Please vote – community garden education center needed in the Lower Ninth Ward, NOLA

Hi there,

Greetings from New Orleans, where it’s not quite hot yet, the French Quarter Fest is raging, and all around the Lower Ninth Ward, the idea of sustainability and locally-grown vegetables is sprouting up like a mess o’ collard green seedlings.

Please take a minute to read the repost below and vote for a friend of Burners Without Borders NOLA — Jenga Mwendo — to win the $5k necessary to restore the blighted cottage next to our neighborhood community garden and transform it into an education center (and storage). It’ll be your good deed for the day!

Thanks,
BWB NOLA

Jenga and Mama Patsy cleaning up the garden in the early days. That's the cottage in the background. Git 'r dun!

From Jenga:

Greetings! On behalf of the Backyard Gardener’s Network, the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association Garden Committee and the entire Lower Ninth Ward community, I ask for your help to win the Cox Conserves Heroes contest. Please go here and vote for me, Jenga Mwendo! Cox Conserves Heroes is a contest that awards an “environmental hero” $5000 to his/her charity of choice. If I win, the money will go towards renovating a blighted cottage next door to our community garden for use as a storage/education garden center. I am the only contestant representing a project in the Lower Ninth Ward, the community devastated most by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Vote Now! Spread the word! Vote as many times as you want!! Thanks!

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Evolver Spores: Give It Up — Thurs Jan 21st, New Orleans

Evolver.net and Burners without Borders present:

Evolver Spores: Give It Up

Thurs Jan 21st
Swan River Yoga Downtown
2130 Chartres St, in the Marigny
8:30-10:00

Debt-based currencies controlled by closed syndicates of private banks are not the only way that humans can make an economy. Many tribal cultures have organized themselves around an entirely different way of exchanging value: The gift. Where our financial system expertly moves resources from the many to the few, gift-based cultures like to share what they have – as writer Lewis Hyde noted, “The gift moves toward the empty place.” At a time when billions are enslaved by passionless work while inequity reaches new historic heights, we are seeing a postmodern revival of sharing and gifting, with examples ranging from the open source movement to the annual Burning Man festival.

In this Spore, we explore the abstract theory and practical dynamics of gifting, the challenges of implementing this innovative, yet archaic, way of getting what you want and wanting what you get. We invite fellow Evolvers to bring their precious gifts – whether it be witticisms or wood-carved totems to the Spore and spread them around. Local Spores can screen “Burn on the Bayou,” a mini-documentary chronicling Burners without Borders gifting efforts during seven months of relief work in the Katrina-battered Gulf Coast towns of Biloxi and Pearlington, MS. Since that time, BWB has grown into an international, grassroots organization whose projects are based on the principle of gifting.

We will have Summer Burkes as a presenter. She is a longtime worker for the Burning Man festival outside Reno, Nevada, moved to New Orleans on April Fool’s Day of last year. Anyone who toils in the hot sun for three months at a time — staying in a van / tent / trailer in a landscape so harsh it harbors no living things — to help build and strike a temporary city of 60,000 people … learns a peculiar skill set, to say the least. Inspired by her crowd’s “Do Stuff” philosophy, and interested in seeing how the things she learned at That Place In The Desert could translate into the real world, Summer chose to migrate back home to the South to see what was up in the Lower Ninth Ward and how she could help. Currently, she has started working with Burners Without Borders and the Lower Ninth Ward Village to initiate a program called “Where’s Your Neighbor?”… and they need volunteers!

Be there or be L-7.

Bring It! Join the Effort …

As our world takes a change for the better on this day, we offer you an opportunity to heed the call to participate in our mutual betterment.

A little backstory: a group of Burners, including Burners Without Borders volunteers, were invited to come and set up a booth at the 2008 Bonnaroo music festival, and naturally, their established intent was to encourage the immediacy of direct participation through personal interactions.

As part of this effort, they created a gigantic nylon banner, which displayed what was deemed the “Bring It! Pledge”. Bonnaroo attendees were invited to sign their name to this banner, committing themselves to taking an active role in making ours a better world. And you will note that some committed themselves with particular exuberance. ;-)  The pledge reads:

“I will assert myself and apply my myriad talents toward the achievement of radical self-reliance, uncompromising self-expression, immediate participation, and unlimited inclusion. Whether I do this through building community, advancing the arts, aiding disaster relief, gifting alternative energy, greening the planet, or some other means, I will be a badass from now on.”

Bring It! Banner
Bring It! Banner

Today, we invite you to sign your own name to this pledge by submitting a comment to this post. Join us in this effort.

What IS a Burner, anyway?

Here’s a word that’s been on our minds a lot lately – “Burner.”

No, that’s not sarcasm…lately, we wonder a lot about this nomenclature and how it’s applied all throughout the Burning Man community in different ways. In fact, there was a tiny flap a few weeks ago when the JRS referred to folks attending regional burns as “Burners (and wanna-be Burners)…” We meant to refer to people who hadn’t yet had the opportunity to attend a burn (either BRC, or a Regional event), but alas – it ruffled the feathers of a small group of our “I’m-happy-at-my-regional-and-I-ain’t-ever-goin’-to-Nevada” friends who took it to mean, “People who hadn’t been to Burning Man, but want to, and won’t be ‘Burners’ until they have. ” And in retrospect we could see why they’d read it that way, really. It just wasn’t what we meant.

But it got us to thinkin’…who “really” is a Burner? (more…)

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.

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London Decompression

Perhaps the latest Decompression event of the year, I have to say that attending London Decompression was quite a treat.

A long enough time has passed since we have all returned home from the playa that a good dose of Burning love was greatly appreciated. I don’t think I was alone, ask any one of the close to 600 participants what they thought and I bet you’ll hear similar words of appreciation.

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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…)