Bike Polo X Climate Change

Yo
Is climate change / climate activism a topic that is being talked about at all in our community at all or am I just not at the right tournaments / group chats etc? :slight_smile:

It feels like patriarchy is quite a topic as well as discrimination against minorities, animal rights are to a certain degree- but climate change & ecology not so much…
To be clear, an issue ‘being a topic’ is a first step, no more.

The fact we are talking about patriarchy obviously makes sense in a mixed gender sport, and food ethics are relevant for tourney organisation. Still I am puzzled that I rarely ever hear someone ponder the ethics of flying / driving to tournaments and it seems to me like it’s the most normal and natural thing in this community:
In 2018 the world average was 700km of air travel per person. One round trip from Salt Lake City to Perpignag would be over 17000km if the plane flew in a straight line.
The average Indian person flew 80km that year, a spanish person would do 4350km, or more than the indian would in 50 years. And don’t let me get into cars…

Why is it we are not discussing these points: is no one really thinking about it or is it just a matter of pure ‘personal choice’ and considered rude to even bring it up - that is how I feel often.

I feel like polo is a farily western dominated middle class sport. We are on average quite priviledged people. Do y’all ever get the feeling of partying on a boat that is sinking?
It doesn’t make me any more optimistic to see this scene, that I want to be what Hermann Gremliza called an ‘imaginable future proletariate’, a class that knows and reflects its place in the global pyramid, one that knows it is the one % AND the 99%, acts like a bunch of self indulging hedonists at times. Not excluding myself here.

tl;dr: wheres my eco activists at?

10 Likes

I’m totally on board with you. I already hate how much flying I do for my job. So I will always try and take a train to a tournament since the infrastructures here. Back in North America, there is no way could I take a train to half the tournaments I would have loved to go too.

I do find it ironic that folks will fly to and from a bike polo tournaments; where they spent days riding a bike in circles.

I think trains need subsidized, because it’s often cheaper to fly than take a train. But good luck getting the airlines to back the fuck down.

1 Like

Hi!

I think it is super important that as a community we can open a debate thread regarding this problem.
I completely understand and have even experienced the famous “eco-anxiety”. Starting from the fact that our mere existence and everything that human beings do has a negative impact on the ecosystem, since it is impossible to be perfectly sustainable.

Regarding what you mention about the emissions we generate to move from one tournament to another, we could focus on how to compensate for that carbon footprint.
One of the solutions to this is reforestation. There are many ONGs that are in charge of this and even carry out collective plantations.
Maybe in each tournament allocate a percentage of the registration to donate native trees to an ONGs? Or do it ourselves?
I really do not know.

There are many pages that measure the carbon footprint.

It occurs to me to brainstorm ideas to see how to approach this topic.
Starting from actions that are within our reach and not super trite and blown ideas that only generate more anguish and anxiety.

I used google translator. Saludos :slight_smile:

6 Likes

I relate to this a lot. Thanks for bringing this up and Leila for the proposal straight away. I’d love to know the real impact of carbon print offset solutions. I can’t help to feel this is a fake solution… but my knowledge of this is subpar so I’d really like if someone had data to share.

I think the FOMO linked to major events such as Euros/Worlds/NAs etc has a lot to do with this. If we had more opportunities to be involved in high level tournaments locally, like the London Invitational/Open, Greiffmasters, used to be for exemple. Maybe we wouldn’t feel like we need to go prove ourselves on the other side of the world. Good streaming and content like the fixcraft tournament did was a great way to give worldwide notice to the players and teams. Maybe there is something here.

I’ve had my fair share of long travel polo related flights, so I don’t mean to lecture anyone on this. I’m just trying to see how I want to behave from now on as a polo player. Train for sure is the obvious solution.

6 Likes

Hey folks!

See, I already feel a bit better :slight_smile:
I was low key expecting zero replies…
I don‘t know what‘s right and what‘s wrong for each person - I just want people to talk about it so I feel a little less like ‚don‘t look up‘

And I do think IF this community recognizes an issue, we can find very strong answers!

While organizing the Euros in Zürich, I tried to do what should happen in any free market that‘s controlled by society/ politics:
Internalizing those external costs of pollution-
registration was simply higher if you came by plane or in a not fully loaded car. So my solutions would probably be along those lines, kinda like @nepenthesbaphomet said with the subsidies just upside down…it‘s not a fair solition, even if you made a fund for those who can‘t afford long distance travelling, but then there probably are no fair solutions.

Use that cash for compensation @leila ? Sure, why not. I‘m sure there are enough good projects, just maybe have to find em ourselves :slight_smile:

I mean realistically speaking we just can‘t afford to use as many ressources on average, so any solution should probably make us travel less. And the only way to get there while keeping polo alive would be to grow, so we can have more local tournies at all levels like @Woods said.
Which would mean investing in clubs, newbs, all that comes with it…
I remember when basically nobody at our club played tournaments, let alone abroad and so the first time someone came back from like rouen, it might as well have been wladiwostok, as special as that felt.
So I wouldnt be scared about feeling like that again…

1 Like

Hi everyone, I think this is a really good thread of discussion, thank you for this.

I think there is a real issue too but I think many players are already trying to find as many solutions as they can. In a few weeks, I’ll do something I’ve never done before : I’ll take a plane to participate in Cairo’s tournament. I always take the train (and only sometimes the car with as many players we can put in) to go play a tournament (or even to go anywhere). I had a really hard time chosing between: “no max, you can’t do it, don’t fly to Cairo” and “ok, this is the first time, probably the last time you’ll do this, enjoy”. I think a lot of players think this, not everyone but I have this feeling.

Anyway, I think the reforestation solution is a nice idea but also, I would like that tournament organizers to think about this issue. For instance, in Rouen for the Epiphanie, we cooked all the (fully vegan) food (like Bordeaux did), we used eco cups and asked players to bring their own, we sold only local beer, we refused

I might have found an answer to my question about carbon offset :

The biggest problem with carbon offsetting is that it doesn’t really work

It’s all in the title.

The focus of the article is on multinational companies, which of course shield themselves and justify themselves by saying that they offset their footprint, knowing full well that this is unlikely to be the case. And disguising themselves as green companies. Where your only objective is to generate more profits year after year regardless of the consequences that may have.

“Many companies use offsetting to appear environmentally friendly, even when their entire business is based on burning fossil fuels”

I’m not saying that reforesting is the only solution to this whole mess but it is definitely part of the solution.
They are large carbon sinks along with the oceans!!
Blessed mother earth!!

What you mention seems very valuable to me @MaxLeChef
To prevent this topic from overwhelming us and we simply move on from it, it is important that our approach be local, with things that we have within our reach.

In this case, the bike polo calls us.
When organizing a tournament, how sustainable can it be?
Do I offer groceries or drinks in disposable containers?
Do I offer local, low-scale products?
For those people who smoke, do we have cigarette butt baskets to prevent them from throwing them on the floor? (Mini toxic bombs)
Are the prizes delivered in reused bags?
Do I communicate and involve those participating in the tournament about these decisions or the positive impact they may have?
Surely there is much more to add.

2 Likes

Hi there!

I happen to work in the carbon management segment, so I am very glad to see this discussion here :wink:

Try not to get into being ashamed of realizing your dreams, for three reasons.

Firstly, it’s not your fault as an end user. You may have heard that the term “carbon footprint” was coined by British Petroleum to shift responsibility onto consumers. This tactic has been followed by numerous other marketing ploys aimed at making individuals feel guilty instead of holding companies accountable for their practices. Trust me, even the most passionate climate activists can find themselves baffled by this kind of messaging.

Secondly, tournaments don’t happen every day. If you opt for train travel over flying once or twice a year, that’s commendable. The issue lies with the flawed system, not with people who simply want to travel. In Poland, for example, while all trains are electric, most of our grid is still fueled by coal. The transition to cleaner energy sources is happening, albeit slowly. Technically speaking, everything from trains to e-bikes to Teslas is currently coal-driven in Poland. Achieving carbon neutrality is nearly impossible unless you live in an Earthship and never travel. Just do your best – we need millions who are good enough, not thousands who live ideally.

Thirdly, enjoy the world (responsibly) while we can. Unless there’s a significant shift, we’re losing the climate battle. The world as we know it may not be around for much longer – we’re talking about just a couple of decades, not centuries. So, let’s cherish what we have while we still can. Aim to reduce your carbon footprint by adopting a plant-based diet and opting for low-emission commuting and travel. Remember, think globally, act locally – otherwise, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with despair.

Now, about the article (@Woods) – it’s true that the carbon market has its flaws. Transparency, accountability, double counting, and disappearing projects have been ongoing issues. However, there are many worthwhile projects out there that deserve support. With around 170 types of carbon offsets available, you’re not limited to just tree-planting initiatives. And given the current state of our energy mix, offsetting some emissions that we can’t yet avoid is necessary. A reputable carbon offset project operator will always encourage avoidance over offsetting – after all, it’s easier to prevent than to cure.

:heart:

12 Likes

Thanks a lot this is really useful !

2 Likes

What I don‘t like about compensation is this idea that we all get a certain ‚share‘ of emissions, when actually it doesn‘t matter if some people polute more than others, only the total matters and the needs might be very different between people- I have never really tasted flying, so it‘s probably a lot more easy not to do it for me than for others…

So fuck the guilt trip that compensation often implies, medieval catholic church style.
That being said: are there beautiful projects that do work and can certainly use money?
Definitely. I wouldn‘t limit to reforestation tho.

@kielsznia agree with a lot. but eating the tuna while they are still around? IIiii don’t know. You do you, I sleep better trying not to be part of this madness too much. And this carbon footprint stuff?
I would like to distinguish between guilt (bad) and acknowleding responsability (good). You are not guilty in any way, but your actions do matter, so you should do what you can.
My sister is a journalist and just wrote an article about this, in german unfortnuately:

(on her website for paywall reasons :wink:)
We are social beings- it’s not just your own emissions…a certain bike polo world champ proved to me that vegans can be cool and have fun in life, for example, without talking to me about it at all!

And finally: none of our great-grandparents climbed the himalaya or went to some sport event on the other side of the world. They probably didnt own a car or eat meat every day either. were they unhappy because of that? So to me it doesn’t feel so cool being part of the one generation that uses easyjet and fucks everything up. just my 2 cents tho

again, big up to all of you here, I’m not aloneee yaaaay :cat:

5 Likes

Hey,

Well it is a wide topic !
Climate change includes a lot of externalities.
As the initial post is about travelling, I guess we talk about global warming/greenhouse gases.

Not (at all)* agree with your speech @kielsznia.
There is a future nobody want to see, and to me there is absolutely no point to 1. Blame others (whoever it is, company etc…) and 2. Call to enjoy while doing your “best”.
You unwritten conclusion looks like a call for a statu quo (waiting for solution), isn’t it? Partying on a sinking boat.
(Yet i am happy you flew to büppel to meet :relaxed:)

Companies too, do their “best”**, in every sense. Implement new regulations, while lobbying so that the change is still manageable :grin: while blaming the others, the consumers.

But hey, I’m quite radical.
I have a different mindset. I changed my lifestyle without waiting for solutions. (I.e left my well payed job in automotive industry for cyclo logistics, became veggie, no flight/no car for a few years now, and activist on the Belgian scene)

Now, regarding the polo scene, for me, it’s the same as the flinta discussion:
1- For sure polo isn’t responsible for the context (it is historical) yet, do we want polo to set a direction in it’s sphere of influence ? do it’s best to change the future, making tomorrow’s footprint better than yesterday’s ?

2- if yes, then let’s start about setting some rules/ incentives promoting footprint reduction (event supplies, player’s travel are exemples).

But it has to start from the mindset, point 1. Then it follows, at whatever level, before being a new standard.

*At all between brackets because the only point I agree is, yes indeed, we’re going to a wall. And the only rule that seems to lead us is “sauve qui peut” (every man for himself ?)
PS: no surprise the inequality explodes, good luck with that, history as a loooot of exemples
PS2: no surprise the 2nd biggest fight after greenhouse gaz is climate justice :grin: acc. the UN
(And that also why the comparison of flight distance by @flat_humour is so meaningful!)

** 50% of my job was product development but the other 50% I was working on the environmental footprint calculation and future strategy. I was mainly working with metals (engine components) Believe me, converting the whole industry to anything greener within 10years is a hell of a challenge (technically feasible, but not within this time frame).
Why ? Because trillions of tons are necessary every years.
It’s not an easy swap, it represents a looooot of money and time (to change the energy type at all levels, mining, smelting, manufacturing, while being able to produce this new energy in sufficient quantities).
Meanwhile, we sell/we buy cars that are heavier and heavier… Because there is a automatic trunk opening, or a light to help you find the door ahah (well done automotive lobbying, for "helping EU to set a co2/kg target :sweat_smile:)
And today when I say this to friends they are like "oh you exagerate, that’s so useful "
Well my grandmother walked everyday 2x3km to school, her parents used the car like twice a month to go to the city without an automatic trunk and guess what, she’s alive (not the parents ahah), she’s 85 and I think an automatic trunk, heated seats, electric mirror or other piece of today’s comfort/luxury technology would have changed anything.
And by the way science says the opposite, as people become more and more sedentary. i.e life expectancy reduced last year in America for the first time in a century !

So here is my conclusion: the thing with the biggest impact that can work right now, is lowering consumption.
And obviously I’m not the only one to think that way, that’s why 3R (reuse, recycle, repair) / the Lansink scale are so in focus by EU.

7 Likes

I think this summarizes my whole view of the thing! I kinda end up going only to tournaments that are nearby and reachable mostly by train, but because that is practical to me. Climate considerations come a bit as an afterthought. I do want to sometime go to some tournaments a bit more far away, but it definitely doesn’t fit my budget and routine to just fly there for a weekend. I’ve been thinking about a summer polo tour around France or something.

I do fly across the world yearly to visit my family, and I sometimes wonder how it was when my great-great-parents said farewell in the port when they immigrated, knowing they would never see each other again. After the apocalypse we will have to only travel by bike anyway, and going for a polo tournament a few countries away will take a month.

It is very cheap to destroy the environment. Europeans have a lot of money.

I don’t think I’m being any productive for the discussion, but the quoted excerpt from Remy resonated emotionally with me. I also apologize in advance if I offended anyone: I don’t mean to generalize, and I’m also responsible (and guilty).

3 Likes

Great article, merci! And props to your sister :sunglasses:

1 Like

@Lucas.bxl - call for a status quo - definitely not :blush: There is still a slight chance of winning the climate battle. In case a solar storm happens (another Carrington event?) or anything else forces us to stop (travelling/consuming/eating meat) globally – then we still stand a chance.

Also, there is another optimistic research that shows that if a group gets big enough to reach the threshold of 3,5% of society AND uses positive messaging – it can bring change. That goes along the lines of the article about being vegan and inspiring people by good example (I speak German, @flat_humour, thanks for the link! It links to many useful surveys and summarizes how it works).

You are right about the sauve qui peut – every man for himself. It has also been described as the “Tragedy of the commons” if I understand you correctly.

Is the boat sinking? According to IPCC – it is. There are a few scenarios (RCP), and we are on the right track for 4 degrees Celsius warming by the end of the century. 1,5 is missed already. Yet, there is also evidence that people are never forced to change by negative messaging. So, if I tell you that the future will wreak havoc, there will be wars caused by the lack of land and water and that the food prices will ruin half of the society – you are unlikely to stop flying. Rather, the messaging should revolve around your positive impact and your local, social influence. You cannot stop wars, but you can influence 10 people to eat less meat, therefore, in longer perspective, get healthier, save a lot of animal suffering and methane. And you will see the results yourself, which is the most important motivation to change even more. Das Glück liegt in der Wirksamkeit - as Clara wrote.

@flat_humour – regarding tuna – it’s a personal question. According to research, people are more likely to stick to their resolutions if they are moderate. We need 100% of population that do their best, not 5% of perfect idealists. People are generally put off by extremisms. I’d love to see 100% of idealists one day though.

Good news – the European compulsory market for carbon emissions, EU ETS, is expanding every year and EU ETS2 is on its way to requiring even more industries to adhere to emission caps. CSRD directive requires big companies to report their footprint and in just a couple of years, companies with 10+ employees will have to report. Digital Product Passport for batteries, textiles, and other products has also been effective since October 2023, numerous other regulations are revolutionary in a way that they finally require companies to report non-financial (ESG) results like never before. Perhaps we won’t need a solar storm.

If I could transpose what I do at work to the polo world, this would be a short list:

  • Stick to 100% vegan catering (methane, associated with meat production is 30x more potent in terms of warming the planet than CO2, not to mention the ethical aspects of eating animals).
  • Source drinks/food locally (cross out avocadoes and oranges, unless the tournament is in Asia or Africa)
  • Advise trains/carpooling instead of flying
  • Provide accommodation at other people’s houses (hotels use more electricity and resources than private homes)

… and as you can see, many of these points are already in use. It’s typical that the people who already try their best worry if they are good enough. It’s a bit sad, but also beautiful :heart:

6 Likes

Cheers @Lucas.bxl , cheers @emilio and all of you. Maybe I won‘t feel as annoying next time I bring up the topic in a polo context

2 Likes

Sorry this is a bit off topic but also really on point :

You Expect Me To Believe That?!? (Ft. Tim Robinson)

Maybe we should add fun facts

nah i only talk about polo stuff and dip out any normie convo :grinning:

i mean i dont wanna learn that my favorite polo champ believes we live under a dome or that giants built the pyramid.

imo its also part of having an “inclusive” space.

obviously some boundaries would have to be drawn and some behaviours are unacceptable. but everyone has their own way to see what “good environemental behaviour” is and i m not here to educate someone about re cycling his household trash…

so polo related eco conversations:

do you guys want to organise a tournament with 0% carbon footprints ? is organic pads bettee for the environement than metal ? will Geneva switch its diesel engine for the lights to a person / pedal powered one ?
carbon shafts apparently suck for the environement, bamboo tho ? ehpmd heads are made with one of the hardest plastic to recycle : its hard to shred into calbrated micro-balls and it doesnt melt ( its so amazing at holding up high temperatures that the cell will shred appart before the actual melting point get reached) should we go wooden heads ?

feels a bit like trolling @OGxBENJI tbh, but I will reply to the best of my abilities:

-about your examples. I’m glad to do a rough calculation of emissions and other effects on the environment of all things polo related. What I can already tell you: your car/ plane will burn the 400 plastic bags and single use-whatevers used at the worst organized tourney moving like 10 metres. So as long as you dispose of that stuff it’s just a talking point in comparison…
preeetty sure travels are by far the biggest thing, the only other major factors are possibly gear and courts (land use) but that would be as hard to calculate properly as to avoid…

-being inclusive by not “forcing” your political ideas on people: I think as long as the conversation is friendly, no one will feel excluded/ pushed out because of that.
A main driver for political change is people of different opinions talking to each other. Polo is perfect for that because we all like and care for each other, but have veery different backgrounds. As an example: I have learned a lot about gender struggles/ patriarchy through this community and I am happy about that. It’s always nicer to just pat each other on the back and not talk about the less comfortable topics, but then nothing will ever change.

As many people mentioned above, some of us who feel bad about our society shooting itself in the face would only like for us to talk about this issue, not to solve it right away. And we can go a long ass way from where we currently stand to bamboo shafts.

That being said, if that WAS to be the choice, i would prefer to play polo with a bamboo mallet over burning it all down. Call me a hippie all you like <3

4 Likes