Bhutan in Toronto
I just delivered a profusely-illustrated keynote speech called “Bhutan: The Pursuit of Gross National Happiness” at a 300-person conference of the Canadian Organic Growers, Toronto chapter. The reaction was really gratifying. People found the talk both fresh and inspiring – someone, somewhere is doing things right! — and although many in the audience had heard something about this tiny country and its dedication to a better way of doing business and measuring progress, they didn’t know any specifics about it. The organizers were very happy; they said the presentation was a perfect kick-off for their conference.
I’m not a profound authority on Bhutan, but I spent three working weeks there, read a good deal about it, did a lot of interviews, attended a conference on Education for GNH, met several members of the government, and travelled to various parts of the country, so I had some solid first-hand experience to relate. Bhutan is not a paradise, but it’s a unique and delightful place, and it is earnestly striving to find a truly sustainable path for human life on the planet. That means it matters to all of us.
As I told a questioner – there were lots of questions – it was only the second time I’ve ever landed somewhere and felt a deep resonance between the values of the community and my own deepest values. The first occasion was when I arrived in Nova Scotia in 1967, and I’ve lived in Nova Scotia more or less continuously ever since.
Public speaking is part of the way I earn my living, and I’m always on the alert for opportunities. I’ve given this presentation twice now, and I’d love to do it again. If you’re organizing a gathering and you think this might work as a keynote, let’s talk.