.Letters to the Editor: September 16, 2015

Everybody's mad at that one Open Mic guy

Fade Away

Steve Heilig’s “Burn Out” (Open Mic, Sept. 2) is a thinly veiled attempt to disguise his contempt for Burning Man with a critique of the carbon footprint of the event. Although I have never been to Burning Man, I can appreciate the artistic and cultural values that it nourishes, and can even imagine that future events could focus on innovative ideas for climate action. Canceling the event is the opposite of radical. We need opportunities to learn from each other and how to work together. That will add to our carbon footprint in the short term, in the same way that traveling to a climate-change conference also adds to carbon emissions, but the alternative is more polarization and fewer solutions.

Let’s focus on solutions that will make a real difference, such as using renewable energy instead of fossil fuels, rather than trying to pick apart such an insignificant contributor to emissions as Burning Man.


After living up here in Sonoma Valley these past two years, I have come to understand this area is no different than any other small town in Middle America. Small town, small minds.

I could bitch about the stupid little arguments over a drive-though restaurant, leaf blowers, whether dogs should be allowed to hike with their owners or the one lady who wanted more tickets written to all the so-called dangerous bike riders. I have to stop and remind myself: this is what people worry about in small towns while the walls of the world cave in all around them.

No, I am more pissed off about the “radical” idea that Burning Man should take a year off because of all the pollution from the traveling to and back. I don’t care one way or the other about BM, but that’s a radical idea? I’m so tired of people with too much time on their hands, who think they know better telling others what to do. Here’s a radical idea: stop polluting the world’s water. What’s the point of worrying if we have enough or not when we allow the dumping of our waste into our greatest resource? Radical idea? What are we going to do about the islands of trash, several larger than the size of Texas, floating aimlessly around the oceans?

Worried about serious emissions? Stop eating meat. That ain’t too hard. The raising and transporting of beef is one of our greatest polluters. And then you won’t have any drive-through issues either! Ha!

Sonoma Valley

Steve Heilig condemns Burning Man for its supposedly horrible environmental impact, yet admits that 87 percent of the greenhouse gases generated stem from travel to and from the event. If Burning Man were canceled next year, as Heilig suggests, does he think those 70,000 playful adventurers would all stay home for the holiday weekend? Really?

If Heilig means to suggest that the time has come to cease all recreational travel due to global warming, then he should say so. But to single Burning Man out from all the other carbon-intensive leisure activities people still eagerly pursue makes no rational sense, and sounds a bit like sour grapes.


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