MOOP Map 2018: High-Resolution Environmental Accountability

Hello Black Rock City, DA here. Serving as Burning Man’s Playa Restoration Manager since 2005, it is my responsibility to ensure that the Burning Man community leaves the Black Rock Desert environment clean and beautiful and to the best of our ability — without a trace. 

Since 1999, as part of our permitting process with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Burning Man has been subjected to the annual BLM Post-Event Inspection (PEI). We are proudly the largest Leave No Trace event on public lands, and we have successfully passed this environmental standard every single time. 

The Post-Event Inspection has been passed down many times to different BLM agents to oversee and, for the most part, it has been an overwhelmingly positive and collaborative experience. However, in light of the shocking disregard for Burning Man’s 20-year environmental success in BLM’s recent Draft Environmental Impact Statement, it seems like the perfect moment to examine the environmental standards we are held to by BLM and how we hold ourselves accountable as a culture.

The environmental standard for Burning Man is measured in terms of “residual debris” and states that one month after the event, the Burning Man site must not exceed an average of one square foot of debris per acre (1ft2/ac.) during the BLM’s Post-Event Inspection. 

If successfully passing BLM’s environmental standard of 1ft2/ac. sounds impossible, that’s because it is — almost. 

Translated into percentages, this means that exceeding .002% of debris per acre on average would fail the Burning Man event. That’s basically ZERO PERCENT. Think about that. Another way of looking at it is that Burning Man must score at least a 99.998% cleanliness per acre to pass the final exam. We’re not aware of another event or operation in a National Conservation Area that is held to a similar standard.

For over 20 years, Burning Man has been held to an unprecedented environmental standard, and yet despite this nearly impossible standard, we have never failed. This is a fact. Be proud of yourselves, people of Burning Man. We are undefeated. 

In fact, in 2018, with the BLM’s “Environmental Impact Statement” looming, Burning Man was subjected to the Post-Event Inspection TWICE IN ONE DAY (surprise!) — and passed TWICE. 

These are achievements that often go unnoticed. Worse still, they have sometimes been misrepresented by the media. 

On Christmas Eve 2018, the Reno Gazette-Journal (RGJ) erroneously reported that Burning Man had failed the 2018 BLM inspection. Several similar articles were written in respected news sources before the RGJ finally corrected their own story on April 5, 2019. As of this writing, none of the other publications have published a retraction. 

Unfortunately, the damage has already been done and our Leave No Trace record has been besmirched before the general public could even comprehend our monumental victory. It’s a victory that the Burning Man community and the Playa Restoration All-Star Team have fought so hard to accomplish. 

In the words of our late founder Larry Harvey, “The Burning Man community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.”

Our Leaving No Trace principle is just the beginning, one small step toward a sustainable future. Because Burning Man is not a place. Burning Man is a culture, and we are worldwide.

For now, people of Burning Man, here is our environmental accountability in high-resolution, the 2018 MOOP Map. It’s been our game-changing Leave No Trace progress and improvement tool since 2006. 

The MOOP map is not a shaming mechanism. It’s a tool to inspire action. This is how we learn, hold ourselves accountable, and improve. This is how we made it this far. It simply would not be possible to clean up over 3,600 acres (or 156 million square feet) of the Black Rock Desert after Burning Man to less than one square foot of debris per acre if it were not for the combined Leave No Trace endeavor of all our people.

 

About the author: DA

DA

DA, wings on fire, crash-landed smack dab in the middle of Burning Man 97, ticket in hand, and never left. Three burns later, DA was adopted by the Department of Public Works' Clean-Up Crew and was awestruck at the transformative power of Leaving No Trace. DA grew to be leader, transforming the Clean-Up Crew into the Playa Restoration All-Star Team, and creating the first Moop Map in 2006 as a way to visualize the community's Leave No Trace effort. As a poster artist, DA has illustrated the launch of the Burning Man Theme for 2006 Hope and Fear: The Future, 2007 Green Man, 2008 American Dream, 2013 Cargo Cult, and 2015 Carnival of Mirrors. DA loves the Black Rock Desert and believes that if we, the community, continue to Leave No Trace, then together we can keep building and burning the world over.

54 Comments on “MOOP Map 2018: High-Resolution Environmental Accountability

  • SinglePly says:

    Congratulations DA!!! Without all the hard work done by caring and conscientious burners and the Playa Restoration Team, Burning Man would end!

    It’s amazing the amount of work your team accomplishes every year!

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  • Divya Maez says:

    Camp Journeylizm great job as always! Way to follow the 10 principles.

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  • LuxLupus says:

    “The MOOP map is not a shaming mechanism.”

    But but…where’s the fun in that?

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    • Cherry Poppins says:

      Shame is part of a blame game, to which one would not consider when they are fearless in the pursuit of what sets their soul on fire. May those whom live in shame moop their toxic emotions in a dumpster fire of no regrets. Some say it’s a form of blazing glory for all those that embrace the change.

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      • Crissa says:

        Worse, I’ve had a camp that was totally clean when we left on Monday to have a big stripe run through it on the map from a truck that broke down later.

        It happens. We just all have to do our best.

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    • Ordinary Doug says:

      Hmmmm. We would likely be the innocent victims of mob mentality…accused of an infraction we did not commit. How did we ever end up on the wrong side of the Principles???

      Our Espy Camp was mooped more thorough than our 2017 Green Rating. I mean…We were hungry for Green Pride…obsessive for the Three peat…with our 15 person Exit Team final follow up…of raking every last inch of our 3 acre real estate…already previously mooped by our weekly Moop Squads, our Sunday Tear Down 150 person sweeps, and Moop Crew Follow ups .

      We left Tuesday at Sunset…satisfied that after an entire day of mooping…and raking every last piece of property…we had left this part of the Playa, cleaner than before Burning Man began (we again found ancient rusty artifacts from camping civilizations of long ago).

      But there it is…Moop Map does not lie…a double RV-sized blotch of yellow stain…right where it should not be…a tent camping area triple washed by people camping there, Tear Down Crews, and our Elite Exit Team. And we hate it. We hate it because we did everything we agreed to succeed in our LNT to Placement…repeated our 2017 Moop Green accomplishing strategy…and then added more Green Mooping details than ever before. Truly, WE were again amazed so many of our neighbor camps…Came, Mooped, and Conquered (then left) so quickly. We wondered if we were in overkill drive…and even decided to change our Camp’s name to OCD MOOP CAMP.

      Alas, are we culprits or are we victims?? In our search for the truth…we were not given any specific answers and told by our kind Placement team that yellow does not take away our good standing. But our pride is still wounded, because…Yellow just Ain’t Green.

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  • Yes, Thank you, DA! In a year that is shaping up to be laden with externally-driven challenges (DEIP argh), its a delight to have the success of our actual, measured and recorded behaviours acknowledged.

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  • Dougie Fresh says:

    Love your accomplishments! We should all celebrate. Any chance you might want to take over ticketing?

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  • George Post says:

    Thanks for all you and your team do to further LNT!

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  • Suz says:

    Electro-Therapy Camp has again passed with a sparkling green place on the map. We were at 5:45-5:50 K-L. So proud of our campmates, most of whom share a deep passion for the Earth, our home. Thank you for posting the map, some of us have been waiting anxiously for it amidst the contract talks with the BLM.

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  • point says:

    Electro-Therapy , I must of missed you I was at the same place, a few of us were, all them left over bicycles.

    I would love to be part of the restoration team, sent a couple inquires since last November. Strange I learned to MOOP so much I adopted the road I live on.

    To bad a lot of sour apples out there who undermine a heart when in action, must be the lack of heart within themselves to miss-print or write about life’s journey and the accomplishments.

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  • Get off my lawn says:

    It is not shaming to tell force yellow and red to explain themselves, create a plan, and suffer decreased DGS and less sought-after placement. And repeat red to suffer no DGS and no placement.

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  • Jetrhro says:

    Compliments to the post event MOOP team!! Much of the damage can occur after a camp has redeployed to the world. In ’17 I was the last in our camp on Monday and poachers came in and dumped black water from their camper and spilled oil from their generator. I cleaned up after they refused, got aggressive and left. I photo documented the incident and sent a note to BMORG. Terrible to imagine that some will actually MOOP other camps!

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  • As per usual says:

    As it does almost every year, ESD 3 (Medical) at 3+C looks like hell. And don’t tell us about how hard you work: somehow the rangers right across the street manage to clean up after themselves. Please maybe just start giving one half of one shit.

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  • Bid Love says:

    THANK YOU DA! and thank you for staying positive even in light of the “fake news – bad press”… there is so much more love on the “High Road”!

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  • Big Love says:

    THANK YOU DA! and thank you for staying positive even in light of the “fake news – bad press”… there is so much more love on the “High Road”!

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  • hooty says:

    Great job everyone!

    I cannot think of a better case in point than LNT for how powerful and _viral_ leading by example, and the power of habits are!

    I brought it back to default world. My kids now pick every piece of trash they spot while hiking, their friends saw this and did the same, etc.

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  • Hector says:

    This is not what I saw while leaving the playa wednesday after the burn. I saw geo domes half deconstructed, piles of trash and large camps abandoned. It was nothing like 10+ years ago when people actually cleaned up after themselves, and even then the map was loaded with reds and yellows.

    This map is BS and meant to project an image that burners are better now than in the past. Simply not true.

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    • Crissa says:

      Some camps talk longer to disassemble than others. If they’re off working in deep playa or other camps, their own camp lingers in the dust until later.

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      • Hector says:

        With trash blowing away, and no one around, not even vehicles? I would call that abandoned. I even saw a lot of that in 07, but the map then was different and held camps accountable – even the ghetto and and camps around 5:30 (which are some of the worse offenders). But 07 was nothing like the mess that was abandoned last year. Yet the map shows that the cleanup was happy fun time.

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  • Dork magic says:

    Thanks for the endlessly hard work you resto mad man.

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  • Liquid Sunshine says:

    Let’s just ignore Big Imagination leaving an entire plane on the playa lol

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  • FuckerPants says:

    We got word from the Last peeps to leave our camp that someone or someones dump a shit ton of water or waste right a front of our camp – no way to really clean it with the last two camp members there. Sucks cause we were VERY diligent about keeping our camp clean and walked the entire site before most of us departed Early Sunday Morning – which means some unscrupulous burners Sunday or Monday left their waste on our campsite – NOT COOL ASSHOLES 4:30 and A – you can see on Hi res map yellow frontage.

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    • Inna says:

      We were camped next to you and we did it. It was because your camp wouldn’t stop using bullhorns (like 5 of them) to pretend to be funny. There were times when we couldn’t even think or hold conversations. So we decided to fuck you in the ass on the map.

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      • JolieACupcake says:

        You’re camp didn’t seriously take revenge like that, right? Because that’s a little too messed up.

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      • Inna says:

        That’s what we faced all week, JolieACupcake. It was madness. We planned for months to make our camp great and then the bullhorn people showed up. I don’t care about loud music, just stay off of the bullhorns if you have nothing to offer. There was a whole day that the camp was offering margaritas for everyone, and we thought we could form a bond with them by taking their invitation at a drink. We had our own margaritas, but okay – let’s visit our neighbors… They were shocked when we tried to take them up on their public offer: No margaritas for you!

        What’s the point of all of this? The same assholes in real life are just out there, camped next to you. Why make the effort ?

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      • Fuckerpants says:

        Inna – not sure you thinking straight we had NO BULLHORNS in our camp at all. We had the cool band that played every evening. not sure who you are thinking about but it wasn’t us!!

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      • Fuckerpants says:

        We also did not give away margaritas EVER – we had rum and vodka punch and bar was only open at night when band played.

        All of our neighbors were cool – nobody complained about anything – we try to be good neighbors.

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  • Pat says:

    Re: “Unfortunately, the damage has already been done and our Leave No Trace record has been besmirched before the general public could even comprehend our monumental victory. It’s a victory that the Burning Man community and the Playa Restoration All-Star Team have fought so hard to accomplish. ”. We feel the exact same way in a smaller scale. We plan, care, moop constantly, check, check each other, depart and get dumped on. Several years in a row. It has caused strife in our camp and we want a way to make amends with Resto because our reputation is besmearched by others and we have no recourse.

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  • Richard Pugh says:

    I can not get this to open on my laptop. What program(s) does it use to open?

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  • Stangar Bangar says:

    Last burn I had the exquisite joy of witnessing every sunrise at the trash fence. After taking in the beauty of it, I would meander back to the temple and start my day reflecting on the monumental achievement that it was. And then I would inevitably find myself at a sunrise set played by one of the many trendy DJs atop one of the many massive art cars/ rolling sound systems like Abraxis, Mayan Warrior, and best of all, Sunday’s unbelievably good set by Goldcap and Brett Love atop The Deer. And much of the time the music was unbeatable. Yet I couldn’t ignore the fact that there was an alarming amount of MOOP being shed by the gyrating dancers. So I started to pick it up as I was dancing. Soon my MOOP bag was full, so I would climb onto the art car, empty it into whatever receptacle I could find there, resume MOOPing, and quickly fill it again.

    Much has been said about the “fur and feathers” crowd at Burning Man. You know, the ones with the best, most fashionable designer costumes bought in the trendiest SF boutiques or festival vending booths. The ones considered to be like royalty in the “conscious community”. The ones who do all the best drugs and know all the illest DJs who spin the tracks that get people dancing at sunrise on the playa. And anyone who has been to one of these sunrise sets must realize how blessed we all are to share in such an amazing experience; of the 7+ billion people on Earth we have the extraordinarily good fortune to be dancing to the best DJs at sunrise on the open playa at Burning Man. I get it, you like to look good. And you do. But from what I witnessed st the sunrise sets last year, scant few of these people give a shit about Leaving No Trace. I picked up countless bits of fake fur, sequins, tassels, feathers, bindies (the little stick on jewels), fuzz shed from hair extensions, and pairs of fake eyelashes pulled off and thrown carelessly in the dust, to be ground into the desert floor by shiny platform boots. And worst of all, lollipop sticks, candy wrappers, and  cigarette butts obviously discarded without a thought. I even climbed the cars, showed the DJs how much MOOP I was picking up, and asked them to request people take 5 minutes to look around and pick up anything laying around. But instead, as the last notes where played, everyone would stand around and congratulate themselves on what an amazing set that was and how damn good they looked dancing to it, and then the behemoth art car would roll away and the people who made up the dance party would too. So to anyone who attends these epic sunrise sets in deep playa without noticing or caring how much MOOP is left behind, I say this: You are the reason Burning Man is losing its soul. You think Burning Man is just another music festival to chase big name DJs from one stage to the next. You think somehow the people who come months before the event and stay months afterward to make it possible are beneath you, and exist only to provide you with a setting to have your epic parties. You are wrong, and you suck.

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    • Hyronic says:

      >You are the reason Burning Man is losing its soul.
      The sunrise/sunset photo ops is a relatively new thing. In the past if the Sun came up or went down when you were enjoying your burn, it wasn’t an opportunity to take a picture of yourself pretending to be Zen or ghost-fucking the Sun to post to social media for likes.

      Trash and the selfie culture (no pun intended) is a new thing. This is what Burning Man has evolved into (is ‘into’ a preposition?). So don’t judge these people for being asses. They are simply, asses. They’re most people.

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  • LMAIO says:

    Oh horseshit. You’ve had many years to be “accountable,” but you’ve done nothing but leave your trash all over the place. A color coded diagram ain’t gonna cut it. Get the hell out of Nevada and trash your own state.

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  • Pizza says:

    People people people! Where is the Love! Simple….. Just always do the right thing . And we won’t have this banter and people shaming. Peace

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  • Josh says:

    Hmm apparently our camp didn’t do too well by the super strict standards of BM. But we did clean up for several hours before we left. And we had a really cool art project that we worked on for days, so I guess we put in more than we took and it doesn’t matter much.

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    • Hulxly says:

      Your art was shit, and everyone know it. Try harder.

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      • Josh says:

        Well that’s a matter of taste. Everybody told us it was cool. Point I was trying to make is that we spend several days on it so you can’t critique us for not cleaning up well enough. That’s typicial for people like you just saying our art is shit while not contributing yourself. Why didn’t you help us clean up for instance? Think about that

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    • Robert X Planet says:

      Josh, people CAN criticize your camp for “not cleaning up enough.” If you left a trace–ANY TRACE–you didn’t clean up “enough.” Please read the Ten Principles again, and if you find them too daunting, then go to a Music Festival instead, and leave Burning Man to those of us able to Leave NO Trace.

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      • Jasmin says:

        We camped next to you last year. We were constantly cleaning up after you when your trash blew into our camp. You all left Saturday night and our camp had to spend several hours pulling rebar out that you left behind. Also, your grey water was spilled everywhere. Feather everywhere also.

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  • Rascal says:

    Humans are pigs, they say what everyone wants to hear to be accepted, then they throw their trash on the neighboring camp or in the potty. Then there is the on line ticket fiasco with scalpers. I got burned big time in 2018, then again paid big time to get in. The call in system was a joke this year, used 2 phones and hit send at the moment the tickets went on sale, waited 40 minutes to be told “sold out.” Someting did not pass the sniff test. Maybe the BLM has a point, if we cannot play by our rules internally – NO MAS.

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  • Garth Elliott says:

    You figures are incorrect. One square foot of debris per acre is not the standard for failing the post inspection!

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  • Joe Mama says:

    We did good after resto comes through. We need to be better about moop. Beer cans in portos, bikes everywhere after the burn, couches, and 747’s. This is not how it should be.

    I love some good old fashioned burning man fuckery, but trashing other theme camps for being douchebags is misguided. You wont be trashing “their” land, even if they are responsible by the moop map and it fucks with their placement. That land belongs to all of us. If you must fuck with the douchebags leave the playa out of it please. Fuck with them some other way.

    Shitty vehicles are a given when you bring lots of stuff to places that destroy everything. Shitty vehicles bring special challenges, and many of ya theme-campin, dues-payin, bucket-listers aint prepared for em. Don’t worry, I was the noobie virgin comin in to ruin burning man once myself. The point is, that shitty vehicle needs to make it back to your house. If you deemed it shitty enough to take to brc, it probably wont get there and back without a fight! Bring some tools and car supplies like jumper cables, spare keys, tire shit, extra filters and all of that. Even if you suck at vehicles, one of us is gonna come and duct tape that shit box back together, so come prepared and make it easier for your savior. There ain’t no AAA or car part shops or competent mechanics where you are goin. The playa even sometimes tears up perfectly functional things. The name of the game here is to get it moving again, so “fix it once, fix it right” need not apply. The desert is life and death at times, but don’t just leave that rusty shitbox, naked mermaid with laser tits art car in Farmer John’s front yard for the duration of burning man. Or the weeks after. Flag one of us down. Or post on reddit as if you were trying to score tickets. Obviously, some extra time is gonna be needed to get that 1972 diesel box truck to the playa. Wouldn’t hurt to get to know some vehicle maintenance skills yourself either there hot-shot. It sure will make you some friends when you save someone else’s ass!

    The BLM is known for their batshit-crazy requests, but they made one I agree with.
    There should be someone checking cars on their way out to make sure there isn’t any trash in bags outside of people’s cars. Every year, sun-baked burners try to tie trash bags onto car roofs with twine and bungees. That trash makes it off playa, but no further. None of the bags of trash make it as far as i-80 and we see miles of trash on the side of 447. We know that most of ya got ALL your crap IN to the burn, you are perfectly capable to get it back out. There are also poorly secured water bottles, gas cans, and bits of RVs all over. Knock it off. Even if resto is gonna come clean, it ain’t makin us any friends in the local communities who have to watch that shitshow unfold until we eventually clear out.

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  • Be proud of yourselves, people of Burning Man. We are undefeated.

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  • Nice article, Today I just Bookmarking your websites to direct access in Future.
    Keep it up

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