Greetings MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! It’s time for another installment of the Burning Man 2013 MOOP Map, our faithful record of how Black Rock City upheld its commitment to Leave No Trace on the playa.
Your Playa Restoration All-Star moopers are hard at work this very moment, braving extreme weather and mounting grumpiness on the frigid, wintry Black Rock Desert. Let’s get a big hurrah for the home team!
Today, though, I have the privilege to share some stories from just a few of the theme camps that make our city so vibrant and unique. Because let’s face it: Without the massive amount of love, time, effort and cash that goes into creating each Burning Man theme camp, our city would be a very different place. What theme camps bring to Black Rock City is absolutely irreplaceable.
Not only that, but if theme camps didn’t bust their butts to Leave No Trace, we would have a LOT more trouble passing the annual BLM site inspection. Theme camps are about the biggest gifts I can imagine, so this year I’ve asked some of them to share their own stories of Leaving No Trace.
Not all of the camps you’re about to hear from scored 100% green on this year’s MOOP Map. That might lead you to believe that they are not making enough effort. As you’ll see, that’s far from the truth. Soon, we’ll talk about some of the challenges these groups face in their quest to Leave No Trace. Right now, though, we’re focusing on all the good work they do.
C from SHIFT writes:
This year we handed out bags to all of our campers and constantly had teams of people on MOOP duty. This daily effort made all the difference after most had left. Take advantage of more bodies when you have them.
Piper from DISTRIKT says:
Each day before we opened, we had a moop team of 5-6 people who cleansed the public bar & dance floor areas. Each day at sunset/as we closed, we had a moop team of 5-6 people who cleansed the public bar & dance floor areas.
We have mooping teams who come in after build to moop the public areas of camp.
Scooter from the HeeBeeGeeBee Healers writes: Our MOOP control starts before we get to the playa. After we buy our food in Reno, we unpackage as much as we can so we don’t haul trash to BRC just to haul it back out again. Once we get on playa, we lay tarps or plastic in areas that are MOOP prone (kitchen, food dryer, fuel storage, etc). During the burn, we have an infrastructure team of 4-5 people that keep camp up and running – they also perform MOOP patrols within camp on their shifts.
Rob from Robot Heart says: Within our camp, we work to stay ahead of the problem in real time. Large and well placed MOOP bins (regular and recycling), bagged and tied off at least twice a day. Campers need to take the initiative to control MOOP at all times, even when they didn’t create it, such as when other crews are working like crazy to complete builds and start leaking debris. During and following our mobile parties, our camp members move through the crowd with bags collecting MOOP where possible. We typically collect a dozen or so 95-gallon bags of MOOP, which we carry out from the playa and dispose of.
Moop Your Camp! Moop Your Camp! Moop Your Camp!
Normal from Gigsville says: Our #1 factor for improvement is a zero tolerance for camps who don’t clean up their areas. If a camp didn’t clean up their space (and we had camps just leave trash behind… one even put a full bag of trash with a rotting turkey in the car-b-que after we had shut it down to be packed), we never let them come back. Not even if they promised they’d do better.
DISTRIKT: Our MOOP meister and truck driver extraordinaire, Roscoe Biggs, oversaw our entire strike team MOOP efforts during Sunday strike of camp. We had lines of 70 people walk the grid of camp multiple times, picking up all kinds of MOOP. Roscoe and a few other people stayed through Thursday, post burn, continuing to clean up. He made a make-shift MOOP rake out of old fencing that piqued the curiosity of LNT staff apparently.
Robot Heart: Our core crew stay on the playa long into the week following the burn striving to ensure every last trace is gone from our camp area. This year we had a group of 25 or on the playa for clean up through Tuesday, and ten through Wednesday, in order to ensure our camp site was left spotless. At the end of every roving party session, we get on the mic and exhort everyone to spend 30 minutes picking up every last speck from the playa and neatly lining up the hundred or more abandoned bikes left behind. Those who have been there at the close will always see our camp founders leading this effort. No one is spared, and you can often see world-famous DJs trawling the playa in search of beer cans, cigarette butts and random moopy oddities.
HeeBeeGeeBee Healers: As we strike camp, we moop each area after a structure is taken down and packed away. Then as a final step, we create formal MOOP lines that comb our entire area in a grid fashion.
SHIFT: We spent an entire day after most everyone had left raking every square inch of camp, plus the 100′ x 150′ of playa we had on Esplanade. The best way we have found to do this is to break into groups of three. One person pulls a weighted 3 foot rake and two people follow to pick up all of the little pieces that are kicked up by the rake. It is important to overlap passes to make sure you cover every inch. With wet spots that have died out it is important to break them up, as there is always pony poop locked up in the dried mud.
DISTRIKT: I was truly astonished at the “state” of some parts of the festival, MOOP-wise. Above all, we want to be ambassadors of LNT, especially as a larger sound camp/destination on the playa. Our goal is to partner with LNT as closely as possible, in any way that might help, to diminish/lessen the MOOP.
Robot Heart: Burning Man means the world to us. The Robot Heart crew is deeply grateful and proud to be a part of the Burning Man Project. Our camp was born on the playa six years ago, and many of our camp members are 10-year plus burners. The core values and principles of Burning Man are a part of the DNA of our camp, and are integral to us as a group and as individuals. We truly strive to be guided by these values both on and off the playa.
Many of the people who attend our events are first time burners, drawn in by the music culture and perhaps somewhat unfamiliar with the principles of Burning Man. Sometimes it doesn’t occur to these guys that piling their mess neatly under an art car, or stubbing out cigarettes on the ground isn’t okay. After all, that’s kind of normal and reasonable at a music festival, right?
In our view all this means that something exciting is happening. New people are coming to Burning Man, and becoming receptive to the powerful, life-changing values upon which Burning Man is founded. It is our role as a camp, and as a broader community, to educate and guide these and other people to learn to leave no trace, and to discover the remarkable feeling of executing a major event and walking away leaving behind a pristine and undamaged environment. This is a challenge, but it is also an opportunity to promote and grow the values we hold dear.
SHIFT: To all the camp leaders; remember the life changing moments you help create for people, this is why we do it. To all the other participants; Burning Man should be built by you, for you. Get involved and participate. You are not at a hotel or theme park. Find the joy in working for your fun. It feels good.
MOOP Map Results
A big thanks to every Black Rock Citizen who chipped in this year — whether you’re part of a theme camp or not — to prevent and manage MOOP wherever it rears its dusty little head.
As I mentioned before, not all of the camps participating in this discussion were marked fully green on the map. But now you know the effort they put in. Does that change your perspective on the possible reasons why certain areas may be harder hit with MOOP? Soon, we’ll share some of these camps’ challenges and struggles. But for now, let’s have a look at the next round of results for the Burning Man 2013 MOOP Map!
REMEMBER: This is a work in progress, not the final map. Obviously.
WOW! It just gets greener and greener. Fantastic work, Black Rock City.
Can we keep up the green streak? Will the weather hold? Come back soon to find out, in the next installment of MOOP Map Live 2013.
See more photos from Playa Restoration 2013 on Flickr.