Spiral Oasis: Burning Man 2001  


Low Impact

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Keeping impact low

There was a lot of controversy about this last year. My own view is that Burning Man is all about freedom, so I will not be trying to impose rules. However, we will be asking you all to look hard at what you bring to the playa and how so that we keep impact and cleanup as minimal as possible - and to ensure that everyone is responsible for their own stuff as far as possible.


If you're bringing an RV, let us know asap and we'll start a separate discussion amongst RV-ers re. the best way to minimize inconvenience to campers and to use them as sensitively and efficiently as possible. It'd be great if last year's convoy could shrink significantly, and a key part of that will be space sharing: if you have an RV, fill it up with your crew and others. Clay and his demoiselle took us in last year, and it made for an infinitely better BM. Fill your RV with co-SOUL-ers, and we can do away with several behemoths.

Car and RV-pooling and airport co-ordination: Key to keeping impact low. Paul's website will help make this easier.

Truck space

We've heard multiple requests now for us to keep truck space super limited to avoid the issues souring previous years. The goal for this year, then, is to take one truck only - and to keep that truck as small as we can. It should hold only common stuff - SOUL infrastructure, DJ equipment. Everyone else should take their own belongings in their cars and RVs, or arrange for SOULmates to take it for them.

Those wishing to rent their own truck might find Colin's truck rental research useful.


Noise, smell, maintenance, size, rental, cost, gas, explosions, fires, ... Previous years have seen generators cause no end of trouble and stress. This year we have a strong emphasis on reducing impact both in noise, gas usage and camp hassle.


Last year we scored one of the cute, quiet and reliable Honda generators that we will be using again this year. Tony Parisi has kindly offered to rent of sell an identical model he owns. So we have at the moment two (totally 2KW power), maybe buying an additional 2KW unit.

They retail around $750-$1000 (1KW and 2KW models) which is less than the cost of 2000's generator hire(!). Agturf have a handy spec list; check at the bottom of their list for the quiet ones (about 12dB quieter than industrial, which is to say over 15x quieter: 'quite a bit' :-). Also check out Honda's own site which also has specifications & comparisons. Northwest Powertools seem to be the cheapest at $885 including shipping for the 2KW generator.

Offline power

In addition, many Spirals own marine deep-cycle batteries which in combination with a standard 110V inverter can run substantial appliances for a long period of time. More info on how, what and where to buy in Paul's solar sound system.


Chris Connor (Scruzer, renowned lighting jockey, and electronics wizard) & I are also investigating solar for real this year.

Last year one of Spiral's sub-camps, Moonbase-Nevada operated an entirely solar powered 200W sound system made from some cheap PA speakers, a basic car amp, a marine battery and a 40W solar panel bought from Parts on Sale. Check out Paul's solar sound system.

Other suggestions for places to buy solar are at Southern California Solar and Jade Mountain.

Some things to think about when choosing solar:

  • Price per watt
  • Resilience: there are essentially two types of solar, flexible and not. The flexible type is quite a bit more expensive but generally lighter weight.
  • Materials: glass or some less breakable material


None of our camp has used wind power yet but having spent some time with the Alternative Energy I learnt that the AIR 403 from Southwest Windpower kicks some serious turbine ass.


"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind. And therefore is wing'd cupid painted blind. Nor hath love's mind of any judgement taste. Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste. And therefore is love said to be a child. Because, in choice, he is so oft beguiled."
-- Helena from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by William Shakespeare
Page most recently soulified: 01-Feb-2002
Kate & Paul