What some local Burners say about ‘The Green Man’
Pat Collentine and Susan Larsen, Chico artists and 1078 Gallery members
Burning Man is living an alternative life in one week full of emotional experiences, from “how amazing and wonderful” to “what the hell am I doing here?!?” It is like being immersed in one of Italian director Federico Fellini’s films. It is a feast of visual art and a cacophony of sounds. The community is creative, sharing and into helping each other out.
The “green” theme was important in the most basic way of getting people to dialog about what is happening to our planet and what we can do to change it into a better place for life. [We should be] working to change the present paradigm of fossil fuel and capitalism to one of re-use and re-new.
Sure there was plenty of fossil fuel being consumed in art cars and art works, but the Black Rock foundation attitude of “leave no trace behind” is the example we would hope all our fellow Burners take home and implement into their daily lifestyles.
Keitha Corbit, TV syndicator and Big Brothers Big Sisters president
It was a little greener. It always tends to be green because when you’re radically self-reliant, you don’t bring in many things from the outside world and you’re with people who want to live a low-impact life.
The most important thing for this year was conversation with learned people about what can be done. It was about the green present and not the green future.
I really felt the loss of not being able to go into the pavilion [which housed exhibits on green technology but was closed after the Green Man had to be rebuilt]. I’d read up on it, but I didn’t get to touch and feel and play with the new stuff. I expected to get my hands around it.
It was like a sock in the gut [seeing the Green Man prematurely burn], but by the same token it reinforced that Burning Man is about more than burning the man. It’s more about how you live your life in that community.
Greg Tropea, Chico State professor and Black Rock City mailman
Burning Man 2007 was green in the way a jumbo jet taking off from an airport near you is green: It used only the fuel it needed to get the job done, given the current state of technology and the understandings of its creators, and it made a great noise, but we’re still talking about a helluva carbon footprint.
The real question, though, is whether the understandings of participants were affected in ways that will probably lead to greener outcomes than would have occurred in the absence of that experience. In my case, I can unhesitatingly answer in the affirmative.
[Overall] it was another great experience of life-affirming synchronicities, deep conversations with old friends and new, taking risks, pushing to exhaustion for several days in a row, and renewing connections with people who have come to be family.
I also made some progress on a research project related to teaching that is aimed at the question of how the really energetic phenomena of creativity and service that one encounters at Burning Man develop in the absence of compulsion or monetizeable reward; I have an intuition that our universities could be astoundingly more productive if at least part of student body was learning how to work at the exemplary levels you find in the Burning Man community.