What is D.E.A.R.?

It’s the portfolio that manages all things environmental related to our event.


What does D.E.A.R. stand for?

Department of Environmental Action and Re-Generation.

The reason that the word ‘regeneration’ has been included is because the concept of ‘sustainability’ lacks the progression towards restoring natural balance. After all: if we are to simply sustain the downward trajectory that our environment is in, we wouldn’t be arresting that decline. Burners are environmentalists. It’s just our nature.


A guide to some terminology:

LNT – Leave No Trace

This is the principle that informs our approach to waste and our impact on the environment. It applies to our approach at any AfrikaBurn event, whether in the Tankwa Karoo or elsewhere (such as our Decompression, Streetopia or ParkOff events).

To learn more about Leave No Trace, check out this page.



MOOP – Matter Out Of Place

This refers to Matter Out Of Place, or litter, trash (or any item left on the ground) that does not belong in a specific location. The concept of MOOP was first framed by anthropologist and cultural theorist Mary Douglas in 1966, and it has gone on to become one of the key principles that inform Burning Man (and thus AfrikaBurn) culture, in the sense that if Matter Out Of Place is removed or recycled, the effect is that no trace is left behind of the activity that took place. The term can also be applied to the action in the sense of “We’re MOOPing our campsite by doing a line sweep.”

For some years, the volunteers who managed MOOP on site in Tankwa Town have been referred to as either our LNT squad, or our MOOP team. This specifically refers to the crew that stalk the dust after our event every year, locating and picking up all traces left behind (such as thread, matches, cigarette butts, glitter, sequins, cable ties, nails etc).




  • We’ve driven the Leave No Trace ethic since 2007
  • We’ve experimented with pit toilets and sanitation methods, improving these each year
  • Encouraged purchase of water from nearby farms (with proceeds going to funding a local school, Elandsvlei Primary, via the Tankwa Kinderfonds)
  • Waste into art gets rewarded and is encouraged in project registration process
  • Burn scars have been used repeatedly since 2007 so as to avoid creating new scars on the landscape of our event site (Stonehenge Private Reserve)
  • Tankwa Ride & Share lift club has been used well by community, reducing the  number of vehicles (and thus consumption of fuel)
  • We use EM (effective micro-organisms) in toilets to break down waste without using any chemicals
  • We recommend re-use and recycling as much as possible
  • Our WTF guide and other comms over the years has driven home the point of being respectful of the environment
  • MOOP maps have been issued each year since 2013, and Theme Camp, Artwork and sound system crews have been directly approached by our team to discuss ways in which they could improve their clean-up efforts and energy needs
  • Commissioned an Eco Audit in 2016
  • The event footprint on the site we use is limited to the area least inhabited by burrowing mammals, birds or reptiles, and consists of hard gravel or shale. This area features very sparse low bushes and only sees plat growth in the form of spring flowers once a year. Our site is in a remedial state. It was heavily turned over by herds of springbok long ago. Once these herds were reduced in number due to hunting, sheep and goats followed, causing significant damage to plant life. Since ungulates have been removed, a slow regeneration of Tankwa flora and fauna is taking place – and our event activity is restricted to areas where the least impact is made, in order to aid this regeneration
  • We’ve encouraged our community to make use of Moop bags (provided for free) when moving around Tankwa Town, so nothing hits the ground
  • We’ve encouraged people to carry their own mugs
  • We’ve done and do Moop swoops and linesweeps – and have built this process into our Theme Camp, Artwork and Mutant Vehicle guidelines 
  • We’ve introduced ‘Each One Teach One’ which is important in terms of how people share their tips on how to minimise impact and leave no trace





D.E.A.R.’s mission is to protect and improve our natural environment as well as consistently increase awareness of this environment amongst all of our community.

Tankwa Town is fundamentally different from most other human settlements in one specific way – it’s temporary. It exists for a short while in a recovering wilderness. This environment and the conservation of all nature is the focus of the D.E.A.R.

Not only do we work to conserve our natural environment but we also aim to improve life for all fauna and flora in our surroundings. We recognise that humans are an integral part of nature and that as a species we are extremely well positioned and equipped to make improvements rather than reinforce the old paradigm of consumption, waste and destruction.


D.E.A.R’s vision is that one day every person in our community will think about our environment first before any action happens, for the benefit of all life on the earth under our feet and our continued existence upon it. In this regard, AfrikaBurn is an opportunity to experiment for change, invent the world anew and then apply the results – both in tankwa Town, and beyond.




What can D.E.A.R. do for you?

  • Assist you with understanding and improving your awareness of fauna, flora and landscape
  • Provide resources to enable you to plan your packing, camp, waste, and LNT efforts
  • Answer your questions on LNT & MOOP (in and out of the Tankwa Karoo)
  • Sign off camps and artwork sites at the conclusion of each year’s event
  • Develops the MOOP Map each year to inform community of problem areas (and where LNT efforts have been successful)
  • Provide info on recycling depots in the Western and Northern Cape so you & your camp are able to dispose of separated waste in the correct manner & location  


Downloadable reports:

MOOP maps:



We put the resources at your fingertips and it’s up to you to make the most out of these super resources of accumulated experience. Share it with your campmates while you’re planning your trip and share the info with your neighbours onsite!

Here are some suggested topics to think about, and documents to read:




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