Sherpa tips

LNT isn’t a burn-only thing.

From Gizmodo:

Last week, Apa Sherpa made it to the summit of Mount Everest for a record-breaking 21st time. This “Super Sherpa”, who now lives in Utah, has climbed for the past several years with the Eco Everest Expedition, a team with a “leave no trace” outdoor ethic dedicated to cleaning up Everest. The group has brought down over 12 tons of garbage for disposal and four human bodies for burial over the past three years.

Bodies. Human ones. The article wasn’t quite as enlightening as I’d hoped for (solar power is good!) but it links to a plethora of Plans for Solar Cookers. In 2009 I had a neighbor who used one. I was unimpressed. When I want a grilled cheese sandwich I want it NOW, not in two days. Here’s a broke-ass method for vacuum sealing. The most interesting part to me was the Clean Mountain Can.

Clean climbing practices (aka ‘Leave No Trace Mountaineering’) on Mt. McKinley have evolved over the past thirty years. A successfully enforced “pack in-pack out” policy began in the late 1970’s, with climbers removing all their garbage from the Alaska Range. Today we take this program one step further by mandating the removal of human waste from historically contaminated areas such as the West Buttress high camp at 17,200-feet. These problem locations have not only been unsightly, but often the source of polluted snow linked to gastrointestinal illness.

More specs and background info from the National Park Service site here.

I’ve been happily using the 5-gallon bucket system for years, now. Anybody who might need a loo during Exodus or just hates the JOTS as much as I do might be interested in this lighter-weight, litter-free, sealable version.

MOOP: A definition

MOOP, noun – Matter Out Of Place; especially as it applies to Black Rock City and its Citizens. Can be anything: cigarette butts, bottle caps, glowsticks, fireworks, but is often disguised as debris, i.e., broken bits of wood, plastic, metal, glass and plants. Can also be a condition: burn scars, grey water, dunes, etc.

moop, verb – to pick up Matter Out Of Place.

Some of the most common MOOP includes:

Burning Man Blog (read it! read it!)

Let’s forget about Mother Earth and LNT and MOOP and all that jazz, for now. I’m a bad hippie. I spit on the ground, after brushing my teeth*. Let me tell you what the best part about livin’ the LNT Principle is: in 5+ years and…20+ burns (not including camping and other events) I can’t recall ever leaving with more trash than fits in a shopping bag (aka a Walmart bag).

Here’s how I do it:

First: I don’t take shit with a high probability for becoming moop. Actually, first I camp alone. Ha ha!

Glowsticks? What in the world for? Walk around with your headlamp on. Expand your mind and check out the myriad of rad light-up stuff they make for bikes and trick-or-treating kids and walking dogs. Get some EL wire – it’s fun and looks so much cooler.

No feathers. No sequins. People claim “Oh no, you just have to adhere them right.” Sure that’ll lessen the odds, if you supplement the shitty factory sewing on your generic coin and bead-laden bellydance scarf, but it doesn’t eliminate the problem. Feathers might not come lose, out of the glop of epoxy you added, but they will break. The fluff will fly off in the wind, or onto the ground when you’re making out with that guy or gal or ___ you just met. Same with sequins. They break. I know this, because I’m a seamstress and I’ve tried.

Besides that, they’re called principles for a reason. It’s not a law or a rule, it’s a principle. A way of life, a mindfulness. It’s not necessarily about making sure your peanut shells don’t touch the ground. It’s about being aware of the space you’re in, for this brief time, and the people around you. It’s thoughtfulness (which is why I suspect a lot of ‘Mericans have such a hard time with this particular principle. Everybody loves expression and inclusion to the fullest, but want to nit-pick about LNT because it’s a lot more work…) and being responsible and accountable for your actions.

Anyways. Back to practicalities:

Remove ALL packaging. Take off all the shrink wrap. Take the crackers out of the box. Take the batteries out of the cardboard and plastic. Pour your booze into a flask or thermos. Empty that can of beans into a Ziploc bag. Make hummus and chicken salad and salsa. Ziploc bags are your friends. As is Tupperware.

Saves space packing to get in, and in the amount of trash you pack out. Plus, you can use any Ziploc bags and Tupperware to store trash and treasures (ie, gifts and presents!).

Ziploc bag ice cubes last longer than small cubes of ice from a big plastic bag. And, when it’s melted, you have cold drinking water.

Freeze stuff you won’t need right away. It’ll reduce your dependence on ice. This is also a money saver, making your own ice and freezing food.

Note: I don’t drink beer or smoke, so the issues of cans and butts won’t be addressed here.

Stuff I’m going to eat and gift, I pack in cardboard boxes or paper bags I can burn, when they’re empty. Less crap to take home! Or, you can use the bag and box for your burnables or to pack out your trash and gifts.

Starting to see how this works…? A minute bit of effort before the event saves you trash and space and effort once-there. That five minutes you just spent opening batteries could have been spent dancing or getting dressed for Lamplighters or swimming or eating bacon!

At camp: I hang the aforementioned grocery bag in a corner of tent, right with the burnable bag (I also back a small paper bag, usually from a booze purchase).

Water: For years I got a few of the disposable 2-gallon thingies, I liked having the spigot. Made life easier – oh, so you know what? I did have more than a small bag of trash, I had empty and half-empty water containers. Try one of the many, many alternatives instead – no spending money on water, no dealing with the trash and getting your foot stuck when you squash it.

The collapsible ones will save you space,

since you can fill it up after you get there and collapse it when you’re done. I didn’t like it, and after using them at Burning Man, I switched to

Takes up more space, and then you have to hang onto it, but you can transport grey water out and use it for a shelf. $13 for a one-time purchase, or $10+ several times a year to buy the disposable ones…I also dumpster dived one of these

That’s the same size as the disposable 2G. So, it fits perfectly onto my shelf, just like they did.

I highly, highly recommend all Platypus products. I haven’t used their water tanks, but their 1L water bottles are all I use for “on-the-go!”

Every time you leave your tent or walk to your tent, you should be MOOPing – looking around for trash and bits you missed. Every time when I get to CF, I have to pre-moop the area. Usually beer bottle caps and cigarette butts. The occasional tampon applicator and empty condom wrapper. If those people had been out there living by the principle of LNT…it’d sure be nicer for me. Anyways, pre-moop the area, then just keep up with it the during the week/end.

That’s just me, though. I’d rather walk around when I drink my coffee in the morning for a minute, or check things out while I’m waiting for dinner to be served than spend an hour Monday LNTing the site.

So, to recap:Leave No Trace is pretty self-explanatory. The goal is to leave the space you temporarily occupy just like you found it (or better, in the case of CF and some of the pre-mooping you might have to do). Don’t leave a trace of all the debauchery and tomfoolery you just indulged in! MOOP is matter out of place. If it wasn’t there when you got there, it shouldn’t be there when you leave. Simple enough, no?

Leave anything with dangly bits that could snag/break/fall off/get pulled off at home. Unpackage everything before you pack it. Avoid packaging by making what you can. Repackage it into a Ziploc bag or Tupperware when you can. Have a trash bag and a burnables bag. Keep up with your trash and spend a few minutes a day making sure you didn’t accidentally drop something. Or maybe you intentionally did it because you were drunk and promised to get it tomorrow. Either way, MOOPing each day keeps the leave date more free for hanging out and saying good-byes.

Also, if you’re still like, “screw that…” I suggest signing up for an LNT shift. Spent a few hours walking around and really see why LNT is one of the Almighty High Holy Principles – they exist for a reason, you know! LNT is no less important than RSE or Decommodification. Plus, you might find cash, furry leg warmers or a big vial of cocaine (all true stories)

and you’ll meet hot chicks with moo-stashes.

NO MOOP FOR YOU!

 

*I did it knowing it was bad but hey, the rain will wash it away so who cares? Well, the plants care. After a particularly rainy Transformus, and watching my white pile of spit water stick right to the plants and NOT wash off, I realized I had to change my attitude on that one…

The official word, from the aforementioned Burning Man blog:

The Burner’s Guide to Leaving No Trace

The Burner’s Guide to Leaving No Trace is a series of thoughtful actions you can take, from the moment you start packing your car to the moment you hose the last playa mud off its undercarriage. Over the next several months, we’ll dive into all these issues in depth. Here’s the overview to get you started:

  • PRECYCLE – Buy less stuff in bulky packaging, or recycle and get rid of the packaging before you come to the playa. You’re gonna need the extra room on the back end!
  • BRING LESS – Bring less stuff! Less is less! Save gas, save yourself a Tetris headache and save the playa from litter by leaving out that extra, non-sturdy shade structure and seven or eight pillows you don’t NEED need.
  • DON’T LET IT HIT THE GROUND – Cigarette butts, wood chips, nails, screws, specifically. Also single-use water bottles (don’t bring ‘em!), feathers (don’t wear ‘em!) and belly dance coins from your blinged-out hips (don’t shake ‘em!).
  • MANAGE YER TRASH – Icky, yet necessary. Do it. Water, too. Separate your cans from your hams and let that soapy water evaporate instead of pouring it on the ground.
  • RECYCLE THOSE CANS – Cans = cash for local schools! Cart ‘em to Recycle Camp and take a ride on the can crusher.
  • PLAN TO MOOP YOUR CAMP – Don’t let anybody hit the road until you’ve conducted an all-camp line sweep. Make an exit plan that includes time to pick up any MOOP in your area, even if you don’t think it’s yours.
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One Response to “Sherpa tips”

  1. Kendall Says:

    So you CAN take it with you!

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