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Ask Uncle Dave

Uncle Dave: Saving the world with bicycles!

Words Dave Tolnai
Date Dec 11, 2019

My wife and I just spent this summer getting my rocks off on all the best trails B.C. has to offer. We rode with Dale (WORCA president) and his family who made us grow some, stayed with locals from Vernon to Crowsnest, and got treated like royalty. I came back to Italy laughing at how easy my local trails have become.

I should feel great, but there's this little voice with a Swedish accent asking me to reflect a little about my impact on the planet, if you catch my drift.

It's impossible to read a single scientific, cultural or economic publication without returning back to the issue of our economic consumption causing ecosystem damage yah de yah de yah,

but long story short, no forests means no mountain biking.

What are we doing as an industry to preserve our future? I'm all for N+1, but unless we do some ground work stuff, like Yoann clearing trash, what does the future hold?

Hell, I mean we don't even question were our lovely tires come from!

https://youtu.be/-fusUxEPwsw

So, where does the Mountain Bike community start? Reducing meat consumption would be an easy one. #thegamechangers

Yours

Teacher of 7 year olds


Dear Toyer:

I went to a conference last week and one of the speakers was an expert on ocean plastics (or some such). He was talking about an experiment that he did with the recycling program in a large office tower and the impacts that had on the rates of plastic recycling. During one of the breaks I cornered him and asked him a question. I’d been noticing a lot of similar arguments that kept popping up in online discussions. It’s something along the lines of “Why bother. Most of the plastic waste in the ocean comes from China/India/Timbuktu. This won’t do anything.” I asked him what the best response to that argument was. His answer was “Well…tell them ‘imagine if 7 billion people were asking that same question’”

Which...I mean...If this is the best we’ve got, we're kind of fucked, no? We’re not going to dig ourselves out of this hole by relying on 7 billion people to take personal responsibility for saving the world. I think waiting for that to happen might be the actual cause of our problems. I became angry with myself for expecting a different answer.

Of course, this doesn't mean we don’t have a personal responsibility to do something. I think it’s great that you care, and we should all be working to reduce our footprint on this earth. Of course it's a good thing that you are trying to eat less meat, drive your car less, throw out less trash, take shorter showers…these are all really good things to strive for! But every 2 weeks or so, when I take my tiny little bag of garbage out to our giant fucking trash can that is stuffed full of all the crazy shit my neighbour throws away on a daily basis, it becomes obvious that my personal responsibility will not be the basis for a long term global solution. I could subsist on crickets, moss and scavenged clothes from a dumpster, and there's still going to be people, and companies, carrying on like they're six year olds on Christmas day at the yacht club. Not too sure what they looks like, but I'll bet it's really something.

Taking that further, I'm almost at the point where I'm convinced that not only is this this whole push for "personal responsibility/accountability" not going to solve our problems, it might actually be a net negative. It gets the people that care to fret about every little piece of plastic they encounter in their life, while the people that don't give a shit get to merrily continue on without a second thought about their actions, more than cancelling out the good work done by others. Everybody feels so proud of themselves for the tiniest little things, and we delude ourselves into thinking that this is somehow helping change the world. We celebrate doing really great things like "riding bicycles". What could be better for the environment than riding a bicycle? Look at us! We’re healthy…we’re out there experiencing nature…we don’t need motors for fun…after we drive to the trailhead to ride plastic bicycles that get wrapped in even more plastic and styrofoam so that they can be shipped over from China on a boat that burns diesel and dumps it's raw sewage into the ocean. Yes, folks, it's another Uncle Dave crowd pleaser!

Which leads to the part where I have to assure you that I think this sport of ours is great and all that. Which it is. But it’s also frivolous. It’s a luxury and it’s a bit weird that we throw a lot of our good intentions out the window when it comes to bicycles.

Honestly, I think my riding of bicycles contributes more to my ecological footprint than anything else in my life. If I didn’t ride bikes I’d probably drive my truck half as much (no more trips to the trailhead). I’d probably fly half as much (no more riding trips in far off locations). And who the hell really knows what’s going in to making all of the shit that I require each time I ride my bike. What does it actually take to make a bike and ship it to North America? How much packaging is involved? What happens to that packaging once the bike comes out of it? Quite frankly, it’s really, really weird that we ask so few questions of, and place so few requirements on, the companies that are producing these things for us. We let them throw some money at building trails and we call it a day. Once again, trail building and advocacy is great and all, but it's a teensy bit self-serving, no?

So, it’s fabulous that you want to take personal responsibility and to reduce your footprint (on your luxury pastime). The things you mention in your question are a great start. But. If we really want to have an impact, I think we need to dramatically change our point of view. We need to shift from “I have a personal responsibility to reduce my footprint” to “I have a personal responsibility to change the way that things are done.”

What do I mean by that? Good question! And it largely depends on your position in life. For most of us, I think it is primarily about amplifying our voice and pushing for larger changes. I’m thinking about things like:

1) Start commenting in articles about bikes with questions about some of the issues raised above. What would happen if every bike review included things like packaging, working conditions, shipping methods and recyclability (I mean...other than people would stop reading them)? What would happen if we started rewarding the companies that care about these things?

2) E-mail bike companies and ask them what they’re doing to reduce their ecological impact. Ask them about their manufacturing process. Ask them about their factory working conditions. Ask them about anything but the bicycle, really.

3) Write to your City Counsellor/MLA/MP/Congressman/Senator/Feudal Landlord to tell them that they need to do more about reducing garbage/emissions. Tell them the laws need to change. Write them again. And again. Keep telling them they’re not doing enough. Tell them they suck! Keep doing this until they threaten you with a restraining order.

4) Post a comment under the latest schralp video. Ask them what they do with their old tires once they wear them out.

5) Vote. Encourage your kids to vote. Encourage your parents to vote. Guilt your parents into voting on behalf of their grandkids needs, not for their own. Trick your coworkers into voting for the candidates you believe in.

6) Don't support companies that don't give a shit and that aren't doing anything to make things better. Tell them why you aren't supporting them. Keep telling them. Tell other people.

7) If you have the means, give some money to somebody, or a group of somebodies, that are doing something about something that you care about.*

8) Learn about where the things you use come from. Find out where the meat that you're going to eat less of is farmed. Ask restaurants what they do with their waste. Find out what your grocery store is doing with all their leftover food. Ask your bike shop about their recycling program. Be a giant pain in the ass and ask questions that people don't want you to.

We're heading into a new year. A new decade! In many ways, I feel terrible about our prospects, and I find myself having to work fairly hard to tamp down the bitterness, anger and contempt I feel towards much of our human race. On the bright side, this new decade will bring with it a new series of challenges that will demand creative solutions. If we're lucky, we will embrace this fertile ground of new ideas and opportunities. Perhaps we will be able to move away from our primary model of obsessive self flagellation and/or public shaming when people improperly add their farts to the windstorm? Maybe we'll move on to addressing the targets that have the largest impact on our future?

After all, seatbelts didn't originate with well meaning parents. Declining smoking levels weren't a result of individuals deciding to live a healthy lifestyle. The ozone layer didn't fix itself after a social media campaign. All of these major changes, and many others, came about due to scientific evidence, a coordinated will to make a change, and government backed leadership and enforcement. The best thing that we can do is help create the political capital and markets necessary to pursue the monumental shifts that are required. The best way we can do that is by loudly telling people what you care about and by speaking louder than the nonsense.

Sorry,

Uncle Dave

*Funny story...hours after I wrote this, Amnesty International knocked on my door. And I'm just like "Damn...this guy really knows what he's doing..."


Uncle Dave's Music Club

This song is the poster child of doing more with less. There’s barely anything here. A few strings humming along in the background. A thumping…shit…I don’t even know what instrument that is trolloping along. And then Angel, singing her heart out. What a great fucking song. Maybe there is hope for the human race?


A Prize?

Well Toyer, you've put us in a bit of a pickle. Normally we'd give a prize for a question Uncle Dave uses, but as I began writing that it seemed pretty weird. We weren't planning to giveW you a tank of diesel or a freshly felled old growth cedar, but it's a product that was made overseas, using raw materials, and consuming energy every step of the way. Like virtually every product mountain bikers use. So we're going to pass this one back to you.

20190129-BikeYokeRevive-0024.original.jpg

The BikeYoke Revive with the Reset Function is one of the best droppers we have reviewed.

You can choose a brand new BikeYoke Revive dropper post, acknowledged by many as one of the best droppers on the market, or you can reduce your carbon footprint. A little. If you feel you can't accept the Revive, given the spirit of your question, we will instead purchase 4 tonnes of Gold Standard Carbon Offsets on your behalf from LESS.ca.

We're not going to push you one way or another, we just thought you should make the call. Please give us your answer in the comments below.

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Comments

fartymarty
+20 Paul Lindsay Saša Stojanovic Tremeer023 Metacomet ManInSteel Skyler ZigaK kain0m Velocipedestrian Carlos Matutes cedrico LWK Greg Bly Cam McRae AJ Barlas Andrew Major mrbrett Niels DMVancouver Luix
fartymarty  - Dec. 11, 2019, 12:43 a.m.

How about in 2020 we focus on durability and repairability rather than weight and flashiness.  Support companies who still stock / manufacture parts for old products and make products that allow old parts to be re-purposed.  From recent experience i'm thinking of Hope and Hadley.

Also do you really need a new bike every two years?  Do you even need more than one or maybe two bikes???

Lastly some sage advice https://nsmb.com/articles/if-you-cant-ride-home-ride-somewhere/

Reply

Shoreloamer
+6 Cam McRae Tremeer023 AJ Barlas Carlos Matutes Niels Luix
Greg Bly  - Dec. 11, 2019, 11:28 a.m.

I logged in to upvote this comment. Our economy is based on buying material stuff and rejecting it the next year because it's not new and improved.  I live in this rich lavish culture and make modest attempts to reduce my impact on this planet. 

Think locally ,act globally is a gesture aimed at the individual making better choices . I believe collectively we all need to reduce our consumption of goods, ask for less packaging Most importantly Ride your Bike! If it's old it will still put a smile on your face.

Reply

slimshady76
0
Luix  - Dec. 12, 2019, 3:48 a.m.

Excellent comment. For instance, in the industry we all love and enjoy, the brands could stop pushing a new version of every model every single year. Santa Cruz does this IIRC. And then, we as consumers could stop buying nonrecyclable carbon crap and then trying to wash out the guilt by buying carbon offset credits...

Reply

Aidan747
0
Aidan747  - Dec. 17, 2019, 10:22 a.m.

Fully agree, and since I own an old bike and i can't afford to even look at a new one I will indeed repair and improve.

Also would be interesting to know some of the parent companies and funds running big bike brands, what other operations they support etc. Do they ethically source raw material yada yada...

Are there brands out there that need to be forced into being better corp. citizens?

Reply

slimshady76
+4 James Vasilyev Cam McRae Andrew Major mrbrett
Luix  - Dec. 11, 2019, 5:51 a.m.

Carbon offsets and "individual responsability" are two of the biggest lies in the climate change debate. I don't want to sound conspiranoic, but the media is constantly pushing on us to reduce our carbon footprint, constantly putting the burden on us consummers by telling us "every little bit counts", yet then the biggest companies in the world won't give a fuck about our global future. They just keep their old practices, merely because they yield the biggest profit.

To Toyer: I get it, you're concerned you won't have a trail to ride in the near future. Those are first world problems man. Most of the countries/people being blamed for the ocean plastic pollution have a high percentage of their population without access to safe water, a reasonable daily food intake or a safe house. Do you think they do consider how the fuck are they disposing their plastics? They have other stuff on their top priority list, such as living. 

Wanna "vote with your pocket"? Stop buying Apple products, they have earned a "green" reputation in the first world by "exporting" obsolete products to African/Eastern countries as GARBAGE. The computers/iPhones/etc they send there as "donations" are ruined beyond repairability before they leave their origin country. All there is left for the receivers of those "donations" is to scavange them for tiny amounts of recyclable metal, in hazardous and archaic ways.

As Dave says, if you want to have a word in the climate discussion, vote responsibly, back up political projects who do take the environmental aspect of our way of living into account (not snob NGO crap such as greenpeace!), and start or back up campaigns to force the big players in the game to earn a little bit, and start modernizing their production methods to reduce their carbon footprint.

Reply

mrbrett
+1 Luix
mrbrett  - Dec. 11, 2019, 7:10 a.m.

Re: Apple. I read a disturbing article in the Washington Post about how basically no Apple phones or tablets are recyclable. Made me think twice about my next device choice. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/09/11/explosive-problem-with-recycling-ipads-iphones-other-gadgets-they-literally-catch-fire/

Reply

heckler
+1 Luix
heckler  - Dec. 13, 2019, 5:47 p.m.

Apple?  Or devices in general?  Why do you need a 'next' device?  

(still using Ipad 3 and wife just upgraded her Iphone 4S to a broken screen Huwai chinese spyphone that she fixed herself)

Reply

slyfink
0
slyfink  - Dec. 11, 2019, 8:22 a.m.

I'm curious to know why you think Greenpeace is snobby and ineffective? As far as I can tell, they've kept the issues you speak of at the forefront of their work, keeping it on the political radar, and educating the public at large about the issues. without their work and efforts, I wonder how "mainstream" knowledge of climate change, pollution, and plastics would be?

Reply

slimshady76
+1 Cam McRae
Luix  - Dec. 11, 2019, 8:47 a.m.

Good question. My position with regards to most of the impact tactics Greenpeace exhibits has to do precisely with those tactics. While they might give you some peace of mind and ease the guilt of buying new fancy stuff, they have no real push. They haven't backed any major program or improved the quality of life of any significant part of the population. Most of their budget is allocated to propaganda.

Even worst, they have convinced the inventors of several efficient and eco-friendly technlogies to yield their patents to the organization, and if you want to implement them you have to pay them royalties. So much for benefitting the most affected by the climate change at a global scale.

Let's not talk about the many harassment cases inside greenpeace, and how awfully their global directorate has tried to cover them by ghosting and firing the affected persons. Almost like the catolic church!! Or how these asshats ruined the Nazca lines, or the Great Coral Reef... I could go on and on.

Wanna put your money where your mouth is? Support a local organization, or even better, involve and support candidates who privilege the climate change agenda. Dave gives excellent clues about how to proceed in his piece.

Reply

slimshady76
0
Luix  - Dec. 11, 2019, 8:47 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

cam@nsmb.com
+5 Aidan747 Poz Skyler Pete Roggeman Luix
Cam McRae  - Dec. 11, 2019, 9:55 a.m.

Well done people. I had a feeling this would be a well-informed and reasonable discussion. I'm  certainly biased but I think we have the most intelligent and informed commenters in mountain biking.

Reply

nouseforaname
+3 Poz Luix Pete Roggeman
Nouseforaname  - Dec. 11, 2019, 10:31 a.m.

Sorry Cam.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2 Aidan747 Luix
Pete Roggeman  - Dec. 11, 2019, 1:37 p.m.

You're allowed a dissenting opinion! Especially one that is thoughtful and backed up by facts instead of just bluster. Plus, it's a complicated, messy debate - seeing things from multiple viewpoints is critical to better understanding. Thanks for contributing.

Reply

cooperquinn
+5 Jan Pete Roggeman Andy Eunson Niels Greg Bly
Cooper Quinn  - Dec. 11, 2019, 10:04 a.m.

Wanna reduce your carbon footprint? Drive (and fly) less. 

https://phys.org/news/2017-07-effective-individual-tackle-climate-discussed.html

Reply

velocipedestrian
+1 Luix
Velocipedestrian  - Dec. 12, 2019, 12:51 p.m.

Nice infographic Cooper.

A combination of righteous glow and guilt, as usual. Too late to have one fewer child, but we have no cars, and seldom fly.

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Dec. 12, 2019, 1:14 p.m.

"A combination of righteous glow and guilt, as usual. "

???

Reply

velocipedestrian
0
Velocipedestrian  - Dec. 13, 2019, 12:35 p.m.

Parenting.

Reply

Tremeer023
0
Tremeer023  - Dec. 12, 2019, 12:59 p.m.

This chart demonstrates that the real problem is the exponential growth in global population which has nearly doubled in the last 70 years or so (from less than 4bn to around 8bn today).  Either we find a way of humanely controlling the population or the planet will eventually do it for us inhumanely. 

Problem is that this point of view is hugely antisocial.  It's no vote winner either.  Imagine "oh, you're having a baby? Congratulations.  Well I say congratulations, what I really mean is ugh, another human on the planet..."  

It's going to be the biggest issue eventually.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Dec. 12, 2019, 10:57 p.m.

Population may not be the villain common sense suggests it is. And the problem may be correcting itself. At least according to this article. 

https://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/population-why-its-a-dangerous-distraction-on-climate-change-and-makes-us-feel-uncomfortable/

Reply

Tremeer023
+1 Cam McRae
Tremeer023  - Dec. 13, 2019, 1:08 a.m.

Hmmm, good article although 10 years old now.  It will be interesting to see what the global population is in 2050 (the article predicts around 9bn), and whether we have the resources to feed everyone without resorting to GM. 

I would concede though it is probably consumption (the desire for a westernised lifestyle) that is actually the biggest problem.  I guess it is right that the solution has to start with us privilaged westerners.

Reply

pepperjerome1
0
pepperjerome1  - Dec. 13, 2019, 7:57 a.m.

Well, I can't unborn my children so it brings up the question that unfortunately we can't do much about population growth. Unless you think about war or a plague that would kill a significant portion of the population. Our planet will see issues of food and water shortages and continue to see people migrating away from the tropics since it will be too hot and too dry to grow enough food. 

So how do we address population growth?

that to me is a bigger issue than shaming first world problems.

Reply

muldman
0
muldman  - Dec. 16, 2019, 10:59 a.m.

Check out the site & book Drawdown. 

https://www.drawdown.org/solutions-summary-by-rank

"Family Planning" is in the top-10 overall solutions as listed.

"Securing women’s right to voluntary, high-quality family planning around the world would have powerful positive impacts on the health, welfare, and life expectancy of both women and their children. It also can affect greenhouse gas emissions.

225 million women in lower-income countries say they want the ability to choose whether and when to become pregnant but lack the necessary access to contraception. The need persists in some high-income countries as well, including the United States where 45 percent of pregnancies are unintended. Currently, the world faces a $5.3 billion funding shortfall for providing the access to reproductive healthcare that women say they want to have."

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morgan-heater
0
Morgan Heater  - Dec. 11, 2019, 10:20 a.m.

Yep, systemic change is required.

1. Carbon neutral electric grid.

2. No more fossil fuel heating in buildings.

3. No more fossil fuel transportation.

4. Reforestation.

5. All packaging biodegradable.

etc.

None of these can be implemented by individuals, but all are absolutely required if we want to take a step back from the brink.

Reply

mawa12
+4 ManInSteel Luix cedrico Pete Roggeman
Matthias Wasmer  - Dec. 11, 2019, 12:21 p.m.

1. Check

2. Check

3. 50% check because I use my bike for commuting (yes, even in winter with snow on the roads)

4. planted 3 trees in the last 5 years. Probably does not count as reforestation

5. we are changing a lot in that aspect. We reduced plastic bags to nearly zero. 

A lot of that stuff is doable for individuals. We are just too lazy and we like our way of life. We don't want to end traveling. We want big houses with double garages to get 2 SUVs parked.

Reply

nouseforaname
+2 Andrew Major Luix
Nouseforaname  - Dec. 11, 2019, 10:30 a.m.

We are pulling people out of extreme poverty at an unprecedented rate (which is amazing and cool, given that the level for which 'extreme poverty' is set would have you living almost twice as well as someone in the UK 120 years ago). That was a country that had the largest economy in the world and a globe spanning empire. 

This is happening thanks to the industrialization of the two most populous nations on earth. Without curbing their natural desire to have what we have, there is no meaningful way to achieve what self conscious hand wringing types like TOYER (shouldn't it be TOSYER - too close to what I think perhaps) want.

US and EU Co2 emissions are 10% lower than they were a decade ago - that's improvement overall right? How is that # for the two countries I mentioned? And how has that happened?

We either end that improvement of life for residents of those two big countries - driven by their desire for the same goods and services we have; as they don't care about the environment 'enough', or we deal with the consequences. At this point, probably not much short of global thermonuclear war will do it. As a plus the nuclear winter will reduce 'rising temperatures' and 'icebergs melting' etc and send us back to pre industrial revolution temperatures. Win/win for the environment (? fallout might be an issue), and I'm pretty sure the XR folks would be happy at last.

Off shoring manufacturing so that we can have endless plastic shit at Christmas, Easter, Halloween and any time we want a cheap geegaw has got us into this situation. We have supercharged those previously 'have not' economies and now we are wringing our hands about the results. And pretending we can fix it from 10,000 miles away - how privileged patriarchal is THAT idea?

We either force those countries to clean up their act, or suffer the consequences globally. And telling individuals in the 'west' that is is their responsibility to manage is about as Stalinist an idea as I can come up with.

We have built China's economy with massive trade imbalances, desire for cheap shit, and ignoring for decades their  breaking of global rules and norms because it suits those making money from the situation. Now they and India are in the driving seat of global pollution what are we going to do about it? Make A+W use paper straws? Nice one! 2.7 BILLION polluters. The population of Europe AND the USA doesn't account for half that #.

Now India is getting in on the act - they've doubled their CO2 output in 10 years, but they are still only 25% of what China is at now. Their population growth is not slowing.

The good news is that China's population is stabilizing. So maybe we won't tip over 10 billion.

Reap the whirlwind.

With apologies in advance to Cam and Dave for being such a 'redneck'.

Reply

cooperquinn
+6 ManInSteel Skyler Estade Andrew Major Niels Luix
Cooper Quinn  - Dec. 11, 2019, 10:45 a.m.

China exports over $2 Trillion a year in manufactured good; part of the reason the US and EU have been able to reduce emissions is that we've just farmed them out overseas. 

This piece is a bit old, but still relevant for the basic concept and math. 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/anaswanson/2014/11/12/heres-one-thing-the-us-does-export-to-china-carbon-dioxide/

Reply

nouseforaname
+2 Andrew Major Cooper Quinn
Nouseforaname  - Dec. 11, 2019, 11:09 a.m.

Absolutely - that is a point I made above. 

From the article you linked, the US is responsible for 5% of China's CO2, using their logic. 16% of total CO2 emissions were related to exports. That still leaves 84% that is related to their internal economy that is ripe for them to resolve without harming their external economic bottom line. If you want their economic bottom line to continue.

If we have 10 (or 12 or whatever) years left - how many of those years will go by before meaningful change happens in the countries that are producing the worlds CO2? The ball is in their court. 

But they can't play it because doing so would destroy their internal economies. The only reason the Communist Party is still in charge in China is that they are able to point to a real legacy of improvement (for most - don't ask the Uighurs or any of the political prisoners, or anybody executed whose family was billed for the bullet) that is unchallenged. If that legacy of improvement is threatened (either internally or externally) they will have no future.

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Dec. 11, 2019, 11:33 a.m.

Yeah, I was agreeing with much of what you said. 

My other point would be though, that on a global scale "poor people" have a low carbon footprint; this is where we as (relatively) rich consumers come in. The footprint of our lifestyles is MASSIVE comparatively - and as much as people love to point at 'but [pick a number] of big corporations produce [insert large percentage] of global emissions!!!!!'.... thats because people are pickin' up what they're throwin' down. If there wasn't a market for whatever they were producing, or moving.... guess what.

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nouseforaname
+1 Luix
Nouseforaname  - Dec. 11, 2019, 12:55 p.m.

@Cooper

Poor people *do* have a smaller carbon footprint  - but there's 100x more of them (China + India) as there are of us, and we are paying to pull their people out of poverty at a faster rate than at any time in history. So those 'poor people' are soon going to be no longer poor, but contributing just as much per capita (perhaps more) as we are. 

And they want the same lifestyles we have - and why shouldn't they? Te approved method seems to be that we should destroy our lifestyle/economy to build theirs? We have imposed increasingly onerous burdens on businesses until they give it the Bill Murray, throw their hands in the say and say "Fuck it, I'm out." Only for that same product to return to the market, made in some country that cares more about the quality of life of it's citizens than virtue signalling against big corporations. Quebec has a moratorium against Alberta oil, but imports millions of gallons from a country half way around the world with an appalling human rights record.

To now offload responsibility back onto us, and pretend that we should reduce our carbon footprint to their level because they have a lower per capita number (for now)  is sophistry. Destroy our economies so they can prosper, don't have kids so that they can have kids, ride a bike to work so they can have factories. The message only sticks because it suits the millenarian doom and gloomer inside the guilt ridden and shamed Western world. We love to worry about the end of the world because we don't have enough real things to worry about any more. Plus you can make good money to push the message. Little different in that regard to Y2K.

@Cam - if in 2012 China's CO2 output was only 16% directed to goods shipped overseas, do they have a responsibility to clean up the other 84%? If we have reduced our CO2 output by 10% , and they have doubled theirs in the last 10 years, who is needing to step up their game? It's not finger wagging, but expecting a level playing field. You seem to be suggesting that because we bankrolled their economy, we're responsible for offsetting it? Again - how long should we wait for them to get it under control if we only have 12 years?

We can't have it both ways - either you care for the environment and the worlds biggest polluters need to accept the same curtailments we have pushed on us (and that's going to suck big time for the people who live there). And by extension, stop preaching to the choir TOYER. Or accept that by not addressing the big dogs in the room, it's nothing but theatre and the equivalent to environmental 'thoughts and prayers'. Except thoughts and prayers don't cost us money out of every paycheck.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/jul/18/china-average-europe-carbon-footprint < Again 2012, but where is it now?

Sorry - slow day...

Reply

cooperquinn
+2 ZigaK Andy Eunson
Cooper Quinn  - Dec. 11, 2019, 3:47 p.m.

"So those 'poor people' are soon going to be no longer poor, but contributing just as much per capita (perhaps more) as we are."

So maybe we should be leaders? There's zero reasons we need to "destroy our economy" to lower our footprint, or that other countries can't become greener while continuing to improve their quality of life and grow their economy other than that the will isn't there. The world has the means and tech. 

Is it going to be cheap? Nope. Can we afford the alternative? Definitely not.

brente
0
brente  - Dec. 11, 2019, 7:34 p.m.

So the best thing to do for the world is to stop all trade with China and India until their populations reach a reasonable level, let's say 300 million people each thereby not only curing the world population growth but also curing the supposedCO2  problem by removing 3+ billion exhales every couple of seconds.

slimshady76
+1 Niels
Luix  - Dec. 12, 2019, 3:35 a.m.

You made some very good points, but again, even when holding the consummers responsible is way easier (and works its way up our brains from our hearts way easier!), it's the corporate/industry practices the ones in need of change.

We, as a global society, are producing consummable goods for twice the population we have today. A significant part of that production gets scraped/destroyed even before reaching the consummer. Take the cell phone market as an example, a couple of seasons ago Sony decided to completely destroy three new phone models already produced and ready to hit the retail stores, because their destination market niche was already saturated by the time they were ready to sell them. Wanna talk about carbon footprint? Take that sole example and take the time to chew on it and digest it. How much energy/resources were wasted in the production process? How much in the scraping? All for a product which never got used. Then we act surprised when we end up with military coups as the one in Bolivia, because we need more lythium for our battery-powered future.

These corportate practices are way more common than you would think. And yet, we have the urge pushed on us -as the lowest step of the consummer pyramid- to be responsible for these practices we cannot directly control. Unless we choose our representatives wisely.

cam@nsmb.com
+3 ZigaK Niels Greg Bly
Cam McRae  - Dec. 11, 2019, 11:10 a.m.

It's a reasonable argument and well presented. That's all I ask really. But the whole, 'we fucked shit up and now you've got to fix it for us' argument is a bit rich. Particularly when those countries are fucking it up for our benefit. Obviously we need the two most populous nations on earth on side if things are going to turn around, but wagging a finger at them when their per capita impact remains a fraction of ours is unlikely to produce  any result.

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peterbhorne
+2 Cam McRae cedrico
Peter Horne  - Dec. 11, 2019, 12:49 p.m.

Dear Cam and Uncle Dave,

Yep, and to quote the Hollywood eco-warrior Leonardo di Caprio "I concur" with what you say; be an unfucker and question everyone about everything. 

This approach has won me, numerous friends, you get to show videos of dolphins being dragged through fishing net winches to anyone eating tuna at your table in the dining hall, or show teenage students that "Follow the frog" video that the Rainforest Alliance made. 

Anyhow, thank you for sharing these ideas, only it turns out, you've set me a trap. On Sunday my 3 year old Reverb stopped working. . . 

Still, I'll go for the carbon offsets and just ask you guys if your tech editors have any hot tips on sorting Reverbs that don't work in the cold.

Ciao!

Toyer

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 cedrico
Pete Roggeman  - Dec. 11, 2019, 1:36 p.m.

Toyer, you were indeed bushwhacked. Send an email to pete at nsmb dot com and we can try to get Andrew to help out your Reverb and go from there ;)

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JVP
+2 Luix Cam McRae
JVP  - Dec. 12, 2019, 6:19 p.m.

Yeah that was one helluva trap. Dude, take the damn 'yoke. 

And then rebuild the Reverb and give it to someone who would otherwise buy a cheapo post. Throwing shit away would be part of the problem. Own the fact that we're consumers, we all live luxurious lives, be OK taking a nice post. Lets reduce our consumption, but also not pretend we're righteous. 

If your only problem is that it won't work in the cold, put your fluid in the freezer and bleed the remote with cold fluid. Depending on which version of the old Reverb you're on, it should work.

If you have the squishy top 15mm problem, it needs an IFP bleed. Not super easy, but not too hard if you've ever bled a fork damper and you're handy like that.

If it's generally screwed, a full rebuild kit is available that has an improved IFP. I've done it a few times. A few special tools may be needed depending on which version. 

Or if that's too much, pay a local shop $170 (USA cost) to rebuild the Reverb and then give it to someone. 

But seriously, take the Bike Yoke. Learn to rebuild stuff, skip beef for a while or forever, but don't be pressured into being a hero. The bigger picture is what matters.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 JVP
Cam McRae  - Dec. 13, 2019, 10:43 a.m.

We're going to make that happen JVP.

peterbhorne
0
Peter Horne  - Jan. 30, 2020, 1:10 p.m.

I rebuilt the Reverb. The refurb kit came the same day as the Bike Yoke. The Bike Yoke is pure bike porn. Just in case anyone was wondering.

Anyone wanna 125 Reverb for 100 bucks!?

slimshady76
+2 cedrico Cam McRae
Luix  - Dec. 12, 2019, 2:59 p.m.

You're pulling India and other developing countries too high on your list. If you want to correctly measure the carbon footprint of each nation, you should do it on a per capita basis. If you do it that way, the true identity of the biggest offenders appear clearly. 

https://naukas.com/2019/12/11/cambio-climatico-o-cambio-global/ (use Google translate, it's totally worth it).

Just a small sample, via a graphic from that same article:

This graphic shows the main part, leaving out the biggest polluters (those countries of the Arabic peninsula) and the lower part of the scale. Germany, for instance, has the biggest carbon powered electric centrals in Europe. And as you can see, India and China are far behind Canada, USA, Germany and Australia when you divide the total emissions over the total population.

Again, translate that article I posted above. It's totally worth it.

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brente
-1 Luix
brente  - Dec. 13, 2019, 7:53 p.m.

Right like I said China and India need to cut their population to around 300 million and suddenly there's no problem. Maybe we could get them to go to war with each other...big win for the planet.

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brente
0
brente  - Jan. 30, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

Downvote it all you like but if China and India lost their approx 4 billion extra people there would be 20,440,000,000 tons less carbon in the atmosphere each year just from there missing exhalations. So unless you are able to face that reality all the world's talk of alternate energy and all the carbon taxes on us is pure useless garbage because in reality the biggest possible causes aren't even being discussed.

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cedrico
+1 Cooper Quinn Luix brente
cedrico  - Dec. 11, 2019, 2:06 p.m.

Dave makes a good point about the need for systemic change. Our government is practically in charge of this type of change. A great starting point for having our government enact environmentally-friendly systemic change is to have them listen to what Canadians like us want. This past federal election, about 7% of Canadians voted for the Green Party and yet only 1% of members of parliament (these people create laws) are with the Green Party. This is because we have a dysfunctional voting system called first-past-the-post. The alternatives are proportional representation voting sytems, which would've given us the 7% Green Party MPs that we should've had. The NDP party is also under-represented because of first-past-the-post. How do we change our voting system to a proportional representation voting system? You can start by signing this declaration by Fairvote Canada. If you're extra keen, also sign this petition for a citizens' assembly for voting system reform. Thanks for the awesome article, Dave.

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brente
0
brente  - Dec. 11, 2019, 7:29 p.m.

If we had proportional representation, we'd have the same useless shit show that almost every European country has. No Thanks

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fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Dec. 11, 2019, 10:44 p.m.

My issue with PR is you end up with lots of parties that must for coalitions to form a government.  Then they never agree and nothing gets done.  We were living in Sweden during one election and it took months for a government to be formed.  

FPP is no better.  We are voting in the UK today and it is a 2 party race however my gut feeling is neither will get a majority so will need to form a coalition government.

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velocipedestrian
0
Velocipedestrian  - Dec. 12, 2019, 12:26 a.m.

PR has it's downsides for sure. We have a joke about everyone putting their ballots in the box, then throwing them in the sea and letting Winston Peters choose the government.

On the other hand, we do have Green ministers in the house.

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fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Dec. 12, 2019, 2:29 a.m.

LOL on the Winny comment (expat Kiwi living in UK).

I don't think PR is a bad thing and remember in being introduced in NZ.  It is better for parties like the Greens as they would never win a seat under FPP.

I am happy with any system that has a bigger environmental focus.  We need to move to a more holistic view of our actions as nations, not just focus on the economic.

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cedrico
+1 Cooper Quinn
cedrico  - Dec. 12, 2019, 5:34 a.m.

@brente Could you elaborate on what shit show you're referring to and how it's more important to avoid it than to have a government that represents its people's will?

Over 80% of OECD countries use a proportional voting system, and none of them are moving back to first-past-the-post.

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brente
0
brente  - Dec. 12, 2019, 6:06 a.m.

That's because their collection of loonie parties would never give up their little piece of the pie just so that something real could ever get done. Europe is dying because of its inability to control the refugee problem because of the lack of a strong united government. and their economies are in a shambles because of government being pulled in every dirrection by special interest groups, each which has a few of their own pet representitives.

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nouseforaname
0
Nouseforaname  - Dec. 12, 2019, 7:20 a.m.

You forgot to mention - constantly tinkering with whatever PR system they have to 'tweak it to work better'.

You want parties with single focus, and special interests everywhere - vote PR. For every Green Party, you'll end up with an AFD. And still nothing getting done.

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cedrico
+1 Niels
cedrico  - Dec. 12, 2019, 3:37 p.m.

Here's evidence that contradicts your statements about nothing getting done because of PR (source):
_"[...]__ Looking at a number of specific indicators, Lijphart found that in countries using proportional systems: _

  • Voter turnout was higher by 7.5 percentage points, when contextual factors are taken into account.
  • Government policies were closer to the view of the median voter.
  • Citizens were more satisfied with the performance of their countries’ democratic institutions, even when the party they voted for was not in power.
  • There was a small increase in the number of parties in Parliament.
  • The share of women elected to legislators was 8 percentage points higher.
  • Scores were higher on measures of political participation and civil liberties"

And some more data, specifically about the environment (source):

"Countries with proportional systems tend to act more quickly and do more to protect the environment. These countries:

  • Acted earlier to protect the environment
  • Scored higher on the environmental protection index
  • Slowed the growth of CO2 emissions five times more effectively
  • Have made 117% greater use of renewable sources of energy."

Correlation does not equal causation, but still, the correlation is strong, and it helps that it's supported by theory (most political scientists support proportional representation voting systems).

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cedrico
0
cedrico  - Dec. 12, 2019, 3:37 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

kain0m
+4 ManInSteel Jan Luix fartymarty
kain0m  - Dec. 11, 2019, 11:45 p.m.

The very simple fact is that no matter what we try to do and improve the impact of what we do, the impact is going to be marginal. The only way to have a real impact is to simply consume less and reduce travel and transport. If we continue to ship stuff half way round the world because it is ten cents cheaper than producing locally, we'll never get a real improvement.

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Hollytron
0
Hollytron  - Dec. 14, 2019, 9:52 a.m.

Ok here is my crazy idea. 

So we pull a bunch of petroleum out of the earth all of the time. We are also buried under ever increasing piles of plastic products that are breaking down and causing all sorts of unforseen issues. 

Plastic is petroleum. We burn petroleum as an energy source and are going to continue for quite a while. Why not burn the plastics? 

Yes there will be engineering hurdles to make sure its not more of an environmental disaster and the owners of the petroleum complex will hate it. 

But really why not use an essentially free fuel source. Its kind of a twofer energy wise almost like energy recycling.

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muldman
0
muldman  - Dec. 16, 2019, 11:05 a.m.

There is a company in Alberta turning waste plastic into diesel fuel.

https://globalnews.ca/news/5485698/alberta-refinery-waste-to-biodiesel/

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robbmatox
0
robbmatox  - Jan. 14, 2020, 5:31 a.m.

When it comes to the carbon folding bike, the weight of the bike may remain as a big matter of concern for you. Well, in this department, such a bike seems to be delivering help or its users. As the frame of the bike is made from the carbon fiber-like material, the overall weight of the bike has been reduced significantly. So, this allows you to carry the bike without any hassle once you fold it.

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