To Burn or Not to Burn
Hello. Temple and Effigy Co-Lead and all-round over-thinker, here.
While we fully intend to set this year's Temple and Effigy ablaze (in part because I have neither the money nor space to store materials), I think it would be good for us to discuss whether we want to make the burning of a temple and effigy a part of Burning Nest in the future.
While I think we can all agree that the carbon released into the atmosphere by our wee Burn is, in relative terms, pretty teeny, especially compared to much bigger global contributors, there is a question, for me, about whether we should unnecessarily be releasing any carbon into the atmosphere as a result of our event. Carbon released from burning wood is, in relative terms, very high (wood, growing over decades by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, stores a lot of carbon). And not burning the Temple and Effigy is a pretty straight-forward way that we could avoid doing that.
Some other points: I love the symbolism of the Burn. I love the somewhat nihilist destruction of it, the silly, primate awe and wonder of it, and the message it communicates about material transience (more important than ever, I think, in the face of our extinction).
But on the other hand, perhaps there are other ways to communicate these ideas and feelings without actually destroying nature so viscerally and literally.
Other regional Burns don't always burn their Temples and Effigies. I believe the Temple from AfrikaBurn will be going on tour, to engage local communities in Burner culture and to encourage young people in particular to engage in creative expression. By not burning their Temple, AfrikaBurn can also make more colourful, more participatory structures, as well as saving money and resources year on year by having the option of repurposing materials from previous years' structures.
I'd like to hear people's views on this below, including what the Burn means to you, how integral it is to you for a Burn event (and for Nest in particular), what alternatives there might be to burning our Temple and Effigy, and so on.
And yes, I'm fully aware of the potential irony and hypocrisy that the person who proposed and is co-creating the biggest Temple that Nest has ever burned, is also questioning the burning of the Temple and Effigy. If you're surprised by this, then you probably haven't met me. Hi.