Reno Recycling Round-up

Red Eye Diner, 2008; image by Nightshade
Red Eye Diner, 2008; image by Nightshade

If you dropped off your Burning Man recycling at one of the free 24-hour drop off centers in Reno-Sparks, perhaps you’re wondering what happened to your cans and bottles? Here is a summary of the free drive-thru recycling project operated by Save Mart in the Reno~Sparks area for burners during and following the week of Burning Man.

The total amount of recyclable materials dropped off in ’08 was about three times larger than in 2007.


2008 Regional Leadership Summit

Back in February we hosted a not-so-little event at Burning Man HQ in San Francisco called the Regional Leadership Summit.

2008 is the second year we have hosted the Summit, geared towards Regional Contacts and other community leaders. It provides an opportunity for Regional Contacts from around the world to get together face to face to share ideas, attend work shops and trainings, ask questions and spend some quality time in person with their fellow cohorts and colleagues from around the globe.


Here’s the list of what we did this year..

Word’s come back that folks don’t feel like there’s anyplace to list all the things that happened regarding the Green Man theme this year, so here’s a partial list–please email environment at burning man dot com with omissions, and we’ll add em in!

Pre-Event Staff Operations/Education:

Staff field trip to Solar Living Institute
Our first ever field trip, we took 25 staff to learn about solar power, permaculture, composting, etc.

Brown bag lunch lecture series
A total of five conversations held at the office, on a variety of environmental topics. The goal was to raise overall awareness while giving staff a common language for understanding some of the issues we’d be dealing with. The last of them, a debate between Jim Mason and Dr. David Shearer over carbon offsets, was attended by 40+ people.

Recycle Your Life Day
Two week long in-office swaps of clothing, furniture etc. Kept items out of the landfill, and sent a lot of material to Goodwill.

Pre-Event Participant Education:

Green Working Group
Established open forum for any participant to suggest changes, initiate projects, meeting every other week at the office. Produced dozens of ideas, large and small, that were acted on/implemented.

Green House
Wonderful event in conjunction with Open House/Volunteer Day. Sparked a lot of energy—almost like people looked around and said “wow, I had no idea there were so many people like me!” Dozens of displays, educational tools, workshops, fashion show, music–you name it, we had it going on.

Environmental Section of
Built extensive Environmental Section of the web site, chock full of great information.

Ranked as #3 overall most viewed page on Burning Man website. More than 70 posts covering a wide range of topics.

Green BRC Stickers
An inexpensive hack on the familiar black BRC ovals of years past, we gave out more that 5,000—amazing to see them proliferate.

Revised questionnaires
Theme Camp, Art, and DMV questionnaires revised to capture alt energy/environmental planning information.

Event-based education

Green Guide
We created a separate “Green Map and Guide,” an 11×17 two sided map and index of events, installations, and educational happenings.

Green Man Speaks
A week-long series of conversations inspired by the Green Man theme, held at Otter Oasis.

Large Scale Art Camp Networking
We worked with LSSACs to connect them to vendors for access to biodiesel generators, and to network their power grids–reducing cost, reducing pollution, building awareness, and fostering community.

Earth Rise Film Fest
A first-time participant organized a film festival at Entheon Village. Over 200 films were to be screened throughout the event, included DiCaprio’s “11th Hour.”

Built and installed four three sided kiosks to display civic information throughout the city, with a focus on the theme. They were built outside the ranger outposts, and in the 4:30/7:30 plaza. Lit by solar power, they provided 24-hour info and maps, as well as event listings and MOOP maps (another first).


Can ‘Burning Man’ Become a Model for Green Living?

Green Man
Green Man

from Alternet:
Can ‘Burning Man’ Become a Model for Green Living?
By Matthew Taylor, PeacePower Magazine. Posted October 23, 2007.

Can 45,000 people journey vast distances to a lifeless Nevada desert and participate in an environmentally sustainable festival devoted to burning stuff? As strange as it sounds, during the last week of August 2007, the annual hedonistic celebration Burning Man attempted to do just that: go ‘green.’

What has Burning Man done to merit its theme, The Green Man? Is Burning Man making serious efforts to green itself, or is it all a front, a form of greenwashing? How will the Burning Man experience affect burners, and will they bring it home into their lives? What does the Green Man art theme say about the state of civilization and its trajectory? It was in search of answers to these questions and others unimagined that the author trekked to the playa this year.

A certain segment of the Burning Man community has long made respect for the environment a high priority. For years, event organizers have promoted a “leave no trace” ethic and encouraged all participants to scour campsites down to the tiniest scraps.

The under-appreciated Earth Guardians work year-round to keep the playa clean and tidy, and ensure that “burn scars” don’t deface the desert. Burners Without Borders, a group of volunteers vowing to “bring it home,” journeyed to the Hurricane Katrina destruction zone in 2005 to provide an estimated one million dollars worth of free home demolitions to help property owners clear away wreckage from the disaster. Last year, the same group salvaged six semi trucks full of reclaimed wood from the festival and donated it to Habitat for Humanity. (This year, a Burning Man spokesperson says it was even more).

But in the past few years, participants have demanded a much higher level of environmental responsibility. Just keeping the desert free from “MOOP” (matter out of place) was not enough. (more…)

Rumor control: free charging station?

This email just in from a reader getting in touch via environment(at)


Somebody at [name of very cool company in Hopland] is spreading a rumour that the Project will provide a solar charging station on the playa this year. Is it true? If so, where can we get more information?

Thanks much,

Hey Trevor-

The answer is no. And yes. Isn’t the playa great?

The Burning Man Project ( or ORG ) isn’t providing solar power. That said, I do know of at least two places on the playa where there will be some kind or another of solar charging stations. One will be at the Green Man Pavilion ( quite small, think iPods and camera batteries ) and the other somewhere on the open playa. No more details at this time ( if you know more, let me know ) but as always: radical self reliance. Would be a shame to see people lining up to recharge because they hadn’t planned ahead. Thanks for writing, hope that helps!

-Tom Price

Environmental Manager

Burning Man 2007