Living in the fire and haze

Amrita Bhattacharya joined SBI Youth for India fellowship and chose to work towards spreading awareness about environmental conservation and responsibility towards nature in villages. This blog post is her views about the monetary greed that drives man to destroy nature.

The forests in and around the area I live in Uttarakhand Pithoragarh Berinag Forests is on fire for close to a month, only now I have seen some posts in the media about the devastating fires that are raging in Uttarakhand. Reportedly nearly 1900 hectares of forest land has been destroyed and the fires still continue to rage engulfing the region in a haze of smoke. The locals say it has not been this bad in a long time, as the dry pine needles prone to fires are still more vulnerable in the drought like state where it has not rained for past several months.

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The concern is even more when you find out that the fires are often man made and intentional, showing a serious apathy towards the very forests that maintain the ecological balance of the mountains.

The pine trees which are often tapped for resin, is anyway left weak and the inflammable pine-resin-collection-trunk-india-346787861resin exposed on the bark. These trees after they are burnt in forest fires dry up and are cut and sold.

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As I in my fellowship journey spread awareness about environmental conservation and inculcate responsibility towards the nature, the deep sense of greed of men to destroy nature for fleeting monetary benefit hits me even more.

Some villagers trying to put out the fire

Man and fire

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Putting out fires with twigs!!!

As I remember Gus Speth, a US environmental lawyer said: “I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”

The haze which hangs like a blanket on the hills

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