Burning 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 worldâ€™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.
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.