MOOP Map Live, Day 4: How to Get the GREEN

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.

Photo by Phoenix Firestarter!
Photo by Phoenix Firestarter!

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!

Photo by Phoenix Firestarter!
Photo by Phoenix Firestarter!

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.

Robot Heart participants doing a line sweep after a mobile party in the open playa
Robot Heart participants doing a line sweep after a mobile party in the open playa

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.

MOOP Prevention

Shack of Sit in Snowflake Village starts by laying down tarps as MOOP-catching flooring.
Shack of Sit in Snowflake Village starts by laying down tarps as MOOP-catching flooring.
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.

Dustfish camp members carried MOOP pouches everywhere -- including while building their infrastructure -- to make prevention easier this year.
Dustfish camp members carried MOOP pouches everywhere to make prevention easier this year.

Karima and Opal from Dustfish submitted this very informative guide to reducing your plastic use at Burning Man.

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Robot Heart participants doing a line sweep after a mobile party in the open playa
Robot Heart participants doing a line sweep after a mobile party in the open playa

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!

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

REMEMBER: This is a work in progress, not the final map. Obviously.

MOOP Map Legend:

MoopMeter-2013day3GREEN: GO! GO! GO! The Line Sweep moves quickly because it’s clean. Minimal time and effort spent in this location.
YELLOW: Caution! The Line Sweep moves at a stop-and-go pace. Moderate time and effort spent in this location.
RED: Full stop. The Line Sweepers are on their hands and knees. A ton of MOOP. Extensive time and effort in this location.

Wondering what the black dots are? Those are the locations where we found larger items left behind on the playa last week: trash bags, abandoned tents, scaffolding, anything bigger than a bread box. All those items have been removed, but we do record their GPS points.

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.

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.

34 thoughts on “MOOP Map Live, Day 4: How to Get the GREEN

  • You don’t need to publish this comment. Just an FYI that the Burning Sky camp was not where it currently shows on the MOOP map, on the corner of 5:30 & Holy. I know this b/c I was camped where it shows where the Burning Sky was located. I don’t remember their exact location, but they were down Holy a block or two going towards 4:30.

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  • Hey there! Hailing from Camp Manifestation at the corner of 9:30 and F, right next to Love Potion. Just want to take responsibility for one of what looks like Love Potion’s yellow marks. Love potion and Manifestation agreed during placement to rotate camp positions 90 degrees. We each had one corner of that block. So that yellow circle in the left portion of Love Potion’s plot was actually in our plot. I’m not sure what that was. We spent hours on moop duty but clearly missed something. For which I am very sorry. It bothers me that someone had to clean up after me/us even if it is just a little yellow spot. Just don’t want Love Potion getting dinged for both of those yellow spots!

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  • That’s nice of you, Noah! I’d say, get in touch with Placement (not now, they don’t have any more info than you do — try in January) and let them know about that. Yellow spots are really not a big deal though.

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  • How many blocks did they cover?? Holy Moly! They have picked up the pace! Good Job to the Resto team! And Thank you, Thank you for all that they do!!! I’m really happy to see the massive amounts of green. We burners sure are doing something right.
    And thank you for the information from the massive theme camps, it’s always nice to get more ideas on how to better moop.

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  • I feel bad for the BLM people. May be just a little embarrassing. It looks like Pink Heart turned into Christmas Heart – green and red at Esplanade and 8:50. Does this continue the Pink Heart scandal from last year? Oops, been watching too much Ted Cruz today. Anyone want to do a Camp Ted Cruz next year?

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  • As camp Moop nazi, I’m pleased to see we were all green. We place floor tarps under our kitchen as well as under all of our shade structures. This helps contain Moop in all our public areas. However I still picked up a ton of sequins & feathers were blowing in from all over.

    I personally mooped the 7:30 & D pottie bank, so I’m glad to see that was green too.

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  • There is a black dot on our camp, about which I am very confused as there was nothing there when we left. How do I find out what it was and how do we remedy the situation?

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  • First off f I would like to thank the resto crew for all the hard work and effort they put in to bring the playa back to it’a natural state that is a monumental job and you all deserve a humongous round of applause. I belong to one of the larger sound camps at 9 and G and I was bothered to find out we got all yellow i spent 4 days combing over our area with a rake and my trusty moop stick in hand. Also on the last day I brought out a large grader i made out of a large cyclone gate which I added chicken wire and clipped it so that there were sharp tines sticking down through holes in the cyclone fence to snag all the fine hairs and feathers and dragged the entire lot.I drew the attention of the LNT team and had one member stop and ask what I was doing he appeared interested in my efforts and wanted to know how it turned out. Well here is your answer.all yellow.what piques my curiosity is how can the camps around us get green when I know for a fact that there was a tremendous amount of moop left,on one side i mooped their camp and picked up at least 50 cigarette butts.I don’t for one second believe that I got it granted we got a yellow for the dance area which is an improvement over last year but the living area also got yellow which last year got green.I know in my heart clear down to the very fibers of my soul that there was not a scrap of paper,moopy feather, splinter from the stage or empty plastic baggie on our lot.ah well it is what it is,I will stand tall in front of my fellow camp members and take responsibility for the poor grade and plan and prepare for next year where I am positive we will achieve 100% green.
    so how did those shop vacs work out?

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  • Hey Roscoe, thanks for stopping by, and thanks for all your hard work! Your name is in the blog post, you know :)

    The line sweep goes through the city block by block, recording what they find based on their location and how quickly the line moves. DISTRIKT is yellow because the line went more slowly through your block. But we all know that you have a sea of people there continuously throughout the event, and we know it must be a ton of work to clean it up. You deserve some kudos just for making it yellow, I know that takes a big effort!!

    I’d say for next year work more on prevention. Could you put down a dance floor? Could you ask participants to stop and pick up MOOP between DJ sets? Could you increase your camp members’ responsibility for daily sweeps and maintenance? Look at strategies that will take some of the work off your back at the end of the event. Prevention is the best tactic for reducing your impact.

    Love your work!!!!

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  • thank you DJ’s and Sound Camps for promoting LNT.

    you have the microphones and the kid’s attention.

    use them, teach them, bribe them…

    “I will not drop the beat until you pick up 10 pieces of Moop”…

    BURN new neural pathways in their minds.

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  • Can’t wait to see our report card. We had a lot of people at our sound camp, and they left so much behind. We were doing the 2 pieces of moop for a drink at the bar all week. Def helped keep it somewhat manageable

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  • DISTRIKT spent more hours and days more then most mooping and still got a solid yellow. How do camps get green? Is it luck that people don’t dump trash on their site after they pack up and head home? Is solid green at a dance sound camp or heavily visited esplanade camp an obtainable goal? Looking at the moop moop I’d say no.

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  • It is theoretically an attainable goal, because the Playa Restoration crew can always restore any area to green status. If we can do it, anybody can. The key is to have the time, resources, people and commitment. Obviously those are all challenging things to find. That’s part of why we’re having this conversation: to talk about the reality of Leave No Trace and how we can all do better as a community — not just leaving the theme camps to figure it out for themselves, and then getting mad when they’re not perfect.

    We know there’s going to be more MOOP on the ground at the big camps. Doesn’t mean it is impossible to get a solid, 100% green. Just REALLY HARD ;)

    I can’t say I have the answer, but there definitely are a few out there.

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  • You can’t see it on the vid link but the pace of our Moop Line (after the hokey pokey) is VERY VERY SLOW. We try to keep everyone next to each other, and we repeat the sweep 90 degrees (e.g., if that first Moop Line went east to west, the 2nd line sweeps north/south). Like The Hun says, you have to have the people and the commitment to make it happen.

    For the record, Scooter is the grand poobah of the HeeBeeGeeBee Healers. We were at 6:45 and F this year, not part of Nectar Village.

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  • How can we find out what exactly was MOOPed? We absolutely left no trace @ AOXOMOXOA yet had big yellow blemish in the middle only of our otherwise pristne green property. We suspect someone else dropped something there after all had departed

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