spectating participant

May 7, 2004

picky and choosey

Filed under: unlisted — suzanne henderson @ 9:47 am

So we live in a world where it’s take what you like and leave the rest. Blah, sometimes I want a take all or leave all approach, but until I’m dictator, I doubt that will happen.

Yesterday, I had to follow through on contracting with a trash vendor for [Playa del Fuego]. Great, exactly what I wanted to do, spend my time searching out ways for people to throw out the [leave no trace] ethic. The other PDF volunteers point out what would happen if we had no dumpsters and let themselves sinks down to that lowest common denominator of expect little and wish for the best. I guess I still believe that people will stay at whatever level of expectation you hold them to: provide dumpsters and they’ll provide lots of trash.

I’m not crazy for not wanting this; to me it is part of the community that I chose to immerse myself in. Yes, I understand that Townsend, Delaware is NOT the Black Rock Desert. Yes, I understand that there is life and shopping centers only a few miles away. I can’t change our location, but the location doesn’t change what I love about the [Burning Man] spirit. I dig the radical self-reliance, I am totally into the gift economy, and I support leave no trace to the point of pack it in and pack it out. It’s a package deal to me, not pick what you want and leave the rest.

I guess yesterday’s task was some cosmic slap in the face; a good dose of reality where I had to agree to a contract of almost a thousand dollars for us to ‘leave no trace’. Everyone tells me it starts with education and I am still interested in pursuing that path. I’ll work on my one-man education campaign to minimize trash; of course, it’s still feels useless to say “reduce refuse! But, if you can’t, please toss it in the 2,112 cubic feet of dumpster we’ve provided which can weigh up to 20,000 pounds without us paying extra.” Yeah, that sounds motivating.

Perhaps Iíve sunk down to the expecting too little. Maybe a little education is all everyone needs and by the next event we will only need half the dumpster space. Then someday we won’t need it at all. I wish I could get myself to believe that.