December 20th, 2007  |  Filed under News

Burning Man Advises Carlsbad Marathon On Leave No Trace

Keep California Beautiful enlists Burning Man to help transition the Carlsbad Marathon to a “Leave No Trace” event

January 18, 2008 Carlsbad, CA. – When Keep California Beautiful was charged with developing a plan to help “green” the Carlsbad Marathon they looked to the ground-breaking work of the nation’s largest Leave No Trace event; Burning Man. Inspired by Burning Man’s achievements and ability to efficiently mobilize to create change, Christine Flowers, the Executive Director of KCB engaged the Burning Man organization for their consultation and support.

“We are very proud that the work we have done to make Burning Man an inspirational, and more importantly effective, role model for socially and environmentally responsible action continues to transcend the boundaries of the event and provide value in a wide variety of real-world situations.” Marian Goodell, board member of Black Rock City, LLC., said.

After consulting a case study developed by Burning Man’s Environmental Manager, Tom Price, KCB developed a Litter Abatement plan for the Carlsbad Marathon focused on creating a culture of participation and the development of practical solutions to mitigate and facilitate the disposal of event related garbage.

The plan calls for Burning Man’s Department of Public Works (DPW) to take on a consulting role to KCB in order to assess and assist with the execution of the Litter Abatement plan. A crew of eleven DPW volunteers, lead by Dominic “DA” Tinio, the head of the DPW’s playa restoration team, will be on hand for the marathon, working to do a pre-course evaluation and develop benchmarks that both KCB and the marathon organizers can use to determine the effectiveness of the litter abatement plan.

“Burning Man has been an integral part of the development of the litter abatement plan and continues to provide value through their ability to implement and assess the various elements of the plan in action.” said Flowers. The success of this program at the Carlsbad event could become a blueprint for the California Integrated Waste Management Board and the California Environmental Protection Agency in the development of other No Trace events.

December 18th, 2007  |  Filed under Afield in the World

Farewell Snowstorm!

Greetings friends!

Just a small entry today to acknowlege and say farewell to one of our Regional Contacts who is about to embark on a year-long adventure around the world. I had just arrived in London and was lucky enough to catch a few hours with Matt aka Snowstorm before he left to embark on his super adventure. And we were not alone! In true Regional tradition, Danielle from Atlanta was visiting London at the time and joined us for a little bit of Regional love.

Read more »

December 18th, 2007  |  Filed under Events/Happenings

London Decompression

Perhaps the latest Decompression event of the year, I have to say that attending London Decompression was quite a treat.

A long enough time has passed since we have all returned home from the playa that a good dose of Burning love was greatly appreciated. I don’t think I was alone, ask any one of the close to 600 participants what they thought and I bet you’ll hear similar words of appreciation.

Read more »

December 18th, 2007  |  Filed under News

Burning Man Lights Up Gerlach Schools With Solar Energy

Burning Man, MMA Renewable Ventures, Sierra Pacific Power Collaborate for Community Clean Energy

Gerlach, Nev. – December 18, 2007– Students in Gerlach will be celebrating a “green” Christmas because their campus will soon be powered by renewable energy. An array of solar panels installed at the campus is expected to generate up to 162,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually for the next 25 years. The total energy savings over that time period is expected to surpass $480,000. The approximately $20,000 per year savings will directly benefit the students and faculty of the rural school, according to the Washoe County School District.

Gerlach’s new 90-kilowatt, photovoltaic, solar power system resulted from a pioneering collaboration between Sierra Pacific Power, Burning Man, MMA Renewable Ventures and the Washoe County School District. The panels were installed at no charge to the school district through a combination of donated labor and materials and Sierra Pacific’s SolarGenerations rebate program. “The Burning Man community has long been a part of the Northern Nevada community, and when this opportunity to give something back came up we jumped on it,” explained Marian Goodell, board member of Black Rock City, LLC.

Representatives from the town of Gerlach, the school district, Burning Man, Sierra Pacific and MMA Renewable Ventures will celebrate the completion of the ground-mounted solar array on Tuesday, Dec. 18.  The installation consists of three 30-kilowatt solar systems, and they provide nearly enough electricity to supply all of the energy needed for the campus, according to Bruce Deetken, energy manager for the school district. The Gerlach campus consists of three schools that serve 83 students from kindergarten through high school.

“The solar panels will give our students good insight into the different ways we can address global warming issues with renewable energy,” said Gerlach Principal Carol Kaufmann, adding that she is working with the Desert Research Institute in Reno to incorporate the solar project into their science curriculum.

“Because Gerlach is somewhat isolated, it is difficult to provide the students with the same opportunities afforded to students in other parts of Washoe County,” Kaufmann said. “That’s another reason why this is a great opportunity for us.”

Tuesday’s event will also premiere the Burning Man organization’s plans, through the Black Rock Solar project, to install several more solar projects in northern Nevada in cooperation with Sierra Pacific and the SolarGenerations program. Rebates for schools and public buildings participating in the program amount to $5 per watt of installed solar energy.

“Our goal is to build low or no cost solar systems for communities that otherwise might not develop them, and to build high-profile projects that help speed the adoption of solar energy in Nevada,” added Tom Price with Black Rock Solar.

Project costs will be partially offset by a $450,000 rebate provided through the SolarGenerations program established by the Nevada State Legislature in 2003 to encourage Nevadans to install solar energy. The program is administered by Sierra Pacific Power in northern Nevada and Nevada Power Company in Las Vegas. “Thanks to our State Legislature and the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, our state has one of the most aggressive programs in the nation to encourage solar energy,” Sierra Pacific Program Manager John Hargrove said.  ”We are excited to join with Black Rock Solar in helping schools and public facilities to go green and save money on their energy bills.”

Engineering expertise and labor for the Gerlach project was provided free of charge by Black Rock Solar, a nonprofit project of Black Rock City, LLC, which produces the annual Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert north of Gerlach, and by Brooks Engineering, one of the leading experts in PV system design.

MMA Renewable Ventures, a leading clean energy project finance firm, provided the solar electric equipment. The Gerlach solar energy system celebration follows on today’s dedication ceremony for another MMA Renewable Ventures project in Nevada, a 14-megawatt system at Nellis Air Force Base that is now the largest photovoltaic array in North America.

“This collaboration for solar energy in Gerlach is an extension of our philosophy that renewable energy should be cost effective and accessible to all in this country, from the largest corporations to the smallest rural towns,” said Matt Cheney, CEO of MMA Renewable Ventures. “We are proud to be helping the community with a reliable source of clean energy and helping Gerlach’s schools focus their resources on their children.”

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: Tuesday December 18, 2007, at noon, 555 East Sunset Boulevard in Gerlach. Images and video available upon request.

About Burning Man
The annual art event known as Burning Man, which began on a beach in San Francisco in 1986, has grown to attract more than 47,000 participants annually, from every state of the Union and twenty-two countries worldwide. For the last seventeen years, the increasingly popular and influential event has been held in the Black Rock Desert outside of Reno, Nevada. Based on corporate accounting and participant survey data, it is estimated that Burning Man contributes almost $20 million annually to the northern Nevada economy.  For more information, visit http://www.burningman.com.

About MMA Renewable Ventures
A subsidiary of Municipal Mortgage & Equity, LLC “MuniMae,” (NYSE: MMA), MMA Renewable Ventures finances, owns and operates renewable energy and energy efficiency assets in the United States. The Company provides leases, Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and other customized financial solutions to help its customers manage energy costs. MMA Renewable Ventures is dedicated to delivering competitively priced, clean energy and energy savings to customers, strong partnership options for project developers, and exceptional opportunities for institutional investment in the clean energy sector. For more information about MMA Renewable Ventures, visit http://www.mmarenewableventures.com.

About Sierra Pacific Power
Headquartered in Reno, Nevada, Sierra Pacific Power Company is the principal utility for most of northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area of California. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sierra Pacific Resources (NYSE: SRP), which also is the holding company for Nevada Power Company, the electric utility for southern Nevada. Sierra Pacific Power also distributes natural gas in the Reno-Sparks area of northern Nevada.  For more information, visit http://www.sierrapacific.com.

About Black Rock Solar
Black Rock Solar is a non-profit project of the Burning Man community, focused on addressing climate change and speeding the adoption curve of renewable energy.  By installing renewable energy at low or no cost, Black Rock Solar puts much needed funds in the hands of communities typically not served by the renewable energy industry, who then get to decide how to best meet their own needs. Along the way, Black Rock Solar creates educational opportunities for volunteers and beneficiaries, and sponsor training to broaden the solar power industry. Future projects will also include installation art that explore these themes.  For more information visit http://www.blackrocksolar.org.

December 3rd, 2007  |  Filed under News

Burning Man Lights Up Pershing County Hospital With Solar Energy

Volunteers affiliated with Burning Man are helping the Pershing General Hospital in Lovelock reduce its carbon footprint – and save money on its electric bill – with photovoltaic solar panels that will soon be generating 60,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

The project is getting a major boost from Sierra Pacific Power Company’s SolarGenerations program, which will provide a $150,000 rebate to help bring the Burning Man organization to provide the project to the hospital for free.  The project is expected to be completed by Nov. 21, 2007.

Over the next 20 years, the donated solar array will generate an estimated $130,000 of free, carbon neutral energy for the hospital, allowing them to use those funds for other purposes.

The solar panels, capable of producing 30 kilowatts (30,000 watts), are being installed by Black Rock Solar, a nonprofit project of Black Rock City, LLC, which produces the annual Burning Man event.  This is the first of what is expected to be many Black Rock Solar projects which, through the Sierra Pacific Power SolarGenerations program, will bring low or no cost renewable energy to schools and other public buildings in Nevada.  Black Rock Solar is also currently installing a 90-kilowatt solar system for the schools in Gerlach, which is expected to be completed in December.

Project Celebrated on November 20
Hospital staff, representatives of Pershing County, as well as Black Rock Solar and Sierra Pacific Power will celebrate the completion of the project in Lovelock with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the hospital today at noon.

“This is an opportunity for Burning Man to give back to the communities that have supported the event, and to increase awareness of alternative energy,” said Matt Mynttinen, project manager for Black Rock Solar. “Doing this also promotes the core principles of Burning Man, which includes acts of unconditional gift giving.”

The solar panels could supply up to half of the hospital’s energy needs, according to Matt Rees, chief executive officer of Pershing General Hospital. “We’re really excited about the project,” Reese said. “It will save the hospital thousands of dollars annually on energy costs, which represents dollars that can be invested in new medical equipment that could save lives. We’re also pleased because this is a green project so we are helping protect the environment.”

“The Black Rock Solar group is taking a very unique and innovative approach toward bringing solar energy to many of the communities in which they are involved.  We are very excited to be a part of this great effort,” said John Hargrove, manager of the SolarGenerations program.

December 3rd, 2007  |  Filed under News

Burning Man Event Donates More Than $100,000 To Pershing County Over The Past Four Years In Support Of Local Community

Black Rock City, LLC will deliver more than $50,000 to local service organizations in 2007.

November 30, 2007 Lovelock, Nevada. – Black Rock City, LLC, the organization that hosts the annual Burning Man event, has donated over $50,000 in proceeds from ice sales at the 2007 event to various charitable, art and service organizations in Pershing County.

This year Black Rock City, LLC added two additional organizations to its list of charitable contributions; Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary and the Lovelock Food Bank. Burning Man gave more to Pershing County organizations than in previous years. “We have been very vocal in the past that our success as an event will lead to our continued and expanded support for the communities that support us.” Commented Larry Harvey, Founder & Executive Director of Burning Man.  “Again in 2007 we’ve been able to live up to that promise.”

Gift recipients include: Marzen House Museum, Pershing County Arts Council, Friends of the Library, Lovelock Frontier Days, Pershing General Hospital & Nursing Care, Pershing County Domestic Violence Intervention, Pershing County Humane Society, Lovelock Lion’s Club, Kid’s, Horses & Rodeos, Lovelock Boy Scout Association, Lovelock Little League Association, Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary, Lovelock Food Bank, Lovelock Chamber of Commerce, and Pershing County.

In addition to cash donations, which have grown every year over the past four years—this year’s amount marks a 20% increase over 2006, Burning Man also donated and installed 72 solar panels at the Pershing General Hospital in November 2007.  An outgrowth of the “Green Man” theme of Burning Man 2007, the panels, orginally donated to Burning Man by MMA Renewable Ventures for the 2007 Burning Man event, will provide considerable tax and electrical savings to the hospital, as well as foster clean energy.

“We are just pleased to be able to say that a valuable green resource used in Black Rock City is going to permanently benefit our neighbors in Pershing County.” said Marian Goodell, Director of Business & Communications. “We are proud to be supportive of the local community and the environment through whatever means we have available, be it money or resources.”

In addition to donations, Black Rock City, LLC gives free advertising to local businesses on its website. “We encourage our participants to patronize the businesses along I-80 to and from Burning Man each year,” said Goodell.

For seventeen years, the Black Rock Desert outside of Reno, Nevada, has been home to the increasingly popular and influential Burning Man event. The annual art event, which began on a beach in San Francisco in 1986, has grown to attract more than 47,000 participants annually, from every state of the Union and twenty-two countries worldwide. Based on corporate accounting and participant survey data, the organization estimates that it contributes significantly to the northern Nevada economy through permits, taxes, rentals and the money that its participants spend on groceries, supplies and lodging on the way to and from the event.

For more information please contact:
Josh Camire, Media and Communications
Black Rock City, LLC
(415) 865-3800, ext. 102
josh(at)burningman(dot)com

October 25th, 2007  |  Filed under Environment

Here’s the list of what we did this year..

Word’s come back that folks don’t feel like there’s anyplace to list all the things that happened regarding the Green Man theme this year, so here’s a partial list–please email environment at burning man dot com with omissions, and we’ll add em in!

Pre-Event Staff Operations/Education:

Staff field trip to Solar Living Institute
Our first ever field trip, we took 25 staff to learn about solar power, permaculture, composting, etc.

Brown bag lunch lecture series
A total of five conversations held at the office, on a variety of environmental topics. The goal was to raise overall awareness while giving staff a common language for understanding some of the issues we’d be dealing with. The last of them, a debate between Jim Mason and Dr. David Shearer over carbon offsets, was attended by 40+ people.

Recycle Your Life Day
Two week long in-office swaps of clothing, furniture etc. Kept items out of the landfill, and sent a lot of material to Goodwill.

Pre-Event Participant Education:

Green Working Group
Established open forum for any participant to suggest changes, initiate projects, meeting every other week at the office. Produced dozens of ideas, large and small, that were acted on/implemented.

Green House
Wonderful event in conjunction with Open House/Volunteer Day. Sparked a lot of energy—almost like people looked around and said “wow, I had no idea there were so many people like me!” Dozens of displays, educational tools, workshops, fashion show, music–you name it, we had it going on.

Environmental Section of Burningman.com
Built extensive Environmental Section of the web site, chock full of great information.

Enviroblog
Ranked as #3 overall most viewed page on Burning Man website. More than 70 posts covering a wide range of topics.

Green BRC Stickers
An inexpensive hack on the familiar black BRC ovals of years past, we gave out more that 5,000—amazing to see them proliferate.

Revised questionnaires
Theme Camp, Art, and DMV questionnaires revised to capture alt energy/environmental planning information.

Event-based education

Green Guide
We created a separate “Green Map and Guide,” an 11×17 two sided map and index of events, installations, and educational happenings.

Green Man Speaks
A week-long series of conversations inspired by the Green Man theme, held at Otter Oasis.

Large Scale Art Camp Networking
We worked with LSSACs to connect them to vendors for access to biodiesel generators, and to network their power grids–reducing cost, reducing pollution, building awareness, and fostering community.

Earth Rise Film Fest
A first-time participant organized a film festival at Entheon Village. Over 200 films were to be screened throughout the event, included DiCaprio’s “11th Hour.”

CIVIKS
Built and installed four three sided kiosks to display civic information throughout the city, with a focus on the theme. They were built outside the ranger outposts, and in the 4:30/7:30 plaza. Lit by solar power, they provided 24-hour info and maps, as well as event listings and MOOP maps (another first).

Read more »

October 25th, 2007  |  Filed under Environment

Can ‘Burning Man’ Become a Model for Green Living?

Green Man

Green Man

from Alternet:
Can ‘Burning Man’ Become a Model for Green Living?
By Matthew Taylor, PeacePower Magazine. Posted October 23, 2007.

Can 45,000 people journey vast distances to a lifeless Nevada desert and participate in an environmentally sustainable festival devoted to burning stuff? As strange as it sounds, during the last week of August 2007, the annual hedonistic celebration Burning Man attempted to do just that: go ‘green.’

What has Burning Man done to merit its theme, The Green Man? Is Burning Man making serious efforts to green itself, or is it all a front, a form of greenwashing? How will the Burning Man experience affect burners, and will they bring it home into their lives? What does the Green Man art theme say about the state of civilization and its trajectory? It was in search of answers to these questions and others unimagined that the author trekked to the playa this year.

A certain segment of the Burning Man community has long made respect for the environment a high priority. For years, event organizers have promoted a “leave no trace” ethic and encouraged all participants to scour campsites down to the tiniest scraps.

The under-appreciated Earth Guardians work year-round to keep the playa clean and tidy, and ensure that “burn scars” don’t deface the desert. Burners Without Borders, a group of volunteers vowing to “bring it home,” journeyed to the Hurricane Katrina destruction zone in 2005 to provide an estimated one million dollars worth of free home demolitions to help property owners clear away wreckage from the disaster. Last year, the same group salvaged six semi trucks full of reclaimed wood from the festival and donated it to Habitat for Humanity. (This year, a Burning Man spokesperson says it was even more).

But in the past few years, participants have demanded a much higher level of environmental responsibility. Just keeping the desert free from “MOOP” (matter out of place) was not enough. Read more »