Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

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apprehensive
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Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by apprehensive » Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:32 am

This was a question that was raised in another thread relating to the issue of transportation, however, I have now posted it here as it seems to merit its own dedicated thread.

I was in particular wondering to what extent increased air traffic squares with Burning Man's commitment towards the environment? Particularly, with a rise in the number of VIPs and so on that frequent the event, the greater will be the corresponding demand for flights and also, albeit a lesser consideration, more SUVs that will be needed to ferry people to and from the airport. Adding more air traffic is simply going to push the pollution footprint in entirely the wrong direction. One could take the view that on any rational analysis, it's more environmentally friendly to simply not attend, but that misses the point a little.

Burning Man is not presently a green event, not by a long shot, but it does aspire to be. And there have been plenty of statements to that effect from the organisers. Environmental responsibility is even a central component of the Leave No Trace principle. "Leaving No Trace is arguably Burning Man’s most important principle. If we don’t uphold that one, no more Black Rock City. But Leaving No Trace is not just about the playa; it’s our ethic about the whole planet. Burners are environmentalists. It’s just our nature." There's no reason that the event could be a lot more environmentally friendly than it is presently, but particularly so on the transportation front, which accounts for around 70 to 80 per cent of pollution, at least based on the figures I've read.

The vast majority of material that I've read indicates that cars, even heavily laden one, emit less CO2 that do planes. When you carpool, that car's emissions are obviously even less and divided between the number of passengers. http://environment.about.com/od/greenli ... _drive.htm There is also the critical point that it's not just emissions that make flying so polluting, its where the pollution is emitted which is in a part of the atmosphere that magnifies their impact considerably. CO2 emitted at altitude has a greater effect on climate change than does the same amount at ground level. Additionally, there is the issue of contrails, which have a radiating force that contributes significantly to global warming. Jeff Gazzard recommends multiplying a plane’s CO2 emissions by a factor of 2.7 to take into account the effects of other non-carbon emissions, such as contrails, in order to find the overall environmental impact of the flight. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... p-worrying I'd be interested in the typical length of journey that planes for Burning Man are chartered for. The likes of turboprops are more efficient than jets, it's important to remember that the shorter the journey the less fuel efficient a plane will be given that more fuel is used for taking of and landing.

Encouraging more flights into the event will only push the Burning Man pollution footprint it in the wrong direction. Maybe it's doomed in this respect, and others, and we may as well not bother, but that's a defeatist attitude and well should at least be trying to steer it in a more sustainable direction.

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Bless
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by Bless » Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:19 am

No, I think you've missed the point a little. It's called Burning Man. It's not some hippie environmental festival. If this concerns you, don't attend, stay off the grid that week, plant some trees.

Also, this topic has been discussed ad nauseam. It does not merit it's own thread.
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apprehensive
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by apprehensive » Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:34 am

I've read other threads discussing this, but the problem is that many seem to be little more than deliberate trolling which somewhat impedes constructive discussion.

The event has to be located in a remote area with little flora or fauna by necessity, I get that. All I am saying is that it would be a good thing to try and reduce its environmental impact, much of which is related to the transport element.

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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by some seeing eye » Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:50 am

You should start with

http://www.coolingman.org/learn_more/bu ... mpact.html

I think you will find that the Burning Man Intergalactic Spaceport itself and "VIP's" are not the main carbon impact. It is people flying across country or from other countries. I would wager that most of BM "VIPs" are from California today.

From a BORG strategy standpoint in the long term, regionals help, but it will be some time before long distance airline participants in the Nevada August regional decline.

You could take on the project to update the carbon data with sources like http://www.ktvn.com/story/26350480/airp ... n-visitors, the census, counting vehicle types from the satellite photo when it is released, and data from the BORG itself. You could also look at the breakdown of fossil fuel burned vs carbon-neutral burns like biodiesel and wood. On-playa interviews including of fly-in participants would be a great source. Do a generator size and type census.

BTW any playa airport to camps is not by SUV.
Last edited by some seeing eye on Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Simon of the Playa
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by Simon of the Playa » Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:51 am

IT NEEDS MORE FUCKING DIESEL.




seriously...


more propane too.
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some seeing eye
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by some seeing eye » Thu Oct 08, 2015 8:05 am

A lot of propane comes out of natural gas wells. There is more with more natural gas. A few years back it was exempted from the export ban. There are projects to build propane export terminals.

Unfortunately residential propane prices have more than doubled since 2000 while natural gas prices peaked in 2008 and are about 1/4 of peak.

Nothing to do with BM though.
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apprehensive
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by apprehensive » Thu Oct 08, 2015 8:38 am

I'd be interested to work out the relative pollution footprint per person for someone flying into the event from California rather than driving, say sharing the car with two other people. You're right though, that it's people flying long haul that constitutes the lion's share of the air pollution, though there's no real way around that for people living in other countries.

The likes of the Burner Express is definitely a step in the right direction. Tariffs for flights into the event and maybe somehow incentivising people to carpool would also work.

Cooling Man suggests participants offsetting their carbon. Offsetting, even through a reputable company, is an imperfect arrange, but would help. The organisers themselves perhaps ought to be making more effort to offset some of the carbon too, I think.

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Simon of the Playa
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by Simon of the Playa » Thu Oct 08, 2015 8:51 am

deadunicorn.jpg
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by ygmir » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:01 am

Simon of the Playa wrote:
deadunicorn.jpg

testify
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apprehensive
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by apprehensive » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:06 am

Uncalled for. The unicorn hurt no one.

As an aside, does one "flog" a unicorn? A horse, yes, but a unicorn?

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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by maladroit » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:01 am

People take thousands of gallons of fossil fuels out there and just directly burn it in open air, for fun.

There are lots of other places to go for a low-impact camping trip, this is a temporary city that is not sustainable (which is why it only lasts for a week). It's about as environmentally friendly as a Brazilian logging company.

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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by Jackass » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:08 am

maladroit wrote: It's about as environmentally friendly as a Brazilian logging company.

Or a Guatemalan mining company...
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by Lonesomebri » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:26 am

Off playa I'm taking a shower every night, driving around town, leaving lights on when no one is home. On playa, not so much.
While out there I try to burn as much shit as possible, but off playa, in the default, I am constantly racked with guilt. That's some sort of off-set. We all do what we can.
Not using fuel and resources is not the goal of Burning Man, no more so than a trip to the beach is all about conservation.
Just as a vacation to Black Rock City is not going to change some entitled douche into a giving loving citizen of the community anymore than would a trip to Maui...

The solution, discussed elsewhere, is to get the train up and running and the bus routes thru BRC established.

And, hey, when I set out to enjoy my day by asking the LEO checking out the Temple why they had left their SUV running and that I was paying for that shit, they informed me that if they turned off the AC and engine, their on-board computer would go down.

Some casino should put in a row of solar powered slots and market themselves as environmentally friendly.
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apprehensive
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by apprehensive » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:33 am

The problem, as I see is it, is that the event is already coming under fire from various quarters for being environmentally irresponsible. Should Burning Man wish to continue in its present form, I think it will need to some extent embrace and encourage more environmentally friendly practices. The essence of Burning Man isn't the travel aspect, it's the burning and exploding and neon, all of which don't figure meaningfully in the overall pollution footprint. Travel represents the lion's share of the problem and is, in the grand scheme, a relatively mundane aspect to the event, the negative components of which could at least be mitigated with some fairly straightforward measures, both on the part of participants and as well as BMORG. The organisers must be the ones to take the lead on this though, or it won't work.

Can I ask why people feel it's an inherently environmentally unfriendly event which is beyond fixing? The statistics would appear to suggest otherwise.

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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by some seeing eye » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:34 am

Lonesomebri wrote:when I set out to enjoy my day by asking the LEO checking out the Temple why they had left their SUV running and that I was paying for that shit, they informed me that if they turned off the AC and engine, their on-board computer would go down.
!!!?

http://www.icao.int/ is the authority on air travel carbon impact. Biofuel works in jets, but it is not quite ready for prime time.
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by AntiM » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:49 am

When MyLarry and I go on a vacation, we fly somewhere and then drive around a lot, or we taking a touring vacation, where we drive to a destination, then drive around a lot. For Burning Man, we put two extra people in our pickup truck, drive to the playa, park for the week and then drive home. Actually is much greener than our average holiday.

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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by Jackass » Thu Oct 08, 2015 12:17 pm

During my meager 800 mile round trip to BM, I go green. I averaged 66 miles per day spent including driving days (12), I can drive that much or more here at home per day most days. For twelve days my AC was mostly off, my lights were off (except one 14 watt), no water was used or well pump, no natural gas, no machinery/equipment, no shop lights, fans, computers- all off. Just the gas I put in the tank and whatever it took to charge two group 27 deep cycle batteries. My footprint is less when I'm at BM then just milling around here. This may apply to more than half of California/Nevada participants. I feel green! I even use real organic water ice in order to further reduce emissions!

These figures are for me alone this year, add a person or two (which I had the capacity for) and the carbon savings go crazy...
Last edited by Jackass on Thu Oct 08, 2015 12:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by JohnEBGud » Thu Oct 08, 2015 12:21 pm

apprehensive wrote:As an aside, does one "flog" a unicorn? A horse, yes, but a unicorn?
One does not "flog" anything with a baseball bat.
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apprehensive
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by apprehensive » Thu Oct 08, 2015 12:35 pm

"Whack"?

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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by apprehensive » Thu Oct 08, 2015 1:13 pm

"Whoop"?

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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by gaminwench » Thu Oct 08, 2015 1:17 pm

Beat.
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apprehensive
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by apprehensive » Thu Oct 08, 2015 1:19 pm

"Anally violate"? Assuming a unicorn even has an anus as we know it.

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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by maladroit » Thu Oct 08, 2015 1:30 pm

So edgy and cool.

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Re: Blather blather blather.

Post by Simon of the Playa » Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:07 pm

"apprehensive"
The problem, as I see it

actually, that IS the problem.

this thread is more masturbatory than most.

and redundant.

good day sir.

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apprehensive
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by apprehensive » Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:21 pm

Are you saying there is no problem? That there is a problem, but it's one that's difficult to address? Or that it's simply not worth addressing?

Still, should you feel compelled to flounce, at least you're doing it with Gene Wilder style, so you're forgiven.

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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by forty_eight » Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:58 pm

in the spirit of doacracy, address it however you like.

it's the only way

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Simon of the Playa
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by Simon of the Playa » Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:11 pm

in all seriousness.


give it up, accept your doom,


or sit down, shut up, and help us get to mars.


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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:19 pm

apprehensive wrote: Burners are environmentalists. It’s just our nature.
Bullshit.
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by EspressoDude » Thu Oct 08, 2015 8:47 pm

but we are polluting the universe by creating and posting these ridiculously inane discussions and beaming them about with the photons emitted by LCD displays. true burners would not do this..... It would be written in fire
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Re: Burning Man and environmental impact of travelling there

Post by ygmir » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:12 pm

Frankencamper gets about 7 mpg.
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