by Rebecca Carter
Categories: People.

Burning Man 2007, The Green ManBurning Man. They say you’ll never understand it until you go, and I believe them. You can try to learn more about it, more than several have tried to explain it. However, the organizers warn you – don’t learn too much before you go, it will ruin it.

Already a Leave No Trace event, this year, Burning Man’s them is “Green Man” and will focus on the environment. Through this, they hope to bring important issues to the forefront and make them part of the ongoing conversation. Does this mean there won’t be a burning man at this year’s festival? No! “It’s ‘Burning Man’, after all, not ‘Composting Dude’,” they say. The website does state, however, that the organizers “are going to pay much closer attention to the materials used on the sculpture, and we will examine our organization and the entirety of Black Rock City to analyze every opportunity to improve our approach and lessen our impact.”

And they are serious about leaving no trace. Check out the 2006 MOOP Map – that’s Matter Out of Place for the rest of us. Burning Man doesn’t even provide trash cans. You are independent, figure it out for yourself! This map charts how clean each campsite was after last year’s extravaganza. Love the concept.

Want to figure out your carbon footprint for your week-long stay in the middle of the desert? A participant CoolingMan site has been set up just for that purpose. Want to “do good” in communities with other like-minded individuals? Burners Without Borders has been set up just for that purpose – allowing “Burner” involvement the other 51 weeks of the year. They’ve even set up an EnviroBlog for Burning Man.

At Burning Man, art is typically the focus. This year with the green theme, however, expect to see a lot more environmentally related exhibits in the Green Man Pavilion where they say:

Our goal is as simple as it is profound: create a visually and sensory rich space where breakthrough ideas and proven environmental technologies can be displayed and interacted with against the backdrop of the world’s largest participant-created event. We believe this exposition may well be the only place in the world where such a wide range of technologies and solutions can be displayed in an interactive environment.

As for celebrities & Burning Man, producer of the documentary Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock Mike Wilson, had this to say:

There’s celebrities who go out there who costume up and stay anonymous. The event is not about celebrity. Everyone who is performing is performing for each other. It really attracts all kinds of people that live all kinds of different lives, and I think that’s why its so powerful and impacts a lot of people. There’s no dogma or politics attached to it. It’s really inviting to anybody who is curious about it. You end up with an amazing mix of people who are operating under the same sort of social contract: “Hey, we’re going to treat each other with respect and be kind to each other and learn from each other.” You never see this many people gathered together and behaving that well.

Fascinating stuff. Can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

About Rebecca Carter

Rebecca Carter is the Co-Founder of Ecorazzi. Rebecca was recently featured in the book Hot, Rich, and Green. She is one of 70 eco-achievers featured in Glamour magazine in April 2009, named Best of Green 2010 by Miami Magazine and Best Environmentalist by Miami New Times Best of 2008. She's raising a couple of little boys in Miami and speaks English & Spanish. Find out more at Follow Rebecca on Twitter: @rebeccacarter

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  • Tom

    Hey, you might be interested in checking out this story in today’s CNET.COM about the Green Man theme:

  • Paul Schreer

    A few things should be noted in regards to the above article. It is a great piece by the way, thank you Ecorazzi.

    I think it is important to point out that the Coolingman website was started by Burning Man participants for Burning Man Participants and beyond. Black Rock City, LLC, the BM Organization, did not set up this site. They have been around since at least 2005, when I was introduced to them. We thought they were the perfect group to work with when we decided to look at our footprint last year and then all the many footprints that make up the whole, this year.

    Burners without Borders grew organically on the winds of Hurricane Katrina in late 2005 also. A beautiful thing happened after the 2005 event and it is too important to not keep going forward with. The Burning Man Organization, the Burning Man Regionals and The many in the BM Community have chosen to support BWB in many ways and that is that. Year round BM.

    The MOOP Map was an idea that hatched long before the theme was announced. It was in motion and would have been a part of the Playa Restoration Team no matter what the theme for 2007 turned out to be. I have said it on a couple of occasions, the theme this year could have been The Purple Man and been all about Barney for all I care, I would still be doing the work I am doing to Green the Burn.

    The EnviroBlog is the only one out of the 4 things highlighted in the article that was started by the BM Organization, this year, for the purpose of supporting not only the Green Man theme this year but in our efforts to go forward beyond 2007. We aren’t turning back, btw.

    I really like the article, I just want to help others that read it learn a little more of the story. It’s a great story, a beautiful tale, when you start putting all the pieces together, it’s powerful stuff. Someone should make a documentary about Greening the Burn. Did I just say that out loud? Anyway It’s the farthest thing from green washing, what we’re doing that is. We are real, we are everywhere and we’re going to do it our way. We are a great Community. When we decide to do something, we get-er-done.


  • club x

    Burning man is unfortunately a plaything of the hippie vanguard . When i say vanguard i mean rich people who like to fetishize the traditions of the world for entertainment. You all can get what you want done but your agenda will limit you all from ultimately doing anything ,besides patting yourself on the back. good work.
    A wicker man of sacrifice not a social club for assholes with a concept . That being said i still think people should gather and try to get it right or left or whatever direction they want to be

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  • shashonah

    Never been there , I would like to go some day, my sister met the lov of her life out there about ten years ago. good theme, and I hope you all have a blast. God Bless

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  • rich_le_mond

    although a lot of people seem to be making good efforts, burningman is NOT green and will not be for a long time, because:
    -50,000 people use mainly fossil fuels to travel long distances to get there and back
    -lots of generators burn fossil fuels for a week to power RVs, soundsystems, etc, with minimal emissions controls
    -burning of the man and its platform, art installations, and lots of random items from individuals, creates toxic airborne pollutants
    -there is a large consumption of resources for use in art installations, shelters, camps, etc and in all likelihood these things may only be used once, then sit in some dusty san francisco basement for eternity
    -it seems like every other car on its way to bman stops at wal-mart to pick up a shopping cart full of plastic crap like squirt guns, disposable forks, balloons, etc etc
    i’ve been to the event three times and i’m not knocking it, but there IS a lot of greenwashing going on this year considering what actually happens at the event.

    also, from the burningman LLC environmental statement:
    “Black Rock City LLC is committed to utilizing environmentally favorable solutions as they become financially sound alternatives to the use of fossil fuels and non-renewable materials.”
    i think we can agree that EVERYONE wants to use green solutions AS THEY BECOME FINANCIALLY SOUND, right? so basically this event will not become green until society as a whole becomes green, and starts making things like solar technologies viable for people of all income levels.