Burning Man is a huge event thrown in the desert of Nevada every year that celebrates creativity, the arts and the human spirit. It's a now-famous gathering that takes place in one of the driest and hottest parts of the United States that draws in tens of thousands of people who have to pack in and pack out everything required to sustain a week of living, creating and exploring.
Burning Man is far from green — all those tens of thousands of people drive and/or fly in from all over the world and use up a lot of energy and resources for what is, at the basest level, a week-long party.
But it's getting greener by the year. There's been a big uptick in the amount of solar energy used to power the small city that springs up around the annual event, and they're starting to use biodiesel to move people around.
Time magazine sat down with Burning Man founder Larry Harvey and pulled out five things that cities can learn from the event.
1. Get rid of cars, embrace cool public transportation.
2. Encourage self reliance. People at Burning Man control their own trash
3. Rethink commerce. Build things together. There are no cash transactions at Burning Man, everything is given or directly traded for. "There's nothing wrong with commerce, but there's something wrong where you're manipulated into an icy pandemonium of extraneous wills," said Larry Harvey.
4. Foster virtue (with shame). [They don't explain this one well at all so I have no idea what Mr. Harvey actually means by this.]
5. Encourage arts. The world needs great art, it sustains us, pushes us, and betters us.
Obviously there's a big difference between Burning Man and the real world. All the trash that's packed out of the desert is recycled and thrown away just like everyday normal garbage, and I don't know how people would feel if we started turning the buses into fire-breathing dragons, but there are a lot of things — both broader ideas and specific practices — that could carry over to the outside world.