Well folks, this is it. Burning Man starts in two days, the Man burns in seven — and as we Playa Restoration crew members like to say, it’s just ten days to cleanup!
That’s right: While you’re preparing for the biggest, weirdest week of the year, we’re already itching to get out there and start picking up MOOP!
Why are we so excited to clean up our city? One simple reason:
When Burning Man cleans up after itself, Burning Man gets to happen again next year.
As I’ve mentioned before, our BLM permit depends on how we treat the Black Rock Desert. For 60,000 people, with camps, fires, sound systems and mutant vehicles, to vanish without a trace — well, that’s no small feat. This year, with the population of Black Rock City higher than ever, it’s even more crucial that we clean up our MOOP!
So, this final installation of The Burner’s Guide to Leaving No Trace will be a friendly reminder for you experts and a crash course for first-timers. Here’s how it all works.
MOOP: A definition
MOOP, noun – Matter Out Of Place; especially as it applies to Black Rock City and its Citizens. Can be anything: cigarette butts, bottle caps, glowsticks, fireworks, but is often disguised as debris, i.e., broken bits of wood, plastic, metal, glass and plants. Can also be a condition: burn scars, grey water, dunes, etc.
moop, verb – to pick up Matter Out Of Place.
Some of the most common MOOP includes:
- Wood chips
- Metal debris (nails, screws, slag, staples etc)
- Cigarette butts
- Oil spots, greywater stains and burn scars
- Rebar, tent stakes and ground anchors
- Pistachio shells
How to Stop MOOP
1. Don’t let it hit the ground!
That starts with not bringing MOOPy things like feather boas and plants. It also means you cut lumber over a dropcloth that you can wrap up and dump in a safe receptacle; carry a portable ashtray to hold all your butts; bring vise grips to pull out your tent stakes; and put a pan under your leaky vehicle.
2. Pick up after your neighbor.
Here’s the thing: Whether or not you dropped it, when you see it, that MOOP is yours. Congratulations!
3. Do a line sweep.
The last thing you do before you leave the playa: Everyone from your camp lines up at arm’s length from each other, then walks slowly through your camp in a straight line, looking at the ground and picking up every tiny little carpet fiber. Line sweeps work! So once you’re done, do it again, this time going a little bit outside your camp.
MOOP, Hijinks and You
Get involved at Burning Man!
The Earth Guardians have events all week long. They’ll teach you all about Leaving No Trace, help you make your own MOOP bag and more.
You are also invited to a MOOP Pub Crawl! Every year on Wednesday of the event, sometime around midday, the Playa Restoration team starts from 2:00 and Esplanade and makes their way across the city, MOOPing and, you know, stopping at every bar on the way. Find us on Esplanade, and bring a bucket or bag to carry all your treasure!
On Thursday of the Event, at 1 PM, Earth Guardians, BLM, and you (???) will be conducting an Oil Drip Survey — looking at the MOOP left by leaky cars. If you are looking to make a difference at Black Rock City this year, the Oil Drip Survey might be the volunteer project for you. Just show up a little before 1 PM at Earth Guardians in Center Camp @ 5:45 and Esplanade, and they’ll get you trained. You’ll be working in a team for the afternoon, chatting to other participants about their cars and looking at their leaks. We need help and we need you, so come on out and gift a few hours to exploring and documenting the MOOP left by leaky cars.
Last but certainly not least: Join us in just a few short weeks, right here on the Burning Blog, as we reveal the results of the world’s largest line sweep, making its way through the city block by block. Find out how your camp rates — go-go-green, pretty-good yellow, or oh-no-red — on the 2012 MOOP Map. Support the Playa Restoration team as they scrub the city clean, racing against time to gather all the MOOP before the BLM comes to inspect our site!
That’s in a few weeks. Between now and then: Go have fun, and don’t forget to moop madly.