Burning Man Sustainability

A walk through what Burning Man will look like in 2030

In 2019 Burning Man Project shared a 10-year Environmental Sustainability Roadmap. We committed to the roadmap because we need to prioritize the health of the planet. Our goal for this page and in general is to be transparent, get feedback, inspire action, and offer a connection point for others doing similar work. It’s possible that humans could address climate change if every city, organization, and land project established and followed the three goals we’re using. We aim for our model to be open-source and useful for local communities, governments, events, and households. You can learn more from the resources below. Email us at gro.namgninrubnull@ytilibaniatsus with questions or sign up for our email list to participate.

Mapping a 2030 destination

Burning Man Project’s environmental sustainability roadmap identifies three goals we aim to achieve by 2030: no matter out of place, be regenerative, and be carbon negative. We detail how we plan to achieve them in our roadmap. To create a shared vision, we have painted a broad picture here of where we hope to be in 2030. We will adjust course and modify as we go, but this is where we hope to end up.

Progress towards goals in 2020

Our 2020 sustainability update discusses our interconnected goals, emissions inventory, and organizational projects that have begun. We are slightly ahead of our expected schedule.

Burning Man Corridor in 2030

Let’s imagine you’re arriving at Black Rock City in 2030. You exit Interstate 80 onto Highway 447 and notice that the roadside is clean. On your journey, you notice ecological restoration projects. You drive past properties in Gerlach where regeneratively designed gatherings are held year-round. The 360 acres in Gerlach hosts energy infrastructure that powers Black Rock City and provides power year-round for locals and Northern Nevada. 

Black Rock City in 2030

You arrive at Black Rock City and notice a new audioscape resulting from the lack of generators and the sound, exhaust, and smell they create. Instead, the city runs on solar arrays, human-powered bike blenders, micro-grids, and renewable energy. Mutant vehicles, rental vehicles, and heavy equipment are primarily electric. Structures and art are created from repurposed and upcycled materials. Camps work together to contribute, share, and manage resources and municipal needs. The burning of art is continued mindfully. Burners from BWB Chapters & Regional Events gather to share skills and lessons learned about sustainability. Our community reflects the cultural and ethnic diversity of an inclusive and restorative world. 

Waste Management in 2030

Drinking water is distributed from reusable drums and containers, thereby eliminating single-use cups and bottles. Greywater is handled ecologically. Blackwater is managed through composting, biofiltration, treatment ponds, and land applications. On your drive home, there is no evidence of dumping or disposal of trash. The disposal loop is closed and waste does not go in landfills.

Hualapai Valley in 2030

In the Hualapai Valley at Fly Ranch and Black Rock Station, greenhouse and farm projects supply food for events and locals. Fly Ranch is a regenerative center developed through design challenges, eco-sprints, and tree plantings

Carbon Capture in 2030

We have achieved the goal of drawing down more CO2 than we emit through carbon capture projects at Fly Ranch, nearby Burning Man properties, and around the world. We have precise means to measure and track our progress so we know know when we’ve succeeded.

Radical Inclusion in 2030

We have considered our impact on and worked with Black, Indigenous and Communities of Color. Within our projects we address how system racism and other systems of privilege/bias, land appropriation, settler colonialism, systemic racism, and capitalism are linked to climate change. 

Environmental Justice in 2030

We recognize the Numu (Northern Paiute), Nuwu (Southern Paiute), Newe (Western Shoshone) and Washeshu (Washoe) stewardship of the land. We consider how their voices are heard and needs are addressed. We engage with and empower those communities to be at the table for decision-making.

Open-Source Approach in 2030

Everyone who comes is able to learn and participate. Sustainable gatherings happen throughout the year. The methods, technology, and techniques for building a sustainable city, ranch, and community are open-source. This model is spread freely and worldwide, massively expanding our impact.

Go deeper

Below you’ll find more documents and links. For an operational perspective, see our funding model and operational model.

Three roadmaps & goals

1. Be Carbon Negative

Comment on our roadmap draft

2. Handle Waste Ecologically

Comment on our roadmap draft

3. Be Regenerative

Comment on our roadmap draft

1. Be Carbon Negative Projects

Climeworks Proposal

Offset Proposal

Emissions Inventory

Our Emissions Framework

Design Challenge

Call for carbon capture projects

2. Ecological Waste Projects

Waste Streams Overview

How we’ll get to zero waste

MOOP Map Archive

Leave No Trace efforts


Highway 447 Project

3. Be Regenerative Projects

Permaculture Action Day

BWB Project in Oakland

Ecosystem Restoration

Awful’s Gas & Snack, BWB, & PLPT

Green Theme Camp Summit

Camp plans to green the man

Black Rock City Sustainability Projects

Recycle Camp

A theme camp with a mission

IDEATE Compost Program

Community compost program

Earth Guardians

Land stewards

Historical perspective: 2007 Green Man

National Geographic

The Greening of Burning Man

Grist Article

2007 event history

2007 After Event Report

Environmental manager’s report

Photo credits

2020 dashboard on progress towards 2030 goals; BWB Ecosystem Action Day, photo by Christopher Breedlove; Recycle Camp, photo by Robert Bruce Anderson; BRC recycling cycle, image by Stephen Chun from waste roadmap; Carbon Capture & Storage options, Negative emissions—Part 1: Research landscape and synthesis, from page 7; Land acknowledgement, from 2020 sustainability update; Planet Home Eco Sprint Snapshots from BWB Fall Summit at Fly Ranch; Vox chart from The world’s bleak climate situation, in 3 charts; @A Daily Memo; Planet Home Eco Sprint Snapshots from BWB Fall Summit at Fly Ranch;