Burning Man began on Sunday — and some of the attendees were met with protests.
Climate and anti-capitalist activists created blockades to hold up traffic at the festival
The use of private jets by rich attendees and single-use plastics motivated the protests.
Climate activists are coming to rain on tech bros' favorite parade.
Burning Man — the event favored by billionaire party boys and Victoria's Secret models, alike — is officially underway in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, and attendees were met by more than the usual festivalgoers in space-age unitards, glow-in-the-dark headpieces, or no clothes at all when they arrived at the gate on Sunday.
Instead, they found climate activists forming a human blockade and chaining themselves to a trailer in front of the festival, urging the festival's organizers to ban private jets and single-use plastics, according to videos posted to X.
Nevada rangers drove directly into a blockade set up by climate protestors on the road to Burning Man. An officer pulled a gun out, tackling a protestor and threatening to shoot
Environmental activists were demanding that #BurningMan ban private jets + single-use plastics pic.twitter.com/dawDjxhV4y
— michelle lh࿊࿊q (@MichelleLhooq) August 28, 2023
"Burners of the world, unite," "Abolish capitalism," and "General strike for the climate," their signs read.
Eventually, the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribal police broke up the blockade, plowing through the obstruction, and arresting four of the protesters, The Guardian reported.
Seven Circles, a coalition of anti-capitalist and climate activist organizations, claimed responsibility for organizing the protest in a news release. The group includes Burners, the nickname given to attendees.
In its release, Seven Circles demanded that the festival "be radically honest," "mobilize our community," and "lead by example" by banning private jets, unnecessary propane burning, and unlimited generator use.
The group also criticized the organization for allowing the eight-day event for becoming a playground for the Silicon Valley elite and influencers, who fly in on private jets and stay in lavish encampments.
"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," Seven Circles said.
"No single individual should have the luxury of emitting 10 to 20 times more carbon pollution than a commercial airline passenger. Burners, rebel with us," Mun Chung, one of the activists, said in a statement.
Burning Man Project, the group behind the festival, promotes leaving no trace on the environment, gifting and collaborating instead of buying, and decommodification in its 10 principles.
But over the past 37 years, it has attracted attendees like Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and disgraced biotech entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes, who burned a Theranos effigy at the festival in 2018.
Tickets go for up to $2,750 — a similar price as VIP Coachella tickets. Groups of ultrarich splurge to make the experience luxurious, paying $250,000 for a team of private chefs and staying in "fancy camps" — oftentimes air-conditioned RVs or tents that run on generators and fossil fuels — situated away from the rest of the Burners.
With these wealthy attendees comes waste. Burning Man's carbon footprint reached about 100,000 tons of CO2 per year as of 2019, according to its sustainability roadmap, which also lays out plans to be carbon negative by 2030.
The Burning Man Project did not immediately respond back to a request for comment from Insider.
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