Burning Man

Burning Man attendees halted by climate activists

Burning Man opened to the public on August 28, 2023 after delay due to flooding, but was delayed again for some fans due to climate activists. The activists blocked a 2-lane highway with trailer to impede the guests.

Fans excited to feel the burn at this years Burning Man experienced a different sort of heat than expected. A highway granting access to the festival was blocked off by climate activists using a trailer in a demonstration to attempt to rally ‘Burners’ to their cause. This message was received less than pleasantly by Burners who quickly grew impatient with the fiasco.

Seven Circles, the climate activist group responsible for the debacle, released in a press statement the reasoning behind the demonstration,

“The purpose of the blockade is to draw attention to capitalism’s inability to address climate and ecological breakdown”, Seven Circles said in a press statement. “The blockade is also in protest against the popularization of Burning Man among affluent people who do not live the stated values of Burning Man, resulting in the commodification of the event”.

Though this message seems to align with the initial mission of Burning Man, quoted as follows by Emily Collins, a Burner and co-founder of the “Rave Revolution” of the protest in Seven Circles’ press email,

“Burning Man itself was born as a protest to the growth-dependent capitalist default world. As Burners, we understand the power of community and have shown time and time again that we can create a new society, with new rules that include dignity for every living being. We must extend these principles into the default world after 37 years of practice. We can no longer remain apolitical in a time of crisis,” said Emily Collins.

It seems that the issue lies primarily in the execution. Many Burners and State Troopers noted that the demonstration was conducted disrespectfully on tribal Native American grounds. The blockade also led to people with health concerns being forced to wait out in the blistering sun. After altercations between the activists and Troopers, the Troopers pushed through the barricade to create entry for attendees, literally. Using Trooper vehicles to ram through the parked trailer blocking traffic, paths were created for attendees to move past the barricade.

Image credit: Viaggio Routard via Flickr | License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)