Preparation, Social Capital, Northern Nevada and You

[This post was written by long-time Reno resident and Burner Nathan Aaron Heller, who works closely with Northern Nevada businesses on behalf of Burning Man.]

Gerlach’s new town sign, painted by Gary Mann.

On your way to and from Burning Man, whether you are traveling by auto, air or both, you will make your way through Black Rock City’s neighboring communities.

A store advertises its Burning Man-ready wares. Photo CC-BY Jennifer Morrow.

And while you’re there, most of you will spend money on supplies (of course, the seasoned among you know that doing so saves money and hassle). Did you know that your impact on local economies is HUGE? In fact, Burning Man estimates that in 2011 participants spent over $15 million in Northern Nevada, a region especially hard-hit by the ongoing recession. Many local businesses will tell you that Burning Man season is even bigger than Christmas. Pretty amazing, really.

Social Capital

The Burning Man experience has inspired many of us to take a serious look at our financial choices and relationships, including the effects of our economic decisions, directing our money towards resources and businesses that align with our values. By doing so, we invest in social capital. And because of Burning Man’s influence, many local businesses are giving additional attention to social capital and how it impacts the way they do business.

Reverend Billy preaches against big box stores and overconsumption at the Church of Stop Shopping. Photo CC-BY Steven Rosenbaum.

A good example of this is the businesses that participate in the Exodus Trash and Recycling Network (EXTRA), now in its sixth year.  EXTRA is a collective of local businesses in the region who provide trash and recycling services 24/7 to Burners after the event.  The funds raised go back into the community — each of the participating businesses donates funds and materials to local charitable causes, such as Black Rock Solar.


Your Dollars Count

Nevada Burners photoshoot in Black Rock City, 2011. Photo by Pete Slingland.

As you make your travel and shopping plans in the weeks ahead, use the Reno and other Travel Information Pages in the Preparation section of the Burning Man website as a reference.  There you will find very detailed information about our neighboring towns, local businesses that invest in social capital, and Burner-friendly resources to be found on your way to and from Black Rock City.

By doing your homework and supporting these types of businesses, you’re supporting both our neighbors and Burning Man’s mission (and you’re likely to get some pretty awesome goods and services to boot).  

Safe travels!

About the author: The Hun

The Hun

The Hun, also known as J.H. Fearless, has been blogging for Burning Man (and many other outlets) since 2005, which is also the year she joined the BRC DPW on a whim that turned out to be a ten-year commitment. Since then she's won some awards for blogging, built her own creative business, and produced some of the Burning Blog's most popular stories and series. She co-created a grant-funded art piece, "Refoliation," in 2007, and stood next to it watching the Man burn on Monday night during a full lunar eclipse. She considers that, in many ways, to have been the symbolic end of Burning Man that was. The Hun lives in Reno with DPW Shade King, Quiet Earp. You may address her as "The Hun" or "Hun". If you call her "Honey" she reserves the right to cut you.

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