Green Man: Burning Man's Greening

Burning Man is trying to police itself and work on its environmental impact. I had heard that the theme was Green, but I had no idea how seriously they were taking it until I saw a large collection of initiatives on WorldChanging. Take a close look if you are going, there are some good resources here. From WorldChanging:

  • Ridesharing at A recent email update from the organizers called for “No empty passenger seats in 2007!”
  • Biobus Shuttle transport from Reno to Black Rock City and back in return for a $50 to Biofuels4Schools Campaign. If you haven’t secured your transport yet, email Seats are almost sold out so hurry!
  • Burning Man sponsored a CFL project in Gerlach (the closest town to the festival, population 500) updating all town light bulbs from incandescent to compact fluorescents.
  • Burning Man also sponsored the design and installation of a 120 kW solar array in Gerlach, Nevada and a 60 kW solar array in Lovelock, Nevada. A 30 kW solar array will be used to help power the festival and will be gifted to Gerlach after the event. This project will generate $3 million of electricity over the next 20 years at no cost to Gerlach/Lovelock residents.
  • 87% of the main festival generators will be run on B100 biodiesel (11,000 gallons) and the remaining generators (not including festival participants) will run on B10. Over 50 theme camps are using biodiesel because Burning Man negotiated with local vendors to lower entry barriers for biodiesel use.

A festival-wide composting program will manage food waste from the Café, Commissary and 50-100 theme camps. The organizers have also instituted composing in the San Francisco Burning Man office. All plastic utensils are also being replaced by corn-based products.

Comprehensive recycling program including drive-thru recycling in neighboring cities for burners to dispose of recyclables on the ride home. Proceeds raised from the recyclables will be donated to support environmental initiatives and education through the Gerlach High School.

1000 shared yellow bikes (funded by a generous burner) painted green with red flames. This gift will help create the highest per capita municipal bike use in the United States (1 bike per 35 people).

Numerous media and information events will take place during Burning Man including 3 concurrent film festivals, lecture series plus more workshops, classes, clinics and demonstrations. If you want to learn about sustainable technologies and how you can green your own life, the playa is the place for you. In fact, there are so many informational events going on during the event, that the organizers couldn’t even fit all the information on the flyer! Be sure to check out Green Man Speaks: Conversations Inspired by the Green Man Theme Symposium (Occurring over a 4 day period with 2 one hour lectures per day, this will bring together global thinkers to discuss creative, sustainable futures.) and the Green Man Film Festival including a screening of The 11th Hour.

Festivial-wide multi-media environmental baseline assessment to be published in 2008.

I’ll be there, but if you are also on the playa you won’t notice my lack of posts. To the rest of you, I’l be back in September!

Thanks Alex, who is also the newest member of the ETech program committee.

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