Posts by Will Chase

August 20th, 2014  |  Filed under Afield in the World

Davos Is Burning

Is Burning Man just a big party in the desert? Is the World Economic Forum detached from reality? Or is there an opportunity brewing for our burgeoning global community to change the world for the better? Here are some interesting thoughts from Burning Blog guest contributor Taro Gold:

You can stop war.

As you read this, more than 40 wars and armed conflicts are underway around the globe. Right now. This moment.

Whatever justification people claim for these wars, the suffering they cause is universal and devastating. The war in Israel and Gaza and the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 are only the most recent examples.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. “I am only one person,” you might be thinking. “I can’t make the fighting stop by myself.”

But you can. The key is our human network.

Davos: squint a little and it looks a bit like the playa.

Davos: squint a little and it looks a bit like the playa.

That brings me to Burning Man and a surprising connection I made earlier this year with another event half a world away, the World Economic Forum (popularly known as “Davos,” for the Swiss town in which its annual congress is held).

I’m sure many of us have heard some colorful yet dismissive descriptions of Black Rock City (usually by those who’ve never joined us there) as “self-indulgent,” “insular,” even “frivolous.”

So I was fascinated this year to hear the same sort of disparaging descriptions applied to Davos. I wondered how this could be, since the two events are normally viewed as polar opposites.

When I serendipitously met up with other Burners at Davos earlier this year, it highlighted for me the commonalities of focus and activities in both movements.

Burners, sometimes described as dancing hippies in the desert, and Davos attendees, viewed as the world’s elite, have both been criticized as detached from reality, with Burning Man as a utopian fantasy lacking solutions for real-world problems, and Davos brushed off as ignoring the plight of the common man. Neither could be further from the truth.

My deepest impressions after participating in both Burning Man and Davos activities over the past few years are the open-mindedness of the people whom I befriended, the striking similarity of humanistic discussions I’ve held in both communities—on inequality issues, gender and LGBTQ rights, water issues, the climate change crisis, veganism, and Buddhism—and shared intentions to contribute our individual talents and influence for the betterment of humanity.

Photo by Scott London

Photo by Scott London

While it’s true that the origins of Burning Man and Davos are as different as the scorching summer sand of Black Rock City and the icy winter snow of Davos, there is a definite yin-and-yang quality between the two. As many of us are aware, Burning Man began in 1986 as a grassroots, organic movement, a tiny local neighborhood celebration of the solstice, which gradually grew to the event we know today with some 60,000 participants. On the other side of the world, Davos started in 1971 Europe with key leaders in government, academia, and industry.

What is most important today, however, is that both movements have grown into global networks, and in the process created community groups in which people can focus on specific issues, all aiming to improve the condition of human life on Earth.

Our beloved Burning Man movement officially aims to “lift the human spirit, address social problems, and inspire a sense of culture, community and engagement.” Similarly, the World Economic Forum focuses on its official conviction that “all issues are solvable if the relevant decision-makers are able to interact with each other.”  Although their original activities started from opposite directions (bottom up/top down), the current state of both movements is cross-pollination, bringing together those who share the founding spirit of each community across all sectors of society.

Both global communities are collections of smaller communities: Burning Man is a network of like-minded groups whose missions align, branching out to Black Rock Arts Foundation, Black Rock Solar, and Burners Without Borders. The World Economic Forum comprises 38 communities based on a stakeholder concept, including the forum of Young Global Leaders, the Gender Parity Programme, Women’s Communities, and Global Faith Leaders.

My experiences with Burning Man and Davos have convinced me that the members of both carry essentially the same spirit to foster peace, culture, and education in our respective nations and local communities.

In other words, I witnessed an active and engaged force for peace, a humanistic movement that will spread around the globe, one person at a time.

Are you “just one person”? Then you are exactly the person this movement needs now.

As we look forward to another successful Burning Man celebration, I hope we’ll consider the default world with continually wider hearts and minds, transcending all superficial differences and preconceived notions with ever-growing confidence that our intentions are shared by countless others around the world who may never have heard of Black Rock City.  Even Davos is Burning.

Read more »

August 8th, 2014  |  Filed under Participate!

Adopt a Street Sign (ASS) Project

Street signs, 2013. (Photo by Philippe Glade)

Street signs, 2013. (Photo by Philippe Glade)

Sometimes, when the citizens of Black Rock City are confronted with a challenge, they turn it into an art project. This, ladies and gentlemen, is one of those times.

The street signs that adorn every corner of BRC are not only beautiful, they’re functional. Not only are they functional, they are critical to public safety. When that ambulance is looking to find YOU, they need to know what street they’re on. SO DON’T REMOVE STREET SIGNS!

Now, despite what we say, we know it’ll happen anyway. So let’s solve this with an art project! Here’s how …

Adopt a street corner in your neighborhood, and add new, aesthetically pleasing, informative street signs of your own making! (Please don’t put stuff on the existing sign-posts, though.)

We’re calling this the Adopt a Street Sign (ASS) project, because we’re 12-years old.

Radical Self-Expression, meet Communal Effort. BOOM. Make babies.

Lastly, Leave No Trace! Make sure to MOOP the street corners at the end of the event!!

July 2nd, 2014  |  Filed under News

Burning Man Event Health Department Permits & Deadlines for 2014

If you are planning to make and give away food or drinks to the public on the playa including fresh squeezed juice, coffee with dairy, or even snow cones, you need a permit. Here’s the scoop from Ellen Kunz, Environmental Health Specialist with the Nevada State Health Divisions Public Health and Clinical Services Environmental Health Program:

“In order to fight the threat of food-borne illness on the playa, the Nevada State Health Division (NSHD) has requirements for camps preparing food including the need of a health permit and an inspection. You must apply for and be permitted as a Temporary Food Establishment by the NSHD if:

You will be cooking or serving food to large groups of more than 125 FELLOW CAMPERS of your camp on a consistent basis. (If you have a communal kitchen shared by 125 or more campers, but meals are prepared individually, or in smaller quantities than for 125 persons, a permit is not required, however we highly recommend you research and review safe food handling practices, starting with the Nevada State Division of Health information.)
You wish to share, cook or serve food or non-alcoholic beverages to the general Burning Man population (gifting food).
Here are the permit procedures and deadlines:

Complete the ‘Food Permit Application for Burning Man’ found here. (Look for the flame icon at the bottom of the page for the application and other food safety information and guidelines regarding Burning Man.)

If you have already applied for a permit, you should be receiving instructions in the mail soon.

DEADLINES:

Via Mail: We must have sufficient time to be able to process the application and send back a letter of confirmation. So they need to be received at Ellen Kunz’s office in Winnemucca no later than one week before the event – August 15, 2014.

Don’t wait until the last minute. It would be a shame to have to cancel your plans, or even risk being closed at the event. The mailing address is  NSHD – PHCS 475 West Haskell Street Suite 38, Winnemucca, NV 89445.

In Person: No later than THURSDAY AUGUST 22. 4150 Technology Way Suite 100, Carson City, NV. Phone: (775) 687-7550 or 475 West Haskell Street Suite 38 Winnemucca, NV.  Phone (775) 623-6588.

On the application, the event coordinator is ‘Burning Man’. Leave the location blank, unless you know what street and intersection you’ll be at during the event. After mailing the application and $50 USD payment, you must come and pick up your permit at Playa Info in Center Camp from Sunday August 24 through Saturday August 30 (specific hours to be determined and announced).

We do this so that we can get an accurate camp location to do inspections. We are NOT issuing new permits at Playa Info.

IMPORTANT: A number of camps last year did not complete the permit process by picking up their permit at Playa Info and receiving their inspection. Not completing the process is the same as not being permitted. Don’t be shut down. You must pick up your permit and be inspected to be in compliance.

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS: Please contact Ellen Kunz (775) 623-6588 or email her here: %20ekunz (at) health.nv.gov at ekunz here: ekunz (at) health.nv.gov.”

April 25th, 2014  |  Filed under The Ten Principles

Why Doesn’t Burning Man Take a Stand?

[This post is part of the 10 Principles blog series, an ongoing exploration of the history, philosophy and dynamics of Burning Man's 10 Principles in Black Rock City and around the world. We welcome your voice in the conversation.]

Now and again somebody tries to tempt (or badger) the Burning Man organization into taking stand on a political issue – most recently the dust-up at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada.

Why doesn’t Burning Man take a stand? The answer is simple: our principle of Radical Inclusion. “Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.”

Patriotic Man Pin, 2009 (Photo by Steven Fritz)

Patriotic Man Pin, 2009 (Photo by Steven Fritz)

While many of our staff are politically active (across the entire political spectrum, actually), we pride ourselves on facilitating and cultivating a community that welcomes all political stripes. And religious stripes. And genders. And races. And creeds. And sexual preferences. And … you get the idea.

We believe the best way for people to develop and evolve their political positions toward a better future is through interpersonal connection, sharing ideas, and engaging in informed dialog with people representing a diversity of perspectives.

Face-to-face interaction is key in this equation … which reflects another of our 10 Principles: Immediacy. “Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers standing between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.”

One of those barriers is the anonymity of the Internet. (Have you seen the quality of political dialog on the Internet lately? Right … we rest our case.)

Whether you’re in Black Rock City, involved with one of our Regionals, or just quietly living a life based on Burner values, Burning Man provides the opportunity for you to discover your authentic self, and realize the potential of your true passions. We don’t deign to tell you what to do with that potential, or where to direct your activism, or your interests, or your anger, if that’s the way you want to roll. We provide a crucible in which you — any of you— can figure that out.

We want to better the world. We ALL want to better the world — and people have vastly different visions of what that actually looks like. We’re not going to tell you what that looks like, but we can provide the space to find out for yourself.

And perhaps that is what a better world looks like.

April 1st, 2014  |  Filed under News

Larry Harvey Appears on “Between Two Ferns”

Larry Harvey & Zach Galifianakis

Larry Harvey & Zach Galifianakis

Following on his recent interview with Charlie Rose, Burning Man co-Founder Larry Harvey sat down with Zach Galifianakis on “Between Two Ferns” for a little chit chat. The result was … well, something that’s sure to go viral, as you’d imagine. You don’t want to miss this.

OK, ready? Aaaaaand ROLL ‘EM!

 

 

 

 

 

March 28th, 2014  |  Filed under Events/Happenings

Burning Man’s 8th Annual Global Leadership Conference

Global Leadership Conference!

Global Leadership Conference!

We’re hosting the 8th annual Burning Man Global Leadership Conference from April 3-6, and we’d like to invite YOU to follow along as we report out from the proceedings.

Over 300 Burning Man community leaders from around the world will gather in San Francisco to connect, share ideas and get inspired about spreading Burning Man values in their local communities — and we’ve assembled a crack team of reporters to keep you in the mix.

They’ll be covering the GLC here on the Burning Blog (tag: BMGLC14), and tweeting to @BurningManGLC … follow along there. We’ll also do our best to answer any questions you may have, too.

So yes, tune in!

February 28th, 2014  |  Filed under Afield in the World

Researching the Burning Man Diaspora

[This guest post is from Dr. Graham St John, who is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, where he is working in collaboration with Prof Dr. Francois Gauthier in the Department of Social Science researching the global Burning Man movement as a religion beyond religion. His website is www.edgecentral.net.]

Lithuanian Burner Jurgita Vanagaite, 2013 (photo by Paulius Musteikis)

Lithuanian Burner Jurgita Vanagaite on playa, 2013 (photo by Paulius Musteikis)

After my first encounter with Burning Man in 2003, I grew enthused by its global reach over the subsequent decade. This trend is reflected in the 2012 Black Rock City Census results (BRC Census 2012) in which we learn that 24% of the population of Black Rock City are reported to be non-US residents (about 10% European). There is no reason to believe that this global gravitation to the quintessential do-ocracy in the desert will abate any time soon. While this trend is fascinating in itself, of corollary interest is the stimulus that descending upon the Man is having back in the world. By 2014, pilgrimage to the world’s largest temporary city has triggered a global diaspora, with regional developments worldwide, stoked and nurtured by the Burning Man Project. Across the planet, official Regional Events (adopting the Ten Principles), as well as other event-communities, art initiatives and “transformational festivals” are being influenced, if not directly inspired, by Burning Man and its ethos. Read more »

January 20th, 2014  |  Filed under News

Make Sure You’re Still Getting the Jackrabbit Speaks!

Randall & Ra$pa at the Billion Bunny March, 2008 (photo by Scott London)

Randall & Ra$pa at the Billion Bunny March, 2008 (photo by Scott London)

Hi there!  Has it been a while since you’ve opened a Jackrabbit Speaks?  Did you miss the last few (very pretty, graphical) editions?

There could be a reason for that.  We recently changed email service providers, which may have created confusion for your email filters. Here’s what’s changed:

  1. While the JRS still comes from the email address jackrabbitspeaks here: jackrabbitspeaks (at) burningman.com, the NAME the email comes from is now “Burning Man” (for a number of years it was Will Chase –and yes, he’s still writing them).
  2. The email address the JRS is sent TO is now YOUR email address (it was bman-announce here: bman-announce (at) burningman.com).
  3. The subject line now reads “The Jackrabbit Speaks” (where it used to say [BMmanUpdate]).

So, if you didn’t receive a JRS this month, it’s possible your beloved JRS is sitting — lonely, sad, abandoned (*sniff*) — in your SPAM folder or was filtered off to God-knows-where, and you might need to update your email filters.

Apologies for the inconvenience. We look forward to continuing to serve you with our newfangled graphical JRS.

- The Jackrabbits