September 14, 2009
The Bhutanese government is facing an unexpected threat to its country's natural environment: prayer flags. Each year, Bhutan's citizens cut down thousands of trees to use a poles for Buddhist prayer flags, according to a Reuters report posted on the Buddhist Channel.
This is making for a legal conundrum. Bhutan's famed Gross National Happiness index requires that forest-cover make up at least 60 percent of the Himalayan kingdom's landscape—but Buddhism, a guiding philosophy of the policy, is now contributing to the gradual deforestation of the region.
Fortunately, it seems that a solution is in the works. The government is growing bamboo plants, with the hope that these will make for an acceptable substitute.