Black Rock City—complete with a post office and volunteer emergency service crews—rises from Nevada's Black Rock Desert for only one week of every year, thanks to Burning Man, a festival of art and counterculture. Running from August 27 to September 3, it ends with the destruction of the “city,” capped by the arsonous elimination of art, structures and a central effigy of “the man.” This year's event, dubbed Green Man, has an environmental theme. Organizers will try to offset the carbon footprint of the festival. They will decrease solid waste by 70 percent through composting and shredding and switch from last year's 20,000 gallons of diesel to 20,000 gallons of local biofuel derived from cooking grease and supplied by Bently Biofuels in Minden, Nev. They will also deploy a 30-kilowatt solar array for the event and partner to build a 150-kilowatt array for neighboring Gerlach, Nev., which will also receive the smaller array after the event.
Burning Man attendees: 40,000
Carbon emissions from burning “the man”: 112 tons
Total on-site emissions: 2,473 tons
Emissions from participants' travel: 25,019 tons
Weeklong carbon offset by the 30-kilowatt solar array: 6.9 tons
Annual carbon offset by the 30-and 150-kilowatt arrays: 559 tons
SOURCES: Tom Price, Burning Man staff; David Shearer and Jeff Cole, founders of the CoolingMan Project