I have yet to find my way out to Burning Man, but I have a bunch of friends how are hardcore burners. A few of my friends from Renewable Choice have even built an art car for the playa- look for a giant bus sized piece of burning sage driving around and say hi to the guys for me.
This year is the dawning of the Green Man– Burning Man’s attempt to take things in a more eco direction. They are encouraging burners to offset their carbon emissions, use biofuels and renewable energy, compost their foodscrapes, and all the other greenie things you should do like recycle.
My favorite snarky blog Valleywag has a more cynical look at things (they wouldn’t be Valleywag if they didn’t)…
Ladies and gentlemen, rev up your RVs, pack your SUVs full, gas up your private jets, and start making your way to Black Rock City, the site in Nevada for Burning Man, the annual art festival and orgy of self-indulgence. The most hardcore of “burners,” as attendees call themselves, will start making their way there this weekend. And while you’re on the road, guzzling gasoline, make sure to feel really, really guilty about all the carbon you’re spewing into the atmosphere. By organizers’ own estimates, Burning Man puts 27,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the air. This year, of course, they hope to minimize the impact with a “Green Man.” Nonsense.
This chart from CoolingMan, a project to reduce emissions at the festival, tells the story. You’d think that Burning Man’s multiple fire-themed art projects, including the climactic burning of the eponymous Man, a giant wooden statue, would be major contributors. But you’d be wrong.To be sure, the generators used to power huge sound systems and other electricity-using projects and the burning of wooden structures on the site generate other pollutants besides carbon dioxide, and ought to be questioned. But the main impact of Burning Man is how people get there.
More than 90 percent of Burning Man’s CO2 comes from travel to and from the hard-to-reach site. So the obvious thing to do to reduce Burning Man’s impact is to cancel the festival altogether. Stay home, burn your art sculptures on a local beach, and play your music on stereos plugged into the more efficient local grid. Burning Man creator Larry Harvey constantly talks about how he’d like to see regional “burns” develop, and true greens would take him at his word and abandon the big burn in the desert.