Practice Caring … LNT

Garbage. Or, as burners call it, MOOP. Matter Out Of Place. It’s everywhere. It’s on the street, in the ocean… in your pocket?

Leave No Trace.

It’s one of the 10 Principles of Burning Man. “Our 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.”

Isn’t that basic human decency? Not always. But for burners, it’s usually the case. We have little pocket ashtrays for our butts, always crush our recycling (like big water jugs or yogurt containers), burnbarreland of course crush our cans before putting them in the returnables bin.

We are also super anal about separating the rest – down to the tiniest scrap of paper and wood into the burnable bin instead of the garbage.

  And then… we burn it.

And any piece of moop we find at Otherworld, or at Burning Man, we pick up and stick it into a pocket. Either our belt pocket, or a bag attached to our belt, or perhaps even in our pants – it’s the moop pocket. Reserved for other people’s moop.

Now, I’ll admit, I don’t pick up every piece of garbage and cigarette butt on my way to work through downtown Victoria – gross. But, wouldn’t it be incredible if there was nothing to pick up? It’s pretty clean here, I have seen much worse, but we all could be doing a little better… I don’t use my burner ashtray outside of events when I’m smoking a dirty Djarum… and sometimes I throw garbage out my car window. Just kidding about that last one. We’re not all perfect. But we can practice. Practice Caring. If everyone gave a shit about putting their cigarette butts into the garbage can after they are out, my walk to work would be a lot cleaner.


image-7Anyway… A few of us practiced caring last weekend, at the LNT Beach Ball! We met at Gonzales Beach, and image-10cleaned up even the smallest pieces of moop, of which there were lots! Tiny, tiny, tiny pieces of plastic that were thankfully bright blue! and green! and I think there was even a purple!! We found pieces of glass that could have stepped on, and a bunch of jellyfish (represent!!) that we pushed back into the sea. There were a few scary pieces of moop… there always are, and some fun pieces, too! Neat what the earth rejects. It was super fun and a great way to meet up and talk about LNT education (and maybe even a little performance art…) for the masses.image-6

We enjoyed a bit of frisbee and ate some quiche and cream pie, and did a great thing for our community (drink!) and the greater community we reside in. We met some new friends, and got lots of sun and… yep, had a ball. Only, we didn’t provide the ball! And, when it was mooped by the wind, the guy who brought it to the beach went out after it. He cared.

I participate in LNT for many reasons. I like order and cleanliness. But, I also like re-using and upcycling and making stuff out of pieces no one else may know what to do with. Pieces of interesting moop and free things on the boulevard have always enticed me. A good free pile is as exciting to me as a clean and shiny kitchen. Re-using cuts down on not only our footprint on the planet, but over-consumption and commodification as well. Leave No Trace is an incredibly important part of burner culture, perhaps the principle that crosses into mainstream society the easiest and can be understood by anyone. Imagine if all people, everywhere practiced caring. What a moop-free map it would be. In Black Rock City it’s pretty darn close.


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