Theme Camps are arguably the cultural lifeblood of Burning Man. Participants gather their friends to camp together, establishing a common theme on which to base the interaction they hope to engender with the citizens of Black Rock City. As free form and wide-ranging as they can be, from the sublime to the ridiculous, Theme Camps create an ambience, a visual presence, and in some way provide a communal space or provide interactivity. As such, they are very much the cultural engine of Black Rock City.
So we went to the source and did some interviews with a (wildly broad) representative sampling of camp organizers, including Bad Idea Theater (an entertainment camp), Kidsville (for families and children), Root Society (a dance camp), Suspended Animation (a BDSM bondage camp), and the Golden Cafe (an exotic bar). We asked them a whole bunch of questions, as you have read in our prior posts, and for this final post we ask them: “How do you Leave No Trace?“.
Before we start, a little lexicon. MOOP is Matter Out Of Place, or things that don’t belong where they currently are. LNT is Leave No Trace, and Burning Man is the largest Leave No Trace event in the world.
To read more about each camp click on the link that is the name of their camp. Here are the results of that interview:
Kidsville: Kidsvillains understand the village’s responsibility to uphold the larger Black Rock City community’s commitment to Leave No Trace.
photo: Susan Becker
As articulated within Burning Man’s 10 Principles, LNT exists out of respect for the environment. The phases of incorporating LNT principles into Kidsville’s planning include education, participation, and follow-up. Bridging all of these is communication.
Education: Each year Kidsville’s Master or Mistress of MOOP, a volunteer, prepares Kidsville’s LNT Plan. A couple of months prior to the event the LNT Plan is emailed out to all of us and is also posted on the internet. It is required reading for all Kidsville families.
Participation: Each Kidsville family is expected to keep their own camp area clean of MOOP, and each Kidsville citizem is expected to take person responsibility for keeping ALL of Kidsville clean. We share ideas for ways to keep individual camping areas clean. During the event, it is not unusual to see parents organizing groups of children to participate in “walking the grid” to clean up MOOP in community areas.
Follow-up: After the event, the Kidsville Mayor and/or the M. of MOOP emails out a report to our community regarding the condition of the Kidsville area after most families have left Black Rock City. If specific camps left behind MOOP, that is reported out to the community (peer pressure is often effective!). If the LNT violations of a specific camp are particularly egregious, the Mayor may inform that family that they are not welcome as part of the Kidsville community in future years. Another part of follow-up involves reviewing and discussing (online) the Burning Man Organization’s LNT map following the event. And, as mentioned previously, we communicate, communicate, communicate regarding LNT.
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