Carbon Offsetting [Serious Question]

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Osprey!, Dec 20, 2019.

  1. ahung12

    ahung12 Adventurer

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    Bring some tree seeds (native to your locale or at least country) along on long rides, and do some Johnny Appleseed. Plant a tree(s) every x-miles you ride. With all the Epic Ride Reports I see, there seem to be a lot of members traveling to a lot of different places, some very remote, some bordering high polluting cities, and some probably suffering from deforestation. I'm not an arborist, so I'm not sure exactly what the offset would be but it couldn't hurt, and the seeds shouldn't add much to your pack size at all. Short rides, less luggage space, less miles traveled all means less trees. Longer rides, more luggage space, log more miles and plant more seeds.
    #21
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  2. Anders-

    Anders- 690R

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    Replace the motorcycle with a bicycle, but no... folks are more comfortable just paying off the "debt" :lol3
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  3. ahung12

    ahung12 Adventurer

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    I'm not sure if you're being facetious, but its safe to say that the OP's reasoning for asking this question was somewhat based on his/her desire to ride a motorcycle. So suggesting that they ride a bicycle instead isn't exactly a valid suggestion, is it?

    Also, offsetting something has a distinctly different meaning and implications than paying off a debt.
    #23
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  4. Cheshire

    Cheshire Been here awhile

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    OP, I love the way you think! I'm kinda kicking myself for it never occurring to me to find an appropriate nonprofit or whatnot to donate per mile/day/whatever...never occurred to me to use this method for offsetting. I HAVE picked my motorcycle with fuel efficiency and emissions in mind, I keep my bike under a liter displacement, and I try to keep my gear and such minimally wasteful.
    I'm going to have to incorporate this idea into my upcoming trip budgets. Glad there are other people thinking about this kind of thing! :D
    #24
  5. lifeofliberty

    lifeofliberty If you're bored, you're not living

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    Already mentioned: stay home is the single, biggest carbon-offset you can possibly do.

    The next on the list: don't eat out. The carbon footprint of prepared food at restaurants (in the developed world) is huge. Eat local (whatever the locals eat, locally sourced, including booze and soft drinks if you drink that stuff). This is also true for prepared foods in supermarkets (microwavable and such like, prepared meals). Buy local ingredients and prepare the food from whatever is available. Except for the "inconvenience" factor, this is the most efficient, least corrupt, highest impact qualifications you were asking for. Local food trucks and eateries using locally sourced food would be ok for a lower carbon footprint.

    You could also lower your footprint by avoiding hotels, hostels (camp out), taxis, tourism adventures, etc. (ride or walk there if you go, unless public transportation offers a lower footprint). Definitely do not fly. The rule for lowering your carbon footprint is pretty simple: use less (of everything). Avoid technological gadgets, get by with "simple" wherever possible.

    An analog lifestyle is certainly possible and sometimes, desirable. It's also much more of an adventure.
    #25
  6. Cheshire

    Cheshire Been here awhile

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    The main consideration that comes to mind is to be mindful of bringing in foreign and/or invasive species to an area. If the trip covers enough distance, this could be more harmful than helpful. I like the idea, though. Maybe look into arbor/environmental groups in the areas the trip passes through and purchasing X number of plants to be planted in your name or anonymously or whatever?
    If the ride goes by waterways and the rider is suitably able-bodied, what about taking a few hours or a day to do some river cleanup? Cover X amount of linear distance of shoreline or X number of bags of trash?
    #26
  7. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur Supporter

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    Even simpler: Leave No Trace. Anywhere you stop, leave nothing you brought with you, try to leave no visible signs of having been there and take away other peoples' trash when you leave.

    Every little bit helps.

    Donating to local conservation groups does sound like a really admirable idea. I may follow that suggestion on my next expedition.
    #27
  8. Jeff Sichoe

    Jeff Sichoe ruddy bastard

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    Don't forget to factor in the manufacturing and transport emissions associated with the construction and delivery of your bike.
    #28
  9. DittyBag

    DittyBag A bag of dirty stuff

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    Obviously, neither I or anyone else here is an expert in these subjects. The only thing that I suggest is that you use your common sense in approaching these questions. Is this an act to make yourself feel better about burning gas for your enjoyment? It's a legitimate question. Whatever side of the carbon debate that you are on, it is quite interesting that the main proponents of climate activism admit that the changes that they are supporting will do little, if anything, even with full implementation. So, under a best case scenario, does your "sacrifice" have a net result of zero? It has recently become more clear, with the onset of decommission, that wind power farms are not as "green" as they were sold to be.

    Additionally, in your post, you rightfully wonder if there are exchange entities that are not corrupt. Given the state of the human condition, who would doubt that this "industry" is rife with predators willing to fleece folks with good intentions? It has certainly happened before, many times.

    IMO, a "conservative" person, who lives a conservative lifestyle, always has cost/benefit/waste as a part of his daily decision making process. Is this task worthy? Is it worth the cost of my time and the energy that is required to complete it? Can I wait and combine this task with others and eliminate duplication? What is the "cheapest" way that I can accomplish this task in terms of the environment AND monetary? Am I creating something that will have a legacy beyond my brief lifetime?

    As others have said, if the trip bothers you so much about your carbon footprint, maybe the best thing would be for you to not burn that gas. But, I would suggest that, if you really want to slow the introduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide, you would be better off trying to convince people to slow human reproduction.
    #29
  10. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams Supporter

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    I suppose this answers your question in a round about way. Seems to me the best way to offset carbon is to focus on 24/7/365 days of your life. Unless you're selling everything and hitting the road, chances are good the time you travel is minimal compared to the time you're home. If that is the case, it makes more sense to do everything you can in your daily life and not focus so much on how to travel.
    #30
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  11. Cheshire

    Cheshire Been here awhile

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    Delving into this a little has brought up a few questions on my part. I can’t donate chunks because I live on a tight budget, so I’m looking at other areas.
    One common mention on websites talking about this more generalized bring up LEDs to reduce energy consumption. It got me thinking. Does energy production on a vehicle affect fuel economy? I’ve heard of going to LEDs for brighter light, for aesthetics, or for freeing up wattage for accessories/heated gear...but what about just...freeing it up as a net reduction overall? Would it matter, even minimally?
    Asking because, if it does, I might finally have a reason to be interested in LED vehicle lights. If it doesn’t make a bit of difference whether I’m using everything or minimal power my bike is putting out while it’s running, I might look into making better use of that on trips to cut back on grid electricity while off the bike.

    The other immediate bike travel question was about laundry. I’m guessing laundromat stops are common for multi-day trips? That could be a place to make some changes in habits...if I knew how to hand-wash clothes. Never had to before, never owned anything that required it. Anyone have a suggestion for how to learn?
    #31
  12. Cheshire

    Cheshire Been here awhile

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    I do that already. :thumb I’m talking about expanding on that. At least here, in my region, there are periodic group events for riverbank cleanup or the “adopt a highway” program. I’m suggesting that, just without the road sign placard or waiting for an organization event. In addition to the Leave No Trace ethic for the spaces we use.
    #32
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  13. Anders-

    Anders- 690R

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    Save fuel with less electric load? Depends on how the electric system is configured on the motorcycle - most of them just short leftover power through the rr (this is why the rr gets hotter when you have less electric load). Suggest you look into how your bike is setup.
    #33
  14. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b Supporter

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    IDK what bike you're on but let's say you have 55W of headlight and 15W of taillight all the time. We won't consider the amount of time the turn signals are on. That makes 70W of power for lights. That's a convenient number since 1 HP is a bit over 700W. Your 70W of lights would require about 1/10 HP. A typical motorcycle cruising at about 45 to 50 will need about 10HP to sustain that speed. (The other HP are to get there quicker and to climb inclines.) That means that your lights use about 1% of what's needed for cruising. By switching to LEDs, you can reduce your light needs to about 20W. You could save 0.6% or 0.7%. But then you have the manufacturing cost of the LEDs to consider. So the answer to your question depends on the length of the trip or the amount of time your lights are on.

    But you may save none since, as @Anders- points out, most motorcycles have permanent magnet alternators and generate all the electricity all the time and the regulator just shunts some to ground to keep the voltage from going too high. So you could switch to a series type regulator such as a Shindengen SH775. Instead of shunting extra to ground, it turns off the output from the permanent magnet alternator very quickly. The turning off and on is so quick that the output "looks" like the correct voltage although the actual voltage is either too high or off. As with the lights, though, you have more manufacturing costs for the semiconductors in the rectifier/regulator. (EDIT: If you're on a big bike with a lot of alternator output, this can save more electricity than changing to LED lights. If your bike needs 100W to operate but your alternator makes 400W all the time, you can stop generating 300W. That's still less than 0.5HP or less than 5% of what's needed to maintain a moderate cruising speed.)

    There are some motorcycles that have field-coil alternators such as on the original CB750 SOHC. These generate exactly as much electricity as needed and if the voltage goes too high, the regulator reduces the voltage going to the magnet coils which reduces the amount of electricity generated in the generating coils. But then you're on a motorcycle that doesn't get much over 40 MPG anyway. (YMMV)
    #34
  15. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b Supporter

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    There are many ways to hand-wash.

    The traditional way is to put water in a tub or sink, add detergent, then add clothes. Mash the clothes around. Taking out items and rub particularly dirty spots against each other. Some spots may need a brush. Take the clothes out of the tub and change the wash water for clear then add the clothes again and agitate with your hand to rinse. Change water again if needed. The less water you transfer from an earlier rinse to a later rinse means less soap remaining in the clothes. Hang clothes to dry.

    I take a net bag with me. I can take it into a shower, add some soap on top, and mash it around while I'm showering. May use more water than a washing machine, but it's part of the overnight stop instead of a separate stop at a laundromat. Hang overnight. If the clothes are not dry by morning, put the net bag on the top of the luggage and put the clothes in it. A bit of 45MPH wind will dry them in a short time.

    I was taught trash-bag laundry as a scout in the '60s or 70s. (When did trash bags first appear?) Put clothes, water, and soap in a trash bag, twist the top closed and hold it with one hand. Move that hand up and down and the water will slosh out and in. Do that for a while. Change to clean water and repeat. May need a second rinse. Too much soap or detergent means more rinses. Again, try to get more soapy water out after the wash and each rinse because the water is what holds the soap that you're trying to remove.

    A laundromat visit will probably use a dryer which may be unnecessary electricity. Other than that, hand washing may not be a whole lot better.
    #35
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  16. Pappy541

    Pappy541 Been here awhile

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    I know the OP is serious and no disrespect, but I learn something everyday and I believe this is just not right.
    People want to feel good by taking care of the environment so they offset their evil carbon footprint by paying someone to plant a tree or 2 for them.
    It is not about if I am a believer or not but the fact that MONEY can erase your carbon burning evil ways. Am I supposed to stay at home or just feel guilty when I ride because I do not have the financial means to pay for carbon offsets. I am happy if you are happy and I want to thank you for sharing this info.
    #36
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  17. navi

    navi Been here awhile

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    How does 6lbs of fuel make 20lbs of carbon ?
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  18. Anders-

    Anders- 690R

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    People have been purchasing absolution for a long time, nothing new there.
    #38
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  19. Osprey!

    Osprey! a.k.a. Opie Supporter

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    There are some very good points being brought up. Here are a few quick thoughts:

    **If** you feel a sense of responsibility for your carbon emissions, what are your choices?

    (A) ride less or not at all.
    (B) Continue to ride the same amount and just ignore this issue.
    (C) Ride the same amount and offset.
    (D) Ride less and offset.
    (E) Ride more and offset.
    (F)Get an electric motorcycle.

    The list goes on and on.

    Me? I choose to ride less, drive less, and am reconsidering my travel in general. While I also paid to offset two years worth of travel back in December (it was surprisingly less expensive than I expected), it doesn't remove the guilt, but it does somehow feel more equitable. Offsetting is far from a perfect solution. It's also better than doing nothing and sticking your head in the sand.

    What should you do? Research the issue and make your own choices. If you want to calculate your emissions, it's easy and once you figure that out, you can start to decide what a reasonable offset might look like. I'm not here to guilt you.
    #39
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  20. Osprey!

    Osprey! a.k.a. Opie Supporter

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    #40
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