Climate change remains one of the biggest threats to humanity and will no doubt change the direction of our economies, cultures, and collective futures. It can be hard, however, to determine the ways in which we can combat such changes given breadth and scale of the changes underway.
Thinley Namgyel serves as the Chief Environment Officer for the government of Bhutan and works on the front lines of our changing landscape. Even though I've known Thinley for more than twenty years - I learned a great deal from our conversation:
- Water conservation and water flows are one of the largest challenges to Bhutan's future,
- Bilateral government funding remain crucial to supporting low-income countries and their work on behalf of the environment,
- Least Developed Countries (LDC) are their own organizing entity and are helping inform some of the most dramatic environmental challenges around the world.
We also talked about the intersection of life and climate change - and what we can do to support the wider ecosystem. Here we talked about Thinley's Grandmother's garden, the growing Mountain Biking scene and reclaiming of ancient trails, and the long-view it takes to make progress. Whether you're focused on climate change directly - or another social challenge - Thinley's humble look at social innovation and its importance to our future is a powerful story we can all learn from.
If you're looking to get oriented, here's where Bhutan's located.
Find out more about Bhutan's National Environment Commission here.
Learn more about the Paris Climate Agreement here.
Get up to speed on Bhutan's Mountain Biking scene here.
If you were like me...and wanted to get a sense of what Thinley's Grandmother's chilies might have looked like - here's a peak.
Thinley Namgyel is Chief Environment Officer, Climate Change Division of Bhutan’s National Environment Commission and oversees the coordination of climate change policies and programs in Bhutan. He initiated the preparation of Bhutan’s NAPA and coordinated the implementation of priority NAPA projects. He also led the preparation of the Bhutan’s Second National Communication to the UNFCCC and the National Strategy and Action Plan for Low Carbon Development and is currently overseeing the development of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions and Low Emission Development Strategies in Bhutan.
He chairs the Technical Advisory Panel to the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation and is a member of the Executive Committee of Tarayana Foundation, both based in Bhutan. He has been a member of the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG) of the UNFCCC since 2011.
He has a M.Sc. in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the University of Maryland, and a B.Sc. in Natural Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin.
As a keen photographer and naturalist, he co-authored “A Photo Guide to the Flowers of Bhutan” published by WWF in 2009.