Burning Man Preparation
August 27, 2004
Burning Man Preparation
As I am preparing for the BM event, I am noticing and thinking about all of the waste that is being created by myself for this event. The amount of resources used for this event for one person for one week is phenomenal. 30 gallons of water, 30 pounds of food (non-perishable, which is not exactly the usual athletic nutrition I consume), camping supplies and materials that take up half the prep table I set up… all of these things for one person. This one person is someone that has been involved in conservation and reuse for respect of the environment, and I still am able to create a pile of cardboard and cellophane waste in my kitchen even before I depart. The myth of garbage disposal our society believes is becoming all too transparent as I prepare for this trip. I might be over packing a little, since I have had a bought of dehydration in the desert before and I do not want to have the same experience, but I am interested to see how the waste and cleanliness will be handled this week. I think the people I am staying with will be able to keep everything in check, but what about me… a first timer?
The community being established at BM is unique, for the community has a definition that is usually taken for granted in larger social contexts. The community that is about to descend upon the Black Rock Desert has a collective understanding of how to make this community run. It also knows how to make the community continue further, if it so chooses. These aspects are by no means an accident, but from rigorous, comprehensive informations given by the BM organizers. The necessity for listening to the desires of the organizer by 25,000 is through the harsh beauty of the desert. If people do not listen to how you are supposed to live, there is a very good chance you will not make it to the 7th day. The urgency does not exist in the regular domain of popular culture and society, allowing for anarchy and independent habits of living to survive. It also allows for habits of living that are not in the best interest of the popular masses to thrive and, as we see today in politics, dominate.
As I finish packing up my pickup with what the lists have told me to bring, I am anxious to see how others have adapted to these lists. But more so, I am interested to see how the adaptations promote or hinder livelihood in the desert. What we are all packing into this place for 7 days (or more) will be packed out as we have been told. The phenomenal amount of resources used for the event will be consumed, putting perspective upon how we live as a culture. Days will melt to hours, minutes and seconds, and this one person will have changed a little because of being put into a community that demands friendship, trust and common views just to survive.
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