Embrace Environmental Sustainability

embrace burn 2014

photo: Mortesha, facebook

from webcast embrace burn


The burn starts at 6:45. That blue stuff looks gnarly – glue?

Interesting that they burned it in the day time. Looking at the stream now, it is whiteout conditions and also looks very windy, so perhaps another storm is expected.

MOOP collection, post-event

MOOP collection, post-event

The Embrace creators were originally looking for a permanent home for their structure, but it seems the MOOP Monster may have forced it to burn.

160,000 lbs of wood was burned. The structure cost $266,000, of which $52,000 came from Kickstarter. Outraged gender-fluids took to BMIR to complain that Alpha looked too masculine, and Omega looked too feminine. They look like big artworks to me, not actual people. People have arms and legs, more like that big Man Person thing they keep showing.

Some comments from Burners on Facebook:

Bill: This is beautiful and touching… and i know im an ass for thinking/saying this- but I can’t help but think about all the pollution from all of this… Oh well… carry on!

Electra: It is beautiful but incredibly irresponsible.

Michael: Bill, keep it in proportion; any decent forest fire is multiples of this, and you can’t make experiential omelettes without breaking some eggs.
Electra: Michael, I’m guessing you don’t have children.
CptnSmashy: Pollution? Irresponsible? You people call yourselves ‘BURNERS” for fuck’s sake. Burning Man is not some kind of hippy love carbon neutral environmentalist unicorn fart gathering namaste dust worshiping ritual, it is organized chaos and they burn shit. LOTS of shit.

Christi: I get the sentiment, but the CO2 emissions from actually burning things at Burning Man is just the icing on the tip of the iceberg. I’d love to see people commit to a lower-carbon burn in all the other ways– transportation, how much stuff gets brought out, how much excess stuff is bought and thrown away, etc. It would be interesting to do the math and see what kind of a reduction would be needed to “pay for” the burns. On a cumulative basis (x pounds CO2/70,000 people), I’d bet it wouldn’t take all that much to bring the math in line, as long as everyone (including all those Techexecs) did their share. C’mon PDiddy- ditch the jet and join the rest of the dirt hippies in their tents & shade structures!!

They did the math in 2007, for the Green Man. See here.

Haysteev: My opinion is that the huge expense (500K in this case, 150-300K for Man or Temple), gas and manpower to harvest wood around the globe, the volunteering, materials and fundraising to build, to then truck it out to the desert to burn for 6 days….is wasteful and I feel like Burners should be more highly considerate of the state of the planet and humanity. What could burners have done with that money and volunteering energy? OR…how about disassemble it and move it from city to city, to inspire other people off-playa? Isn’t that what BMORG wants to do? To spread BM culture off-playa? Lead by example.

Amber: they didnt know if they were going to allow this to burn because the wood wasn’t really the right wood to burn.They finally decided to burn it because it would be moopier taking it apart than burning it…it wasnt the wood burning it was that it had glue in it and it wasnt “approved”wood…i can’t remember what type of wood it was…one of the engineers at Ill Ville told me when we were on their art car…but I was drunk so i dont remember

We’ll let Anastasia have the last word: This is just reflection of our entire civilization, people, deal with it

What do you think, Burners? If, like 75% of us think, there is room in the world for more Burning Man-esque events, should we try to make them environmentally sustainable? Or should they always be temporary, wasteful, impermanent, symbolizing this ancient ritual ceremony of death-and-rebirth?


13 comments on “Embrace Environmental Sustainability

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  4. Gender-fluid people were offended by Embrace because the man looked too masculine, and the woman looked too feminine. Seriously, they were talking about it on BMIR and were quite agitated.

  5. Ummmm….Any one remember Oil Derick? Sorry is my spelling is off….Big Boom of jet fuel. Impressive as hel…where where u then??

  6. The most environmentally friendly thing humans can do is to not extend their lifetimes/stay on the planet. Let’s be honest for a change mostly when we talk about saving the planet we are talking about extending our stay on it, which just gives us longer to mess it up, China and India, “emerging economies”/ where the west has most of it’s dirty work done aren’t about to go anything but brown and grey, offshoring our manufacturing allows us to claim we are green while buying grey. As much as we’d like to be the center of the world, the small amount of pollution that BRC produces is a pimple on the ass of the monster we create the other time we inhabit this naturally temporary planet.

  7. Kudos to the awesome Embrace crew. They must be queried in regards to the rationale.

    Prior commentary stated the bloody BLM, and, perchance, the BMOrg, did not desire Embrace to be burned, at Burning Man, in due of the a new rubbish rule that the wood must be of a thickness of one half of an inch to be burned, they were concerned of wood on fire might blow into the crowd of people, and burn the paint of another BLM Ranger vehicle parked near to the fire. The skin of Embrace was not of this thickness. Burners are intelligent, they know to move from burning wood that is falling, and provide assistance towards other Burners, but, the BLM Rangers do not desire to move. Perchance, it was burned near to sunrise in due of the low winds in the morning, with few Burners in the crowd, utilizing a large perimeter, and, it did not burn, in total, in due of the awesome Embrace crew was not permitted to utilize the quantity of fuel they might desire.

    Not permitting awesome art, such as Embrace, to be burned in a proper manner, is solely another rationale as to why Burning Man has jumped the shark.

  8. here is the BLM environmental assessment for the burning man 2012-2016 permit.

    it is over 300 pages, quite a bit of repetition, but, it is very thorough ..there is quite a large impact (in many different ways), and some big numbers….. it is worth a look.


    having read all of it around when it first came out.. i have to say it doesnt make ya feel great. .. a fun synopsis of a few of the numbers from that big report: http://justburnus.blogspot.com/2013/07/burning-man-by-numbers.html

  9. The 2012 environmental assessment estimate for open burns of wood alone (with 70,000 people attending) accounts for roughly 1300 tons of co2 emissions. It might not seem so huge but it is just around half of the co2 emissions of the vehicles from California that come to the burn (50-60% depending on who ya ask) .. or about 23,000 vehicles.


    if all of the big burns happened during the day time.. we’d see how dirty this is.

    (average UK household is said to burn through 10 tons of co2 a year, US 20 tons)

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