MOOP Map Live 2012: Where are the MOOP-conscious mutant vehicles?

Photo by James Addison. Click to enlarge.

Hello out there, MOOP maniacs! Today, we’re giving the intrepid Playa Restoration team a little respite from their work restoring the Black Rock Desert. Instead, let’s turn our attention to another group that goes above and beyond the call of duty to make Burning Man an amazing experience: mutant vehicle owners.

Black Rock City wouldn’t be the same without mutant vehicle owners. They pour immeasurable amounts of their own time, money and artistic effort into the conveyances that cart you across the playa at a cool 5mph, day and night.

Photo by Dmitry Sumin. Click to enlarge.

But mutant vehicles have their own challenges, one of which is MOOP. We’ve all seen a sound vehicle parked somewhere on the playa, creating an impromptu dance party that draws anywhere from ten to a thousand people. What happens when those people — and the vehicle — depart? In many cases, there’s a bit of MOOP left behind.

In fact, this year Playa Restoration discovered the remnants of just such a party in the outer playa off of L and 10:00 (GPS coordinates: 40.801, -119.206). They picked up over a hundred cigarette butts, along with broken jewelry and disco-ball mirrors. That spot yielded about a gallon of MOOP. How did it get there? Nobody knows, but odds are good there was a little dancing going on.

It’s not the vehicle driver’s responsibility to control their followers’ MOOP, but it is something we can all work on as a community. If we don’t, party spots like that could cause Burning Man to fail its BLM inspection.

So mutant vehicles and those who love ’em, chime in! What can vehicles do to combat MOOP? How can roving parties Leave No Trace?

One of the best ideas we’ve heard, submitted by The Glam King:

I was out at well-loved-and-well-known-art-car-that-shall-not-be-named one morning and they did something wonderful. Between sets the DJ that was coming on stopped the music and said he wasn’t going to turn it back on until, “all the moop was picked up”. I’d like to encourage all DJ’s who play at BM to follow this ethos. Before your set, stop the music and make everyone there pick up “all the moop.” Sure some people will wonder off, but you’ll be doing wonders to help that sound camp and the rest of BM stay moop free.

Great idea, and thanks to that DJ for taking the initiative. What other tactics do mutant vehicles use to prevent MOOP, and what are some new ideas they can try? Leave your comments below, please.

About the author: The Hun

The Hun, also known as J.H. Fearless, has been blogging for Burning Man (and many other outlets) since 2005, which is also the year she joined the BRC DPW on a whim that turned out to be a ten-year commitment. Since then she's won some awards for blogging, built her own creative business, and produced some of the Burning Blog's most popular stories and series. She co-created a grant-funded art piece, "Refoliation," in 2007, and stood next to it watching the Man burn on Monday night during a full lunar eclipse. She considers that, in many ways, to have been the symbolic end of Burning Man that was. The Hun lives in Reno with DPW Shade King, Quiet Earp. You may address her as "The Hun" or "Hun". If you call her "Honey" she reserves the right to cut you.

39 thoughts on “MOOP Map Live 2012: Where are the MOOP-conscious mutant vehicles?

  • Having DMV require every mutant vehicle to carry enough MOOP buckets or containers to pick up after themselves (if they’re hosting impromptu events on the playa) would be a good start.

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  • Playa Restoration Team ROCKS!!!!! Kudos to the DJ who asked for the clean up. We were dancing to some great beats out by an art car Sat. night after the burn and definitely saw and picked up MOOP which was left by random revelers. Luckily we had my son’s bike powered art car which had a compartment to put it in because it was more than we could have comfortably carried. I think having labeled containers is a slippery slope that should be avoided because it spreads the idea that someone else will take care of my MOOP. If I know there’s some containers smattered around the city then I don’t have to be as thoughtful as I leave camp. I like what they say over at Kidsville…. Don’t be a POOP, pick up your MOOP!

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  • Just a meme: “If you want to get a ride on a mutant vehicle, ignore them (especially the most awesome ones) and pick up MOOP.”

    Or maybe the roving party barge can give preferential treatment (e.g. the best seat) to the person who collected the most MOOP.

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  • Maybe someone should submit a giant roving art car vacunm machine that gives rides to people that bring in moop and at the same time sucks in moop traps it and returns clean sand to the playa Burning Man itself could give incentives for people to create such a art car since this is in Burning Man,s best interest

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  • GREAT ideas!

    I think carrying MOOP buckets is a great reminder, as long as they’re small enough that people don’t start using them as trash cans.

    Magnetic sweepers are also a fantastic and totally feasible idea. We use them out here too. The main challenge is cleaning the magnet periodically, so it doesn’t drop MOOP as it drives over bumps.

    TimH, you’re right that having bins around tends to make people a little lazier. No two ways about that. Maybe vehicles can bring out MOOP buckets only when they’re asking people to use them, and hide ’em the rest of the time ;)

    Zhust, I like it!! I would totally do that if I had a car.

    Bernard – Amen. You have no idea how often we hear about the idea of a playa Zamboni! Maybe you can be the one to create it!

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  • DISTRIKT was awesome last year – during some of the DJ sets they had people roving about with trash bags in hand and would stop random people and ask if you liked DISTRIKT. Once you answered yes (everybody did) they would offer a trash bag and ask if you would spend a few minutes and pick up MOOP around the area for a few minutes.

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  • Art projects have to have a MOOP plan, and so do big theme camps, if I’m not mistaken? Why not adding a “what’s your MOOP plan” to the DMV requirements. If nothing else, it’d at least get more drivers/operators thinking about it..

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  • @Reef: I assume you haven’t participated in the clean-up crew of a major burn. When such a site is prepared, a special stone mix is laid down first which protects the Playa surface from melting under the heat (the burn platform). Then after the burn, the clean-up crew picks up all the nails and screws with magnetic rakes, and sweeps the perimeter around the burn platform picking up every single piece of debris. The burn platform and all that remains on it is scooped up by heavy equipment and taken off-Playa, then the area is again MOOPed with line-sweeps.

    In the end, the site and a large enclosing circle (several hundred yards around) passes the 1-square-foot-per-acre standard the BLM places on matter-out-of-place. There is stuff that gets blown around (flying embers, etc.) and that does become MOOP, I assume it passes the BLM standard across the expanse of the Playa surface, especially if the bigger pieces get picked up in the wide-area line sweeps.

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  • Mutant vehicles are not creating the moop, providing containers is just another form trash cans. If you are finding a bunch of butts, then it is the smokers that need to be gotten after. Because if they are dropping butts there, they are most likely dropping butts elsewhere… More education of what LNT truly means needs to happen… Now don’t get me started on Pissing On The Playa…

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  • OK, I’ll bite. Where the hell is the updated (as of let’s say Sept. 29 or so) MOOP Map? The one from Day Three has been out for nearly two weeks and is useless to those of us who haven’t been “colored” yet.

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  • Dawn – That is so cool! Well done DISTRIKT.

    Boom Batta’ – Oooh, I don’t know! Never heard about that. Did you go out there at all?

    dani~ – I contacted Odwally to ask about what the DMV does to help get vehicles oriented. He’s out of town but I’m interested to hear about what they are doing. Could be that’s a part of it already.

    Cat – Amen.

    Zhust, thanks for answering Reef’s question in so much detail! That’s something we’re going to talk about in a couple of days.

    durgy – You got it! I will update later today.

    Roissy – That’s exactly the point. Mutant vehicles don’t create the MOOP, but they can take action to help educate their riders.

    Matt – Sadly, not a surprise because it happens every year. No matter how many times you tell people that the desert is not a giant ashtray … le sigh.

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  • As a Mutant Vehicle owner, I don’t like the idea that it is the vehicle’s responsibility to handle other peoples moop. Where is the radical self reliance? I provide moop containers both upstairs and downstairs and I still have to clean up all sorts of stuff. I have to haul out WAY more trash than I bring in. I am also surprised when I stop the vehicle and get riders to clean up, the amount of groaning I get.
    I get frustrated with the idea that people assume I will just take all their trash. I really appreciate it when someone asks me if it is OK to take their moop. And not all the moop is bad. I did find a really cool silver bra that my wife has added to her wardrobe. I just wish I could have seen the events that led to that being left behind.
    Please help educate the mutant vehicle riders that it is not the vehicles job to look after them and not to abuse the service that is provided. I would hate to feel that I would want to restrict access because people are wearing me out with their trash.

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  • Doc Pyro — haha, I feel your pain! It takes us a while to compile all the data, so the map you’re seeing has actually only been up for a few days. I, like you, am waiting on tenterhooks for the next installation … I’ll post it as soon as I receive it.

    Bioluminescent Slug, thank you for commenting!! I’m so glad to hear from a vehicle owner. I think you are right — asking vehicles to take other people’s MOOP is just not cool. But could a MOOP education strategy be part of what you do? How would that look, or is it just unreasonable to heap that on the pile of all the things you do for the BRC community?

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  • I drive my golf cart handicapped vehicle and carry my moop stick picker upper with me. A good device to have on board. Collect what I see and carry it back to my trash. Small part but it makes driving around fun to. If I have a passenger it’s there job to keep an eye open for moop. Never return home without some junk. I just make a game out of it.

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  • As the owner and frequent driver of the fishtank, I am amazed at the amount of moop that is deposited consciously or unconsciously on the car every day….we are happy to cary extra trash bags and recepticles for all…our moop rule is to do a policing at every place we stop of the 10ft around us….

    However there is on extremely nasty moop that deserves special attention..that is the massive amount of cigarett butts we find ground into the carpet blanket or treads…each ‘enviornmentally conscious burner” actually has to make a physical effort to delibertaely throw thier butt away or grind it and abandon it….all the acidental moop is not a burdon to help clean and collect butt the butts are thus the most bothersome

    Its time that our wonderful community finds focus on this deliberate moop…at least the lost feathers look pretty

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  • Simon,
    So true…so true, playa will provide. Our group did a MOOP pick up on our road G 3:45 to G 4:00 Friday morning. Oh the treasures we found; nice necklace (which was turned over) a baggie with some nice goodies, and a nice knife (also turned over). We ended up with about two gallons of MOOP. Saturday morning we did the same thing and found yet another little plastic baggie with some nice goodies and another necklace (which was turned over). I love MOOP hunting – the treasures are there!!!

    Sgt. Pepper

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  • It never ceases to amaze me how fucking BRILLIANT our community is..I love the idea about dding moop magnets to vehicles- and the idea of moop mobiles and vaccume machines..Why the hell not? we got street sweepers in the default..I LOVE THIS IDEA!! I was just reading a blog from a spin off regional event Wasteland- they are dying to get some help from there event- as many traces were left behind- they are buried in a sea of moop apparently and thats too bad- If anyone is around this events local or is interested in helping them secure their permit as well – furthering our Burning culture and showing them HOW its DONE- they can be contacted thru facebook or personally I take huge pride in being apart of such an amazing braintrust such as ours- we are 100 % effective in asecrtaining any lil ol thing we set our minds to-and have a blast doin it! YAY US!!! The Principles kick ass everyday- After 13 years of consistant attendance to our event- I have to say that this year- barring the bike issue was to my knowledge one of the cleanest burns I have ever seen- looks like the noobz been doin their home work..Am i wrong?

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  • As to what we burn being moop, I took reef’s comment to mean that we are creating particulate matter. Which is true. On just one week a year, for a really good cause (fun and art), rather than the insidious purpose of convenience that powers so much of our excessive production of pollutants of our air…but still, we are shifting the placement of manner in a way that is harmful and “out of place”.

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  • I follow this every year and first of all want to send out a huge thanks to the restoration team, if I had the time off of work, I would love to be a part of it. Second of all I’m amazed at how much moop I see left behind, I too am a smoker but have NEVER left a butt on the playa or anywhere except back in my personal trash bag. I realize there is accidental moop but there is much more that is just done by careless people, I’ve witnessed it myself. Our camp has been around for six years and every year we are completely green on the moop map, it’s not that hard, it just takes time and commitment. On our art car we ask people when they get on to please take their moop with them when they get off. We also have a person in our camp who cannot contribute to working on the car during the year so her duties (she came up with it) is to demoop the art car everyday. I don’t think having moop buckets on art cars is a good idea as they will just become trash cans, I do like the idea of the metal magnets on the cars however.

    Thanks to all those who take care of their own and others MOOP, we need to keep it up to keep the playa our playground every year.

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  • I am a smoker and very disappointed in fellow smokers that cannot understand they make us all look bad when they MOOP up anything. I have never and will never ditch a butt in anything other than my portable(leakproof) ashtray(I use PCV pipe to make it look like a little pipebomb.) btw why isn’t the process of clearing MOOP called deMOOPing? To all those Super MOOPers out there, especially of the cigarette variety. Sit on it.

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  • Andy – That’s a great tactic, I love the idea of clearing 10 feet around your vehicle after you stop! Well done!

    You are absolutely right about CIGARETTE BUTTS. Sounds like I might need to do another post on them, eh?

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  • De-mooping as we go is a lifelong Default habit that I bring to the Playa. It just feels good in both worlds. It replaces complaining about the trash that surrounds us all in Default. I love the idea that once a year for a week, I can join 50,000 others in trash-free fun zone. Absolutely unheard of in Default.

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  • Ennie – too true. It’s technically impossible to do what we do and not create a little disturbance in the Force. Our job is to restore as much order as possible, so that once Burning Man is gone, the playa will have an easy time restoring itself.

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  • As an owner of an MV, I understand how frustrating it can be when riders leave MOOP (hats, cans, butts…) on and around our car. It ends up making me and my crew responsible for not only ensuring riders’ safety and pleasure, but also picking up after them.

    DJ commentary, spreading awareness and receptacles are great – but one thing I commend is instead of handing out swag (though some of it is precious), handing out little MOOP bags with a theme camp or MV logo/name is a great playa gift. Ya know, that gift that keeps on giving. ;)

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