In July 2019, Burning Man Project published our 10-year Environmental Sustainability Roadmap.
Across our events, properties, and operations, by 2030 our goals are to:
- Handle waste ecologically
- Be ecologically regenerative
- Be carbon negative
These goals are in line with what we all need to do to ensure that Earth is a viable ecosystem. We believe that the global Burning Man community has a pivotal role to play. Like the communal effort model of Black Rock City itself, achieving these goals will require collaboration between all of us — Burners around the world, Burning Man Project, and Black Rock City participants.
Working Towards These Goals
Prior and existing projects such as DA’s MOOPATHON, the IDEATE compost program, MOOP the Lake, and the Gerlach recycling and compost project can scale to ensure we handle all waste ecologically. In Northern Nevada, we will make the Gerlach recycling and compost program year round by spring 2022. In Black Rock City, our waste characterization study will help us create data-driven initiatives to divert materials away from landfills.
The path toward making our city and culture ecologically regenerative is clear: focus on the permaculture, sustainability summits, and ecosystem restorations being done by Burners Without Borders (BWB), and do similar work in our daily lives. The submissions to the Fly Ranch LAGI 2020 design challenge demonstrate that the ideas and infrastructure needed to solve the climate crisis are within reach.
Organizations such as Climeworks and Project Vesta can offset emissions as we migrate off fossil fuels and develop carbon dioxide removal methods. Looking to the future, we aim to drawdown at least 54,000 metric tons of CO2 — the same amount that we release in Black Rock City in a typical year.
Decentralized and Open Source
Our sustainability work is an open-source project that anyone can contribute to and replicate. Teams and initiatives that are helping to drive this work include:
Black Rock City
- The Black Rock City Sustainability Team (sTeam) tracks and guides work towards the three goals laid out in the 10-year Environmental Sustainability Roadmap. Sub-teams and workgroups are working on projects related to reducing fuel use on playa by 20% in the next three years, managing our emissions inventory, and managing our waste stream assessments and our waste goal progress.
- The BRC Placement team will consider sustainability efforts and resource-sharing by camps as part of camp placement as they develop the Black Rock City layout.
- We are looking at new ways to support and amplify sustainability-oriented camps who contribute knowledge and infrastructure to Black Rock City.
- In 2022, we will use solar power to take the Black Rock City Man Base off of fossil fuels.
- The 360 Acres, a Burning Man Project-owned property in Gerlach, will be home to an expanded storage program for participants to reduce their transportation emissions. Part of the future vision for the 360 is for it to be the site of a planned large solar array that we are currently doing a feasibility study for. Eventually, we will use solar power from the array to provide renewable sources of energy to replace the diesel generators currently powering lots of BRC’s infrastructure grid and serving camps and art projects.
- In summer 2021, the 360 and other properties hosted TrailBLAZE, a series of focus groups to unite around sustainable development. That program will continue in 2022.
- Green Tree Nevada Properties LLC, a new entity owned by Burning Man Project to foster inclusive and sustainable growth in Northern Nevada, supports compost, solar and regenerative efforts in Gerlach and on other Burning Man properties.
- Government Affairs coordinates sustainability-related conversations and initiatives with our agency partners, and has led efforts like our 2019 Environmental Impact Statement and Ormat geothermal response.
- Nevada Operations will make Dog Ranch the first 100% solar powered Burning Man Project property.
- In 2021, Fly Ranch had 50-250 people on site every week from April – October for a range of sustainability and stewardship projects and is close to a continuous, regenerative burn.
Research & Development
- Black Rock Labs incubates scalable, sustainable technology and lends their expertise.
- A Climate Change Adaptation initiative addresses heat, smoke, fire, drought and the playa.
- Burning Man Hive is a space for the community to connect around sustainability topics.
- Ecosystem Activation has hosted nine sustainability calls watched by tens of thousands of people.
- Green Theme Camp Community convenes camp-level sustainability efforts and has started a camp certification program. New groups have been seeded from this community.
- Burning Man Project’s Philosophical Center has produced two podcasts on sustainability.
- The Regional Events Committee shares information and engages with Regional Events.
- Renewables for Artists Team trains and supports sustainability and Solar 101 for artists.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for the sustainability newsletter for updates and events. To support our sustainability efforts, visit donate.burningman.org or email email@example.com to learn more. Check out our 2020 update, 2021 update, 2022 update, and sustainability community calls.