I wrote the Sierra story, and I'd like to respond to a few points that have been raised....
I can't speak for Sierra's editorial staff, but my sense is that the Green Man story was interesting even a year later because it wasn't an attempt at breaking news (which isn't possible with a magazine with a long lead time in any case), but instead because it was a philosophical and thus somewhat timeless exploration... With life on the planet in peril, how do we relate to celebration and art? What can we "get away with" given our moral obligations to the environment? And keep in mind that likely a very small percentage of Sierra's national audience knows jack squat about Burning Man, so while "how green was green man" is old for the eplaya crowd, it's not necessarily so crusty for the average Sierra reader.
As for alt12's representation about me:
"His attitude was "can you believe that burning man is not a green event?!? How dare they have a green theme and then burn all that fuel!"
My attitude is more accurately: By embracing a green theme, BM opened itself up to scrutiny by the community and the media. In other words, "how green is Burning Man?" wasn't a compelling question until Burning Man unfurled that banner.
Can a festival in a lifeless desert organized around burning stuff be "green"? That's a legitimate question, and one I sought to answer in the story from multiple perspectives. Given word count constraints, much was left unsaid... some of which you can find in less evolved, but lengthier versions of the piece posted to my website, http://matthewtaylor.net.
Finally, as for alt12's claim: "The only thing I agree with him on is that BM should not have a green theme (or any theme at all)." In fact, I am not anti-theme. I usually like art themes at Burning Man, and in the past they've added a lot to my experience.
Dear. Mr Humorless - Isn't it ironic that as burning man finally embraces trying to reduce its enivormental impact, your response is that "they've opened themselves up to scruinty." Thats a very legalistic way of perceiving the world, and quite frankly kind of sad. You my friend are part of the problem, not the solution (sorry, living in Berkeley and writing for the Sierra Club doesn't automatically entitle you to a smug "I'm saving the world" self-concept.) Bitching about how things are as opposed to doing something about it is part of the problem...While I find the themes at BM sometimes irritating and irrelevant I appreciate that BMORG at least has made a semblance of pushing a "lets reduce our impact" philosophy.
I guess it comes down to a harm-reduction vs. total abstinence spirit. And everyone on this planet is at their very best in harm-reduction mode so lets not point our fingers too much...