The Earth Guardians have prepared a document JUST FOR YOU! It is full of good ideas about how to keep our city clean so pass this around to your other camp mates.
LEAVE NO TRACE Planning Tips for Theme Camps
Black Rock City is like no other. It arises for one week, and then only its utter disappearance permits it to reappear the following year -- so we all need to Leave No Trace! But how do we do that? Here is a summary of the practices that the Earth Guardians have compiled to help you plan your camp so that it Leaves No Trace.
You can start by identifying an LNT leader within your camp. This person will work LNT into your planning and preparing, help set up the camp so that it doesn't blow away, help to plan your camp's cleanup and break-down ahead of time, handle the question of stinky trash, gray water disposal, what to burn and what not to burn and generally keep people feeling good about how well they are treating the playa. In many small, practical ways, these efforts will make your camp easier and more pleasant to live in.
If you're already organized for tracelessness, and have some good LNTricks, please let us know now (pre-playa) - we'd like to include you in this year's Earth Guardian LNT Tour. And either in advance, or on the playa, you can nominate your camp for the Camp of the Day Award! Yes, you can win fame and fortune right here in Black Rock City. As one of our daily winners: (1) you will be noted in the Black Rock Gazette and on the Earth Guardian Bulletin Board in Center camp, (2) you may be featured on the BM Earth Guardian LNT web pages as a model camp, and (3) you will win two tickets to Burning Man 2003!
Bring the Right Stuff, Leave The Rest Behind. Everything you bring, you have to take home. Shop smart and pack even smarter to leave behind what you don't need. Plan ahead to have a clean and well organized camp.
… Plan simple, low-dishwashing meals. Avoid bringing tons of food, and don't bring food that spoils. Experience shows you won't want to do a lot of cooking, you probably will never get around to it. Eat finger foods that do not need individual plates. Bring reusable cups, mugs and dinnerware, not styrofoam cups that will blow all over the playa. Ask visitors to your camp to BYOM (bring your own mug). If you use paper plates, save yourself a headache by scraping off the food, then stack 'em and burn 'em
… Repackage and prepare food in advance. Stock up on a few half-gallon size Tupperware containers and dispose of the cellophane, plastic wrap, excess cardboard and other cruddy packaging at home! Bring water in big reusable plastic containers and have a personal canteen. If you bring dozens of small plastic bottles, you must take every one of them home with you! Avoid bringing glass bottles. There are many good beers in cans! Check out http://www.burningman.com/preparation/event_survival/drinks.html to find some good beer for this year! Also, decant your beverage of choice into a flask. Remember that every little shard of accidentally broken glass must be picked up by hand, by someone.
… Bring containers for separating food waste, recyclables, burnables (paper and wood), and nonburnable trash. Using mesh bags to dry food waste will reduce the smell and amount of trash you generate. Take cans to recycle camp. Burn paper and wood on the public burn platforms. Use tubs or sinks to wash dishes and collect gray water. Seal the small amount of trash you have left in big plastic bags, or in five-gallon buckets with tight lids. Bring tethers, anchors, containers, and covers, to keep light stuff from blowing away. For more tips on keeping food waste and kitchen MOOP to a minimum, check out http://www.burningman.com/on_the_playa/garbage_recycling/lighter_trash.html .
How will you dispose of your gray water? An evaporation pond is a good solution - it keeps solid waste and liquid waste (like soap and fats) off the playa. The web site http://home.earthlink.net/~karinaoc/burn99/gwater.html gives instructions for making a simple evaporation pond. Some camps have even developed the technology to reuse their water. If you're in a smaller camp, with minimal dish and body-washing water, you might choose to screen your water, then disperse it on your street (helps keep dust down). Don't forget to recycle melted ice. It's great for use in showering, spray bottles, or squirt guns.
Don't bring cheap trinkets for gifts or barter. Try giving a smile, a helping hand or a joke. Thousands of these 'Gifts' end up as trash. And feather boas, or ANYTHING that sheds, is a no-no; the trash fence tells us so. You are the best gift.
Do not dig holes in the playa. Small postholes (6 inches or less in diameter) used for structural support are the sole exception. When digging such a hole it is best to use an auger or a posthole digger, NOT a shovel. Refill the hole by carefully tamping the soil back into place. Repeat this process every few inches while dampening the soil. Experience has shown that larger holes used in the past to sound-insulate generators, or for pools, easily erode within a year's time even when carefully backfilled. They leave a visible mark and create a serious safety hazard.
Don't Burn on the Unprotected Playa- Burning Man is all about burning; we've become the experts at LNT Burning. Burning directly on the alkaline playa BAKES the surface into a dark, hard brick-like material.
Use camp burn barrels or community burn platforms, or bring your own burn blanket or corrugated metal to prevent burn scars and make fire cleanup easier. Don't burn anything that is toxic -- you (or your children) will regret it later! Do not burn pvc (nasty dioxins), carpets, plastic, large pieces of furniture (couches, futons, etc.) Glass does not burn, it shatters. Please discourage anybody with a glass bottle from throwing it into a fire. They don't melt. Trust me. That's the worst place for glass bottles.
Plan your burning to include removal of ash and unburned residues after they have cooled. If you're hardcore, pick out recyclables (a magnet helps to find metal). Then bag up the rest to haul home. Be sure you clean up anything you burned on the public burn platforms. They're not dumping stations!
If you're planning on doing serious burning, be sure to check out http://www.burningman.com/preparation/event_survival/burn_scars.html
Promote LNT Neighbors Be proud of your neighborhood, work together with your neighbors to keep your part of the city clean. Every year some camps get overwhelmed and need help. The sixth and final principle of LNT practice is "be considerate of others," which in our city includes helping neighbors to leave no trace. You enjoyed many of the activities at your neighbors' camps, so consider giving back to them, look around and pitch-in to help them keep clean. Carry a MOOP bag and water as you walk around your part of the city.
Clean As You Go and Grid Your Camp at the End! Don't wait until the end of the week to pick stuff up, clean as you go. This will help you from getting overwhelmed by the mess and help keep MOOP from blowing out of reach. Then, at the end of our event, pack-up and load everything (including all trash) into your vehicles, and do a line sweep for every last bit of MOOP. Give everyone a ziplock bag, line them up along one edge of camp, look down and slowly walk to the other side. Cover your entire area looking for those last bits of MOOP - every twist tie, cigarette butt, food scrap, carpet fiber, match, nut shell, scrap of plastic, everything.
A Buried Stake Doesn't Disappear. Instead, its hazard is magnified. Even when pounded below the surface, a stake will slowly, inevitably, emerge from the playa. Then it might be found during the BLM's spring inspection, producing a black mark against permit renewal; or it might not be found until it tears a tire or gashes a foot - maybe during next year's event, maybe to a windsurfer or another group that, like us, uses the playa.
A pair of vise-grips will almost always remove a stuck stake. First clamp on the vise-grips and rotate the stake back and forth, to break the playa's grip. Then continue rotating and also pull upwards. Ask neighbors for help. As a last resort, make the stake highly visible by fastening something to it. Someone else with heftier tools will be able to get it out.
Devote Two Hours to General Cleanup in Black Rock City. Each participant is asked to contribute two hours to community cleanup before departure. This means the streets, public spaces, and open playa where stuff may have been left behind. Stop by the Earth Guardian camp on Sunday and Monday and we'll direct you to the areas of the city that need the most attention.
Please, also consider joining the apres-BRC clean-up crews. Help us get it out of here, so that we can all return again. The Bureau of Land Management, the agency that writes our Special Recreation Use permit, must agree that we've left no trace, that our site is more than just clean in appearance. They inspect sections of our city that are 100 ft by 1500 ft (150,000 sq. ft). Within each of these areas, the collected debris must fit in a 1.5-ft square, in one layer. (For most theme camps, ALL the collected MOOP would have to fit on a postcard.) In addition, at least 50% of the debris must be organic, the size of any one item can be no larger than a quarter (coin), and no pits, bumps, burn scars, or surfacing buried materials can be left behind.
Let's keep our playa clean! See the EG LNT pages for more details: