A moonlit night on a riverbank, water shimmering, wool wrapped head to toe, holding a nice goblet of wine and few charming women around the bonfire is the best setting to brag about nature conservation and global warming and what not to notch up own’s own image to portray self a seasoned wise man and a man who is concerned and caring. All that knowledge is poring and spurting over the wine and women, is all borrowed and fake, that’s what I have experienced in over three decades by now. I have attended many such parties and pains me when I hear hollow statements and shallow bragging, especially when it comes to doing something on ground, they defy their own views, claims and statements.
Most of these people when they go on holidays to national parks, stay in resorts and camps in MP, Rajasthan and Ladakh, the first thing they want in the evening is BONFIRE at any cost. They console their soul by saying – I am doing it for my family and that too only once a year, so it won’t ruin any portion of the forest. I have seen so many brochures of resorts and camps who splash on the cover WE CARE FOR NATURE, almost all, but inside the brochure they boast of providing bonfire in the evening. And sadly, it’s the selling point too. In 2015, I had a group of 10 Indian senior IT engineers from Dubai who came to spend a holiday onboard Taurus in Ladakh, and we had mentioned in their itinerary that there won’t be any bonfire. But on arrival, they felt as if they were starved of basics and deprived of their legitimate pleasure of holidays onboard Taurus – Indian’s best Overland Truck. One night was supposed to be in Nubra Valley in third party’s hired camp, the moment they reached the camp they demanded bonfire and drank to glory and danced around bonfire as if they had not eaten food for a week. If the educated behave like this and want their fun at any cost by burning wood then why poor should not burn wood for survival. It’s a shame on the educated travellers who demand bonfire as one of the main prerequisites for their bookings.
In my views, bonfire on holidays is for pleasure only and not for as a necessity, therefore it can be avoided easily. Yes, if we still want some pleasure of fire in cold weather then let’s consider some other alternatives and substitutes for bonfire i.e. cow-dung cakes, charcoal briquettes made of coconut shells, commercially grown wood, etc.
In our camps we don’t burn charcoal produced from partly burnt wood for our barbeque sessions. We prefer to burn cow dung cakes which also supports local poor ladies to earn some money. We also ensure its never burnt on a bare ground, we use our Weber Kettle Barbeque grill, burning the ground will probably kill many insects which play significant role to keep our ecosystem healthy for us.
We have no right whatsoever to pick up the fallen wood in wilderness, these rotting wooden pieces look like a waste, but they host millions of small insects inside, these insects are the workers of the Nature for the maintenance of eco-system. So, NEVER consider this fallen wood as fuel for your bonfire.
WHY TO SAY ‘NO’ TO BONFIRE
Nature has gifted us with enough wood but our greed and desire to seek comfort is always first and at any cost and this has lead us to over exploit our natural resources and never felt its our duty to replenish it like a savings bank account. We are quite oblivious of that fact that its slowly leading us to self-annihilation. Now, some of us who are sensitive to the issue are worried over the fast depleting jungles and these are disappearing at alarming speed by the hour, a matter of serious concern for the wise. Most of us are ignorant about the fact that wood is already very scarce in places like Rajasthan and Ladakh, etc. And bonfire is not at all a necessity for us, let’s leave that wood for the poor for their very basic survival during harsh winters in these regions.
I have heard many saying – we use only the dead wood fallen on the jungle floor. Let me make you aware that what you consider as dead-wood in the jungle, wood lying on ground, is not useless; it’s very much a significant component of recycling system to maintain the ecosystem. The so called deadwood shelters millions of small insects and micro-germs to breakdown and recycle the wood which has parted from trees etc.
During the second wave of Corona Pandemic, most city dwellers were running pillar to post begging for oxygen cylinders, but will never realise the value of these trees as the best suppliers of pure and original oxygen. But sadly the attitude is – it’s not me who has to sacrifice even the smallest comfort as I am paying and its the concern for my family’s fun while on holidays, it’s others who must do it passionately and we can only scream. Humans are turning arrogant – I will pay and buy and it’s online and anything can be delivered at my doorstep. REMEMBER – the factory filled oxygen is harmful beyond a certain point as doctors are saying its leading to toxic and lethal fungus of different kinds because of the artificially induced oxygen.
We at Green Dot Expeditions have never put our own selfish interests of business before the our efforts towards Nature Conservation selflessly, we have lost money to push our concern about Bonfire but we have tried our best to ensure that bonfire issue is seriously taken by everyone at our camps and they go back with a new perception on the avoidable activity which can be their sincere contribution towards Nature Conservation.
The bitter truth is that well-educated and those who have money are arrogant and do this just for fun and the poor who needs to survive is preached NOT to burn wood at all. And many resort and camp owners, especially who have been champions of NATURE CONSERVATION but when it comes to entertaining their own guests they all burn wood and what is shameful that wood is smuggled into their properties in bullock-carts by these same poor tribals at night. And irony is that these tribals are forced to be part of ‘eco task force’ to preach villagers not to burn wood during the day.
We don’t deny the pleasure of holiday to our guests by denying bonfire at our camp hosted by Taurus – The Luxury Overland Truck. We instead enhance the pleasure by engaging them with other Barbecue on a Secluded Beach (double pleasure), cow-dung burning, etc. And we offer them locations which are amazing and keep guests warm enough in their tents with hot water bottles and hot beverages from the kitchen, when we operate in Ladakh.
Most pseudo champions of ‘nature conservation’ say LET ME ENJOY NOW … I WILL SHOW MY CONCERN SOME OTHER TIME for nature conservation … In any case its not my duty, its the government and NGOs and people like Capt Suresh Sharma who must work and sweat and scream for Nature Conservation. Everyone can make a significant contribution by tweaking personal habits and by being strong to say no to pleasures at the cost of the health of our ecosystem.
Let’s all be concerned towards ‘nature conservation’ it doesn’t need your money, it needs your concern only.
Yes, there is one solution: if we have to burn wood then grow it commercially, especially those trees which are easy on environment i.e eucalyptus, popular, etc. And then it should be sold centrally, I mean should be regulated for bonfire in camps and resorts. But it will be a big challenge in India, still doable!