Before 1960, the Himalayan mountain Kingdom of Bhutan had no contact with the world. Isolationism was a policy of choice. However, squeezed between two regional superpowers, China and India, it was vulnerable to a takeover; so in 1971 the kingdom joined the UN. That didn’t mean that Bhutan's enlightened Eton-educated king was about to see his country embrace the 20th-century pattern of development that puts material wealth before all. In the succeeding decades, Bhutan has certainly opened up. But in this edition of Earth Report, we find that it has done so largely on its own terms.