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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Cooling of Burning Man 

Efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the Burning Man festival, Nevada, USA, have been steadily growing. The goal is to make Black Rock City the first carbon neutral city on the planet. It is estimated that the carbon footprint of Burning Man is 27,000 tons, nearly all of which originates from travel to the festival.

Ridesharing to Burning Man has become a major goal and the organizers have called for "No empty passenger seats in 2007!". There is also a Biobus Shuttle transport from Reno to Black Rock City and back, powered by biodiesel.

A festival-wide composting program will manage all food waste and 1000 shared yellow bikes (funded by a generous burner) will help create the highest per capita municipal bike use in the United States. But the environmental friendliness of the festival extends way outside the boundaries of time and space. Amongst other initiatives, Burning Man has sponsored a project in Gerlach (the closest town to the festival, population 500), updating all light bulbs in the town from incandescent to energy-saving, compact fluorescent lights.

Burning Man has also sponsored the design and installation of a 120 kW solar array in Gerlach, Nevada together with a 60 kW solar array in Lovelock, Nevada. A 30 kW solar array will be used to help power the festival and the array will then be gifted to Gerlach after the event. Calculations indicate that the project will generate $3 million of electricity over the next 20 years, at no cost to Gerlach/Lovelock residents.

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