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Team experiences in Burning Man – United States

Nathalie Gidrón, founder of Newbin, tells us about her trip to Burning Man from the point of view of litter management.

Burning Man is a festival created from scratch in the desert of Nevada, where 75,000 people gather and live together during 10 days under ten principles. One of the principles is Leaving No Trace [ 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].

I bring this experience as credible signal that the human being can be much better than what we see in our day to day, and xxx aside, I believe than with example of MOOP concept awareness (matter out of place) one can prove and believe in a better world.

In the largest festival worldwide, where there are camps, marquees, discotheques, bars, health centre, airport, etc. Everyone is responsible of the management of their waste at all times. This doesn’t mean people spoil the landscape and then clear up. It is as simple as everyone discards or places every item in its place, there is nothing MOOP, at any time. Every action is the right one. If you blow up your nose, then the tissue goes in your pocket. If you eat a chewing gum, then the paper goes in your handbag, you come across a plastic glass and you put it in the bin, a cigarette will go in a tin you took for that purpose, etc. Therefore, you find NOTHING in 5km diameter in what they call the Black Rock City beach. Oh, if someone has dropped some litter you pick it up.

Sounds incredible, but in fact it is very simple. If we all take the habit to put our litter in a place, then everything has an order, even in the desert, the landscape, the nature, the ecosystem, that is, the human being can integrate with respect to the environment.

This experience has convinced me that it all is a question of awareness and habits.

We travelled in a mobile home for 6. We had to measure what we carried, therefore, when I was making my suitcase I though hard about it and when we made the food shopping, we calculated everything per day, per person. We came back with our suitcase full of dirty clothes and the litter we had generated. There was no refuse collection on site! Each person made themselves responsible about their own waste. Something logical, simple and natural, really. 

Photography: Julián Kenka

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