Pink Monster (iceblink) wrote in burning_man,
Pink Monster

Keep it Clean on the Playa


This is especially good for newbies to think about. I know I didn't eat half of what I brought. You just aren't as hungry as normal. Please do not bring, boas, feathered anything, glitter, glitter makeup, no beads, nothing small to LiveJournal Cam.....PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! We want to prevent the need to clean up as much as possible.

The amazing thing about Burning Man is that it happens at all. How is it possible, in our consumer-driven world, that so many thousands of people can gather in one place, have fun for a week, and vanish without a trace?

The answer is simple: YOU make it possible, by clearing up every speck of the non-playa material you brought with you, and then some. Every year, hundreds of people donate their time and muscle-power to sweeping the playa clean of all human evidence. As Earth Guardians, we do this for each other, as a gesture of our commitment to the beauty of the Black Rock Desert. We also do it out of necessity ? we are guests on the land, and if we don't take care of it, we won't be invited back.

Every year Burning Man grows, and every year it seems our window for cleaning up afterward shrinks. This year, please make this simple pledge: After cleaning up all my traces, I will devote a minimum of two hours to cleaning up the Black Rock Desert. By picking up the stuff that has been left by others, drifted by the wind or simply forgotten, you can become an integral part of the greatest vanishing act ever. You will become an Earth Guardian. Experience the satisfaction of healing the world, and enjoy the reward of a clean desert.

Clean-up Plan Basics

Before we leave for the desert, we plan three things:

1) We plan to use materials for our campsite that lessen waste, and are recyclable.
2) We plan to set up camp in a way that's easy to keep clean.
3) We plan the breakdown/cleanup of our camp in detail, accounting for every scrap.

We hereby designate Kirsten Hubbard and Mark Kraft as the camp Earth Guardian(s), this person(s) will ensure that our camp stays clean before, during and after the event. She/he will also be given the task of making unexpectedly fun and spontaneous things happen in our camp, and getting help with the cleanup from fellow Earth Guardians if and when it is needed. She/he will also take part in planning our purchases and encourage us to reuse / recycle / reduce.

To minimize our impact on the Playa, we will follow these rules:

We pledge to Leave No Trace in and around our campsite, including our own and others waste. We will put time aside for the cleanup, and take all trash in sealed containers to a landfill on the way home. After cleaning our camp, everyone in our camp will devote at least two hours to the general city cleanup (e.g. trash fence, local port-o-potties, caf�, etc).

We won't light fires on bare ground, leaving scars. If we must burn, we'll use a burn plate, and we'll sweep up and haul out the ashes. No last-minute fires at our campsite. They leave a mess.

We won't dig holes or trenches, scarring the Playa.

We will keep all items tied or weighted down, and leave papers at home.

We will recycle our aluminum, and bring no glass to the Playa.

We will leave extra space in every vehicle on the way to the desert, knowing that repackaging will inevitably take up more space.

We won't put any trash into the port-o-potties or leave any trash near the potties? it's not a public trash dump, let's keep our toilets functional and our city beautiful!

We will bring the following items for our Camp's Clean-up Day (Sunday)

Flat-blade shovel

Big yellow whiskbroom

5-gallon bucket and mesh withering bag for wet kitchen scraps.

Separate containers for recyclables, burnables, and unburnables.

Rope and string for tying loose stuff down.

Small spare bags for collecting trash as we wander.

Lots on industrial strength trash bags? more than we think we'll need.

Cheap work gloves for everybody.

Long-handled sledgehammer for compacting 5-gallon buckets and driving stakes.

Altoids boxes and film canisters for smokers butts.

Directions and hours of landfills.

Helpful Tips to Include in the Camp Plan

We're taking the packaging off just about everything before we leave home. (Batteries out of their plastic, dried food out of its box, etc.) We'll lay in a supply of reusable Tupperware to transport this stuff to the playa. We shouldn't bring too much food, because we probably won't feel like cooking. This will reduce the amount of waste in our camp. It should affect the way we shop, too.

Most of the junk left on the Playa is due to three little words: Not Enough Room. One of the peculiar properties of the desert is its ability to make whatever we take out of our vehicles nearly impossible to fit back in. So, we go by this rule: leave about 8 cubic feet of extra space (2x2x2=8) in each vehicle. Think of our cleanup plan as a loading plan. We should also consider borrowing or renting a larger vehicle this year. Our goal: take away everything we brought with us and a few things we didn't know we'd have. If that means extra trash that just showed up, so be it.

Don't let it hit the ground. Keep all items that are loose tied down and secure. Keep bottles and cans in camp. Don't leave stuff lying around with the intention of cleaning up later.

If it doesn't come out of our bodies, it won't go in the potties. Trash dumped into the potties last year clogged the lines which made it much more difficult to empty and clean the potties. The hose coming out of the toilets to the pump trucks are only 3 inches in diameter ? trash cannot fit thought these lines. If folks continue to dump their trash in the potties, once again, we'll be stuck with no where to go!

The three most common items found on the trash fence are toilet paper, feathers and small pieces of plastic. In response, we should (1) try to make it to a port-o-pottie if we need to pee (or air dry), (2) Don't even think about bringing a feather boa this year, and (3) make sure loose items can't fly during the frequent wind storms we have on playa.

What we learn at Burning Man is this: change is possible. We take the lessons we've learned, including living in a waste-tree manner, home with us. It's the best possible way to recycle our trash ? turning it into good habits.

We are a society of activists, engaged in radical self expression and radical self-reliance. Ours is not a convenience society. We are aware of the waste we generate, and we take care that none of it affects the desert of our fellow citizens.

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