JRS VOLUME #13; ISSUE #28
Burning Man Update: The Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 13, Issue #28: GREENING YOUR BURN
August 4, 2009
GREENING YOUR BURN
+ MAKE A PLAN TO LEAVE NO TRACE & BE GREEN AT BURNING MAN
+ THE PRINCIPLES OF LEAVE NO TRACE
+ LNT PRINCPLE 1: PLAN AHEAD AND PREPARE
+ GREEN PRINCPLE 1: RETHINK AND REDUCE WHAT WE PURCHASE AND BRING
+ LNT PRINCIPLE 2: TRAVEL AND CAMP ON DURABLE SURFACES
+ GREEN PRINCPLE 2: CONSERVE ENERGY AND REDUCE THE USE OF FOSSIL FUELS
+ LNT PRINCIPLE 3: DISPOSE OF WASTE PROPERLY
+ GREEN PRINCIPLE 3: REUSE WHAT WE CAN FROM YEAR TO YEAR
+ LNT PRINCIPLE 4: MINIMIZE CAMPFIRE IMPACTS
+ GREEN PRINCIPLE 4: RECYCLE EVERYTHING ELSE - AIM FOR ZERO WASTE
+ LEAVE NO TRACE PRINCIPLE 5: BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHER VISITORS
+ GREEN PRINCIPLE 5: COORDINATE WITH OUR NEIGHBORS TO SHARE RESOURCES
+ LEAVE NO TRACE PRINCIPLE 6: LEAVE WHAT YOU FIND
+ GREEN PRINCIPLE 6: RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT & LNT PRINCIPLE 7:RESPECT WILDLIFE
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One of the fundamental threads of Burning Man's genetic fabric is a strong and abiding environmentalist ethic. We're extraordinarily lucky to be able to use the amazing Black Rock Desert as the canvas on which we paint our week-long materpiece year after year. We respect its beauty, its majesty, and its delicacy. It's easy to forget, in this unforgiving, barren landscape, that the playa's tough countenance actually belies an extraordinarily fragile ecosystem.
We consider it our responsibility to care for the Black Rock Desert, not just because the future of our event depends on it, but because it's the right thing to do. Not only do we aim to leave the playa without a trace, but we aim to leave it better than we found it ... and we can't do that without your help.
Below you'll find an incredibly thorough, well thought-out collection of greening and Leave No Trace information, tips and tricks, compiled by The Earth Guardians, who are some of the most conscious, consciencious and dedicated environmental advocates anywhere.
We encourage you to read this through, and adopt these suggestions into your planning process -- for the Burn, and for your day-to-day lives.
For yet more information, peruse the Environment section of the Burning Man website:
LEAVE NO TRACE & BE GREEN AT BURNING MAN
Once you enter into Black Rock City, you are a contributor to a very large artwork: the wonderful disappearing city. Leaving No Trace in Black Rock City is enormously significant - that's what protects this beautiful place and allows us back every year. It's simple details, one step at a time.
Being Green spreads positive impacts beyond the playa. If you put some these tips into your camp's planning, your days on the playa will be easier, cleaner, happier and healthier.
The Earth Guardians have been collecting and recording LNT tips for playa living. Visit their website at:
And for some eco-friendly burner resources, check out
Here are our top ten LNT and Green reminders
1) BE A LNT GOOD NEIGHOR, LEND A HAND, SHARE CLEAN ENERGY, CARRY A
2) PREPARE A LEAVE NO TRACE & A GREEN PLAN
3) RESPECT, RETHINK, REDUCE, REUSE, PRECYCLE, RECYLE AND RESTORE!
4) IF IT DOESN'T COME OUT OF YOUR BODY IT DOESN'T GO INTO THE POTTY.
5) CONSERVE ENERGY & USE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES (SOLAR, WIND, BIODIESEL)
6) NEVER LET IT HIT THE GROUND (INCLUDING GREY WATER & CIGARETTE BUTTS), CLEAN AS YOU GO! & SECURE ITEMS FROM THE WIND
7) INITIATE A NEIBHBORHOOD MOOP SWEEP! GRID YOUR AREA BEFORE YOU LEAVE
8) GIVE YOURSELF, NOT GIFTS THAT ARE LIKELY TO BECOME MOOP
9) PREPARE FOR THE HUNGRY WIND - SECURE YOUR LOAD, ESPECIALLY YOUR TRASH
10) VOLUNTEER FOR CLEAN UP WITH DPW & PARTICIPATE IN ECO-RESTORATION PROJECTS YEAR ROUND!
THE PRINCIPLES OF LEAVE NO TRACE
It takes thousands of participants to create a disappearing city. What Can You Do? The Earth Guardians collect good ideas from participants, mix in Leave No Trace principles, and pass them along. Not only will you reduce the Matter Out Of Place ("MOOP"), you'll make your visit to Black Rock City (BRC) happier.
Leave No Trace Principles - We have embraced these seven LNT principles and have made Burning Man the largest LNT event in the world. The Leave No Trace Organization has more information on their website: http://www.lnt.org .
1.) Plan Ahead and Prepare,
2.) Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces,
3). Dispose of Waste Properly,
4.) Minimize Campfire Impacts,
5.) Be Considerate of Other Visitors,
6.) Leave What You Find,
7.) Respect Wildlife
THE GREEN PRINCIPLES
We have developed some additional Green Principles to help you think green. Think about the effect your decisions have on the environment and choose the least harmful option.
1.) Rethink What We Need to Thrive and Reduce What We Purchase &
2.) Conserve Energy & Reduce the Use of Fossil Fuels,
3.) Reuse Materials from Year to Year,
4.) Recycle Everything Else with a Goal of Zero Waste,
5.) Coordinate With Our Neighbors to Share Resources,
6.) Respect the Environment
LNT Principle 1 – Plan Ahead and Prepare
Pick a Leave No Trace team for your camp and develop LNT & Green plans. These folks will help set up the camp so that it doesn't blow away, help to plan your camp's cleanup and break-down ahead of time, reduce waste (especially stinky trash), design gray water disposal, and identify what NOT to burn. If you plan ahead and prepare to LNT, you'll have less to haul up to the playa, and have less to clean-up at the end of the week
Minimize kitchen waste and clean-up by planning simple, low- dishwashing meals, repackaging and preparing food in advance. Bring less food than you think you'll need. Repackage and prepare food in advance. Bring water in big reusable plastic or stainless steel containers and bring reusable cups, utensils, bowls or plates, not flimsy, blowable disposables. Ask visitors to your camp to BYOM (bring your own mug) and take your own mug to the Center Camp Café and fashionable bars. A carabiner or shower hook easily secures it for transport around the City.
Separate and sort trash in your kitchen, including compost and recycling. Collect food waste in a mesh bag. The food will dry up, becoming light and nearly odorless. Burn paper and wood in a community burn platform. Here's food wisdom from a decade on the playa:
Plan your camp to minimize clean-up efforts and don't wait until the end of the week to pick stuff up. Clean as you go. This will help you from getting overwhelmed by the mess and help keep trash from blowing out of reach. Plan to seal the small amount of trash you have left in big plastic bags, or in five-gallon buckets with lids, to take home, compost or, if you must, drop off some trash in local landfills.
You can also find out more about the Reno-Sparks Drive through Recycling Project at designated Save Mart locations.
GREEN PRINCIPLE 1 –RETHINK AND REDUCE WHAT WE PURCHASE & BRING
How are you going to be sustainable at/to/from BRC in 2009? Things to take into consideration include the type and the materials being used, waste produced and energy consumed.
Use Greener Materials. Consider using materials that can be reused or repurposed at home or at next year's event. Use nontoxic, biodegradable, renewable and salvageable materials. Select construction materials and decorations for your camp that are recyclable or reusable. You'll reduce costs and disposal headaches at the end of the week and for next year.
Reduce energy use, consider renewable sources and off-set carbon emissions. Incorporate energy- efficient lighting. Use human, solar, wind, or biodiesel energy sources. Carpool and/or offset carbon emissions associated with transportation and energy (generators) and coordinate with neighboring camps to share transportation and energy generation.
LNT PRINCIPLE 2 -TRAVEL AND CAMP ON DURABLE SURFACES
Winter rains help erase our tracks on the playa, but dust from driving affects people in BRC. Keep auto speeds under 5 mph in BRC. Do not even think about taking a dip in the Hot Springs during the event. These delicate ecosystems cannot handle the volume of visitors that use during the event would create and visiting them is a violation of our permit. Don't do it!
Design your Camp Structures and Shelters to withstand the extreme conditions on the playa and be reusable. Stake your tents and structures so they will stay secure in the heavy wind, rain, and dust storms that are sudden and usual on the playa. Recycle Your Structure: If you reuse and repurpose the basic framework for your camp's structure, you can still reconfigure it to give your camp a new look and feel each year and save money!
Do not dig holes in the playa. Only dig small postholes used for structural support which are properly tamped and filled. Larger holes easily erode even when carefully backfilled. They leave a visible mark and create a serious safety hazard.
Keep your vehicle from dripping oil or other fluids on to the playa. BLM did a study on this and requests that we use pans or other barriers under our cars, especially older cars, to prevent drips.
Always use a potty for your body waste - not the playa. Having a pee jug near your bed will cut down on trips to the potties.
GREEN PRINCIPLE 2 –CONSERVE ENERGY & REDUCE THE USE OF FOSSIL FUELS
Conserve energy. Turn off unused lights and incorporate energy- efficient lighting such as energy efficient light bulbs, LED's or EL wire. Use rechargeable batteries. There are also many handy lights that come with their own solar cells.
Use renewable energy sources (human, solar, wind, biodiesel). The Alternative Energy Zone (www.aez.org ) has been living generator free for many playa years! If you must use a generator, consider biodiesel fuels instead of gasoline. Visit Solar Koan to check out their solar- based recharging station!
Get your car's maintenance done on a regular basis. A well maintained car produces lower emissions and will make it all the way to BRC. Consider purchasing carbon off-sets from www.Coolingman.org to offset your transportation and energy (generators) emissions. Their web site contains a handy spreadsheet to calculate your carbon emissions.
LNT PRINCIPLE 3 -DISPOSE OF WASTE PROPERLY
If it doesn't come out of your body it doesn't go into the Potty. Only single-ply toilet paper and human waste in the potties. Anything else will clog up the toilet vendor two-inch hose resulting in unserviced potties, and that means trouble.
How will you dispose of your grey water from your kitchen and shower? We can not dump grey water directly on the playa. Camps can collect grey water and contract pre-event with United Site Services for disposal or take it to one of the RV dump stations along Interstate 80 after the event. You could use a variety of techniques to evaporate and reduce grey water, or if you're in a small camp, with minimal dish and body-washing water, you might choose to treat your grey water: pour it through a filter (like a paint sieve), disinfect it with bleach, then, since it is treated, sprinkle it on your street to keep down dust. Learn more at:
There are no trash cans in Black Rock city – so you must take any trash you generate home with you and beware of the Hungry Wind. Bring tethers, anchors, containers, and covers, to keep light stuff from blowing away. Don't let your trash fly off your vehicle, and do not dump it on the side of the road or at a rest stop! Use an approved dumping facility or take it home with you. Starting home, take a rest stop early; at the entrance gate, at a wide pullout, or maybe in Empire (if not too congested). Check your load. It is most likely to fail early in the trip.
GREEN PRINCIPLE 3 –REUSE WHAT WE CAN FROM YEAR TO YEAR
Design your camp structures for reuse, easy deconstruction, storage and salvage. Use screws instead of nails, reclaimed wood, and metal when possible. If someone in your camp volunteers to store the structure and associated shade-cloth, you can spend more time and energy decorating a structure that will last for years.
Consider using materials that are reclaimed and can be reused or repurposed at home or at next year's event. You'll save money and have less disposal headaches. You'll also save money when preparing for next year.
Trashion is high fashion! Instead of going shopping, go to your closet or look to save items from going to the landfill for some styling playa fashions. Nowadays, burners are meeting for swaps, DIY workshops, and trashion shows. Check your local Regional list for announcements. And check out some of the wonderful costume boutiques on the playa and come to the Earth Guardian fashion show on Wednesday afternoon.
LNT PRINCIPLE 4 - MINIMIZE CAMPFIRE IMPACTS - HOW DO WE BURN RESPONSIBLY AND CLEAN?
Don't Burn on the Unprotected Playa. While resilient, the playa surface is vulnerable to scarring from careless burning. Burning directly on the alkaline playa BAKES the surface into a dark, hard brick-like material. Use community burn barrels or a burn platform.
Reduce and Reuse: Fires are for celebration and spiritual connection, not places to dump garbage. Low temperature burning produces toxic emissions, so minimize what you burn. Recycle or reuse materials. Take reusable wood to a Burners with Borders recycle station! On Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, the lumber recycling stations will be located at stations along the Esplanade.
Don't Overload the Burn Platforms – Recycle Your Wood! Bring your extra wood and other camp building materials to re-use/salvage centers or to a Burners Wiithout Borders lumber recycling station,. If you do burn, be sure the wood you place in the burn platform is well contained. When the platforms are overloaded, burning wood can hit the playa and cause a burn scar. Have tools on hand to break down and cut up larger pieces.
Burn Clean: Be careful to burn only clean (no paint) wood or paper! Don't burn anything that is toxic! Carpets, cushioned furniture, PVC and other plastics release dioxins, formaldehyde, and other nasty stuff. The community burn platforms are low to the ground, and produce smoke that is easily inhaled. The low temperature, incomplete combustion emits toxic gases and particulates. Do not put any trash into your burn barrels! For more information on the hazards associated with toxic fumes:
Participate - Join the Toxic Avengers! If you want to volunteer to help educate our citizens about wood recycling and responsible ways to burn, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and please come by the Earth Guardians Pavilion at Esplanade, near Center Camp during the event and sign up for our Sunday patrols. We'll be having a meeting on Friday at 11:30 to train new volunteers.
GREEN PRINCIPLE 4 –RECYCLE EVERYTHING ELSE –CREATE ZERO WASTE
Plan to Recycle- Buy only aluminum cans and plan to dispose of the cans at Recycle Camp. There are many good beers in cans! Check out
to find some. The more cans you can leave with Recycle camp, the less you have to take home! Be sure to separate any other recyclables (glass and plastic) at recycle centers.
Composting food waste not only reduces garbage but repurposes the waste to fertilizer. Be sure to use a container with a tight lid for transporting the compost home.
Salvage, Reuse, and/or Recycling everything, including camp construction and demolition waste. Bring your extra wood and other camp building materials to re-use/salvage centers or Burners without Borders collection centers for used, reusable, building materials at the end of the event at wood collection sites on the playa, Sunday till Tuesday at noon.
LEAVE NO TRACE PRINCIPLE 5 - BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHER VISITORS
Promote LNT neighborhoods. Initiate a MOOP sweep with your neighbors to keep your part of the city clean and green. If you get overwhelmed, ask for help. The LNT principle, "Be considerate of Other Visitors," in our city, includes helping neighbors to leave no trace. Carry a MOOP bag and water as you walk around your part of the city.
"You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give." - Kahlil Gibran
Gifting in a LNT Community: Instead of bringing cheap trinkets for gifts that become MOOP, consider the gift of one's self. Look around and pitch in to help keep things clean: offer a tool, an extra hand, a gesture of thanks. Try giving a smile, a helping hand or a joke. Help a neighbor set up camp. You are the best gift.
GREEN PRINCIPLE 5 –COORDINATE WITH OUR NEIGHBORS TO SHARE RESOURCES
Coordinate with other participants to carpool, reduce your transportation costs and impacts and make new friends even before you get to the playa. Note that many Regionals also coordinate to ship supplies to the playa. Check with your local regional contact and test out the BM rideshare web page:
Partner with other camps to share resources. Many camps now collaborate on shared energy sources and grey water management. If you're in a Village, you work with your village organizers to place camps so that sharing generators (or even better, renewable power sources) can happen.
Discuss the possibility of sharing water and water treatment needs with others in your camp and village. Many theme camps within villages take advantage of shared resources to use larger scale processes to store their drinking and shower water and treat their grey water. Do not bring small plastic bottles of water to the playa.
LEAVE NO TRACE PRINCIPLE 6 - LEAVE WHAT YOU FIND
On first reaching the playa, we encounter one of the profoundly barren and empty corners of the world. That is exactly what we want to leave.
Clean As You Go and Grid Your Camp at the End! Don't wait until the end of the week to pick stuff up, NEVER LET IT HIT THE GROUND and CLEAN AS YOU GO. This will help you from getting overwhelmed by the mess and help keep trash from blowing out of reach. Once you have taken down your camp, pack-up and load everything (including all trash) into your vehicles, and do a line sweep for every last bit of MOOP. Use something like cones on the outside of your camp's border to define your boundaries, break up any dunes that formed around vehicles or structures, then divide up your area and begin line sweeps. Give everyone a sack, line them up along one edge of camp, look down and slowly walk to the other side. Cover your entire area looking for those last bits of trash- every wood chip, plastic piece, twist tie, cigarette butt, food scrap, carpet fiber, match, nut shell, scrap of plastic, everything.
A buried stake doesn't disappear. Instead, its hazard is magnified. Even when pounded below the surface, a stake will slowly, inevitably, emerge from the playa. Vise-grips will almost always remove a stuck stake. First, clamp on the vise-grips and rotate the stake back and forth, to break the playa's grip. Then continue rotating and also pull upwards. Still stuck? Ask a neighbor for help. Next year, remember that smooth stakes pull out much easier than ridged rebar.
Devote 2 Hours to General Cleanup in Black Rock City. This means MOOP sweeps in the streets, public spaces, and open playa. removing all burn scars, dunes, leftover debris, or other physical traces of our presence. Stop by the Earth Guardian camp during the week and on Sunday and Monday -- we'll give you a beautiful reusable MOOP bag and direct you to the areas of the City that need the most attention. Consider staying an extra day to help clean-up and avoid the Sunday and Monday traffic!
Consider joining the DPW post-event restoration crews. Help us clean and restore the playa, so that we and all its visitors can appreciate its beauty again and again. Come back to the Black Rock Desert after the event and participate in restoration activities. The Earth Guardians participate in eco-restoration activities year-round. For more information, check out our calendar at http://www.earthguardians.net
GREEN PRINCIPLE 6 –RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT
LNT PRINCIPLE 7 – RESPECT WILDLIFE
At first glance, this principle may not seem as applicable to Burning Man. However, as users of the Black Rock Desert, we share the Black Rock Desert with many native species. As home to Burning Man, the Black Rock Desert has importance to the Burning Man community. Earth Guardians have partnered with BLM and other user groups to restore sensitive areas around the Black Rock Desert and have also taken on our own restoration projects.
Participate in Environmental Stewardship. EG's are continuing their efforts to take care of the desert environment with the Bureau of Land Management and Friends of Black Rock/High Rock. Stop by the Earth Guardian Pavilion at Esplanade near Center camp to sign up for environmental workshops and naturalist-led desert walks throughout the week.
Let's keep our beautiful desert home clean year round! See the EG pages for more details:
Promote more sustainable practices at Burning Man with Respect, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Precycle, Recycle and Restore, resulting in more awareness of conservation, ecological footprints, carbon equivalent offsets, and alternative energy sources, protecting our global habitat. Interested in helping, come to the Earth Guardians Pavilion and participate in one of our workshops.
Also, don't forget, the desert is no place for dogs or other pets. Burning Man is a no dog event. For questions, email dogs (at) burningman (dot) com
RESPECT THE PLAYA - NEVER LET IT HIT THE GROUND!
RESPECT, RETHINK, PRECYCLE, REDUCE, REUSE, RECYLE and RESTORE! DON'T LET IT HIT THE GROUND - CLEAN AS YOU GO!
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