Burning Scam, Part 2

Hello dear reader(s)!

Before I continue with this conclusion of my hit piece on Burning Man (or rather, the hypocrisy of what it has become), I’d like to apologize for the lack of images I had planned to include.  You see my first flight from Alaska to Seattle left at 2:45 am.  I did not sleep before the flight, and instead hoped to sleep on it.  However, some douche canoe in the middle seat decided to stretch into my seat and could not be woken up short of a hard elbow to the face, which I’m certain the air marshal wouldn’t have appreciated.

So I did not sleep until I got home, which is when I was planning in going out to all the various trash dumps around town to show the mess these self-proclaimed environmentalists leave behind.

White dirt from the Black Rock desert left by vehicles returning.
White dirt from the Black Rock desert left by vehicles returning.
A Burning Man trash dump. The plan was to take a picture of every one of these I could find around town, but again, I was tired. The green is for trash, only the yellow is recycling. These are in almost every shopping center in the Reno area. You can tell what it is for by the white dirt near the dumpsters.
A Burning Man trash dump. The plan was to take a picture of every one of these I could find around town, but again, I was tired. The green is for trash, only the yellow is recycling. These are in almost every shopping center in the Reno area. You can tell what it is for by the white dirt near the dumpsters.

Now, I will be the first to admit that at one point in my life, I really wanted to go to Burning Man.  My reasoning for wanting to go has not changed, but Burning Man itself has.  At one point, the 10 principles in part 1 seemed to be genuinely important to both the organizers and participants.  As well, I am certain there is still a large amount of people who really do try to live up to them.  However, as with any great party, things have obviously gotten out of hand.

How out of hand?  Well, this year, the FBI decided to test surveillance techniques and technology on the festival participants.  If militia members who regularly threaten the lives of the President of the United States of America, if domestic terror groups such as the KKK or Stormfront, if black church arsonists, or police unions who claim the President started a war against police despite the number of police who have been shot being down over his Presidency can’t be investigated by the FBI; then you know that things have gotten out of hand.

The FBI have identified the biggest threat at Burning Man as the use of illegal drugs…yet for some strange reason that illegal drug use has not resulted in any murders or gang shootings.  I wonder why that could be.  If Burning Man would come out and say we support and look the other way when our participants use illegal drugs, I might have more respect for them.  I will concede that Burning Man has done a lot to prove to the world just how insane our drug war is.  However, let’s just cut the bullshit and call it a giant party already.  Okay?

The free expression, the celebration, the art…those are all lovely things as far as this writer is concerned.  But what you have now are people who come in and hire people to build them camps so they can get off a plane and party it up, before leaving their trash in the hands of hired hands to dispose of.  You have people who clear out the shelves of every store in Northern Nevada of bottled water sucked from the extreme drought of the Western US.  Water stolen from the people and made into a commodity, then resold back to them at a high profit.

I just returned from Alaska, where residents get an annual check called the Public Fund Distribution.  Do you know what this money is?  It is money that the oil companies pay out because they are stripping the resources of the state for their gain.  What has Nestlé done for California?  And these “environmentalists” buy up this water in small bottles for a desert party.  Then trash the bottles in our landfills when they return.

“But don’t those bottles get recycled?”

Of course, some do.  But too many don’t.  Also, not every part of that bottle is recyclable; and some waste management companies simply have such a glut of recyclable material, it is less expensive to dump in a landfill.

“But wouldn’t people still be buying these bottles if they were home?”

No, not really.  Many people at home use tap water.  Or reusable bottles, or even home filters.  Additionally, you simply do not need to hydrate in the same way in the middle of the Black Rock desert as you do at your home in (insert non-desert city here).

Then there is the dirt.  Northern Nevada locals know you should not go to a car wash within a few weeks of the festival’s end?  Why?  They use recycled water and all that white sand that cakes the returning vehicles’ simply overwhelms the filters on even the largest car washes.  Additionally, this dirt ends up in our storm drains and eventually streams causing more energy to be used at our water treatment facilities.

Finally, there is the carbon footprint.  There is no way that burning many things in such a spectacular fashion as does Burning Man, can really label itself as being green.  In Part 1, I linked to an article explaining that during the festival, the participants emit twice the national average of carbon.

I know this all sounds very NIMBY.  That is not the case.  It wouldn’t matter where this thing is held (there is talk of moving it to Utah?) I would still be against this festival at this size done this way.  Why?

Hypocrisy (especially from an official standpoint) bugs the shit out of me.  Don’t be in front of me driving your big, stinky motor home hauling a giant ark you will set fire to spewing black smoke with your “Think Globally, Act Locally” bumper sticker in the window.  Don’t say you are an environmentalist everywhere as you trash the surrounding areas every year.  Don’t take sink baths in the bathrooms of local coffee shops on the route back and claim to support local businesses.  Don’t buy every single solitary Chinese manufactured bike from the shelves at Wal-Mart to never be ridden again that also end up in those dumpsters and claim you are anti-consumerism.

Just fucking admit it.  You want to party.  You want to leave your executive suite at corporate headquarters and remember what it is like to live for a week or two.  Everything else means jack-shit to you, and you know it.

Do that, limit the size to about half of what it currently is, stop charging so damn much while claiming to be inclusive; and you might not draw the ire of people like myself.  Sometimes at a party, you break shit.  Admit it, own it.  Be authentic.

Here is a great piece on what Burning Man has become to many.

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

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