Bee Pollinator - ‘Carbon Offsets’
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  1. #1
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    Dec 2004
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    Default Bee Pollinator - ‘Carbon Offsets’

    Hello All,

    The FeralBeeProject.com will be undergoing a change in the charter to place the highest emphasis on protecting the feral bee, by educating homeowners and beekeepers alike about the importance of feral colonies to the environment as well as beekeeping, and to encourage people to let feral bee colonies remain where they are ‘if possible‘. And removing them only if they are as a swarm, in danger of being destroyed, or pose a threat to health and safety. The motto for the feral bee project is now “Preserving the Feral Honeybees” as reflected on the front page.

    I’m writing a brief info-article about the value of honeybees and other bee pollinators to the environment. The ‘highest priority’ of the article is to gear it for the homeowner to educate them about the importance of honeybees and other pollinators to the environment. Perhaps, they will consider preserving the bees and leaving that feral colony to live out it’s existence in the void it has chosen (IF it is determined to pose little danger to health and safety) if they knew a little more about some of the environmental benefits from honeybees. In writing the article, at this time, I am looking at one specific point of how pollinators might contribute towards lessening the effects of greenhouse gases.

    The current trend with the environmental conservationists is to be ‘green’ and minimize OR lessen the impact as much as possible, ones contribution of things that may pose harm to the environment.
    This may necessitate conservation efforts and making beneficial contributions back to the environment for the purpose of reducing the harmful impact from ones own carbon emissions beyond that which conservation efforts are able to achieve by purchasing ‘carbon offsets‘.

    The idea behind carbon offsets is to reduce the net carbon emissions of individuals or organizations indirectly, through proxies who reduce their emissions and/or increase their absorption of greenhouse gases. A wide variety of offset actions are available; tree planting is the most common. “Due to their indirect nature, many types of offset are difficult to verify.”

    The trend, (because of its public relations appeal) is prompting celebrates such as Arnold Schwarzenegger to purchase carbon offsets (in Arnolds case in the form of planting of trees) to offset the carbon emissions caused by his private jet and Hummer. Some consumers are also trending towards buying ‘green products’ and swaying purchases towards companies that contribute to the environment thru carbon offset purchases.

    The question is;
    Can a basic formula for “carbon offset” value be determined for a feral / domestic honeybee colony OR pollinators in general?

    We do know that:

    ‘Younger trees take up more carbon.’
    Perhaps, pollinators in forested areas would contribute young tree growth by pollination of seeds which would grow into saplings..

    CO2 intake increases after seed and fruit producing plants are pollinated. ‘The CO2 intake of the bean and apple plant were studied; it was found that after pollination these plants had increased photosynthetic rates, and net CO2 assimilation rate also increased due to the embryo growth.’

    ‘Plants consume more CO2 when they are producing nectar.’

    Carbon offsets would be:

    1. Planting and preserving bee habitat areas
    2. Providing nest sites for bee pollinators.
    3. Protecting the feral bees.
    4. Supporting your local beekeeper, by buying their products.

    Considering the wide area bees forage, a substantial carbon offset may exist in this area, and may have a potential monetary value from those wishing to purchase carbon offsets.

    Joe Waggle ~ Derry, PA ‘Bees Gone Wild Apiaries'
    FeralBeeProject.com
    http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/H...neybeeArticles

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Orlando, FL
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    Default

    Joe,

    After reading this posting, I am concerned that in my area of Central Florida the AHB scare is going to cause people to react negatively to bees feral or not. The AHB is just now creeping into Central Florida after having been on both coasts for a couple years now.

    I am concerned that even if the feral bees do not pose a threat to anyone that people will seek them out and kill them. It's like a scene out of an old movie where the town forms a lynch mob to find and kill the Frankenstein monster - that is my vision anyway.

    I guess the reason for my post here it to encourage you to make your case for saving the feral honey bee and I hope you will state that even though AHB tend to be more defensive, if possible they should be left alone too.
    Troy

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Sparkill, NY
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    106

    Default "Carbon Offsets"

    I would stay away from the term "carbon offsets." It is too political and global warming too controversial.

  5. #4
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    Mar 2007
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    Almeria, Andalucia, Spain
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    Default

    Considering the wide area bees forage, a substantial carbon offset may exist in this area,
    How can this be quantified?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Niles, Michigan USA
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    167

    Default Interesting...

    The OP raises an interesting point. The global warming community (of which I am not a member) values the removal of carbon from the atmosphere as the key to reducing or eliminating global warming.

    Again, I am not a member of that faction so someone who is should correct me where necessary.

    So how much carbon does a hive remove from the atmosphere? The obvious place to look is in the collection of nectar from plants. Plants inspire carbon dioxide and make sugar with the help of sunlight via photosynthesis. Some of that sugar ends up in nectar. Much of the nectar collected is fuel for the bees and is expired back into the atmosphere. But a lot of it goes into beeswax and surplus honey. Someone smarter than me can calculate how much carbon there is per pound of wax or honey. :confused:

    Just for fun, let's say honey is 100% carbon. Which is silly, of course, but let's go with it. What does a hive average per year in surplus honey? For fun and convenience let's say 100 pounds. So that means for every ten hives, one ton of carbon is removed from the atmosphere.

    Whatever the real number is, bees clearly are part of such a global warming "solution."

    But how could one possibly calculate the additional carbon removed not just from collecting nectar, but as a result of bee pollination improving plant growth and therefore increased photosynthesis? I can't even begin to think of it. I guess you would have to figure out how much better different plants respire with and without pollination. Then estimate how many plants a single hive pollinates. The OP suggests this could be many times greater than the benefit from nectar gathering and I agree.

    _________________

    Where the whole carbon offset scheme breaks down is when you ask the question, "Now what?" For instance, let's say you offset your private jet ride by paying for a bunch of trees to be planted. Good for you. Then, someday, the trees are cut down and burned for firewood. Not much net benefit, is there?

    Contrast this with when the trees are coverted to lumber and used to build a house where the carbon stays out of the atmosphere for a long time. At least until the house is torn down and the wood goes to a landfill and rots.

    Many companies that sell carbon offsets won't invest in forestry projects for this very reason.

    The same happens with our honey. If you sell the honey and someone eats it, much of the sugar in the honey is used by the body as fuel and then exhaled back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Not much net benefit.

    I suppose you could bury the honey but then it would ferment and further break down, releasing carbon dioxide, methane, and other carbon compounds back into the atmosphere.

    Then again I suppose you could seal the honey in drums before burying. It sure would be neat to be paid by carbon offsets to keep bees and bury honey!

    We know bees are beneficial to the environment, and this is an interesting challenge to quantify even a small part of that benefit.
    Kevin
    Milton Township, Michigan (near South Bend, Indiana)

  7. #6
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    Sep 2006
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    Midland, Michigan
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    Default

    I think the impact of honeybees on carbon dioxide removal is minimal, aside from the fact that many plants won't propagate if pollination doesn't occur. As Knadai mentioned, carbon is removed from the atmosphere when the nectar is converted into honey or wax. Most of the honey and wax are converted back to CO2 in a relatively short time by consumption or burning (people, bears, wax moths, candles). Even if the surplus honey were buried in the ground for a thousand years, it wouldn't amount to much. If the honey has a relatively moisture content of 15%, then a ton of honey contains 1700 pounds of sugars. Fructose and glucose, two of the simple sugars found in honey have a chemical formula of C6(H2O)6, which means they are 40% carbon, while sucrose with a formula of C12(H2O)11 is 42.11% carbon. From the formulas, one sees that sugars (and other carbohydrates) are basically just carbon + water (carbohydrate = carbon + hydrate). That means our ton of honey contains at most about 716 pounds of carbon. If this came from the 100 pound surplus from each of 20 hives, it is only about 36 pounds per hive.

    Storing all the waste wood from torn down houses; old newspapers and magazines; and agricultural waste in a desert or otherwise non-rotting environment would remove far more carbon from the system. Of course, transportation of this material would consume a lot of petroleum, so the net result could be insignificant.

    Personally, I recycle the paper, burn the wood to cook hotdogs and marshmallows, put the leaves and grass clippings on the garden and eat the honey.
    David

  8. #7
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    May 2005
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    Default

    FYI global warming is no longer controversial and has gone mainstream. The not small enough fragment that still refuses to believe in global warming will come around in a few years as this thing continues to accelerate.

    As to carbon offsets I say go for it Joe. Everybody's got to make a buck and I appreciate someone whom does it via something green. But for the broad idea in general, seems like yet another way to maintain the status quo. Companies that pollute big can still pollute big they just get 'taxed' a little higher. I don't really see how it would make a change quick enough... Although if it helps you fund a green idea, I guess it does work positively.

  9. #8
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    Fort Worth, Texas, USA
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    Default

    Sorry to dredge this dated thread back up, but I was doing some research and had to put in my 2 cents.

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    As to carbon offsets I say go for it Joe. Everybody's got to make a buck and I appreciate someone whom does it via something green.
    While I agree with doing something "green," I'm a little wary of this notion. The "going green" thing has already started to seriously run amok as a meaningless marketing gimmick. I saw an add not too long ago by GM or Ford...they were talking about how HUGE their hybrid SUV's were. This is absurd! It's just another badge to slap on a product so duped consumers can feel like their doing the right thing.

    It's kinda like the trans-fat fad. Yes trans-fat is bad for you, and so are many of the other artificial things that go into a bag of potato chips. The FDA simply hasn't gotten around to regulating those additives yet so food manufacturers can use them as a marketing tool. "Now with 0% Xanthum Gum!" Must be good for you!

    The really sad thing about the trans-fat craze is it's actually been a detriment to our environment in a way. While all those consumers feel they are doing something better for their health, food manufacturers are sourcing the next cheapest, next best tasting fat which happens to be palm-kernel oil. As a result in the skyrocketing demand for palm-kernel oil the orangutan's habitat is quickly disappearing.

    Maybe you you don't care about orangutans - maybe that's a little too tree-hugger for you. I work in the architecture and design industry, and from where I sit "green" is becoming a big joke. LEED sets minimum standards for what constitutes green building. Then the building-product manufacturers (who no doubt lobby LEED in some fashion) pick-up on what might minimally qualify as a "green" product based on those standards. And then they sell it the designers who design a "green" building of minimal standards. And the public gets to have a clean conscience.

    Sorry for the rant, but I think we need to be really careful how we approach the really important things. Good ideas hijacked by greed will crash and burn. That's not to say you can't make money doing a good thing. Just make sure it stays a good thing.

  10. #9
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    Jul 2005
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    Default

    The biggest carbon offset is not trucking the colonies across the country.

  11. #10
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    Oct 2006
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    Madera,CA
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    Default

    This is the first time I've seen this post. I like the comment about burying the honey.....doesn't the whole offset thing remind you of the Catholic church when members about 400 years ago paid the clergy to forgive their sins. It's like they planned to do the sinning and this was a "convienent" way to be get around it. Contrast that with Al-Gore's double speak about not signing his own pledge to reduce carbon emission or his electrical bill. But he wanted all the Congressman he visited to do it. I just hate this gunk.

  12. #11
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    My honest take on the "offset" thing is it's just another way to keep consumers consuming...now they can just feel good about it. Net result is still entropy.

  13. #12
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    Grantsboro, North Carolina, USA
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    Huh? What?

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadBowbee View Post
    I just hate this gunk.
    Then you'll love this junk

    First Carbon Neutral Food

    http://apitherapy.blogspot.com/2007/...n-neutral.html

  15. #14
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    SORRY GUYS, I AM A LURKER OF THE HIGHEST ORDER, NOW, THIS THREAD MIGHT HELP ME! MY AREA IS IN A GAS DRILLING BOOM AND I AM BETWEEN WELLS. tHE COMPANY WANTS TO PLACE A PIPELINE BETWEEN THEM WHICH INCLUDES MY PROPERTY. NOW HERE'S THE THING. THEY WILL ALLOW ME TO CHOOSE THE TOPDRESSING SEEDING FOR AN AREA THAT'S 50 X 5300 MORE OR LESS AND WITH TREE UMBRELLA WALLS FOR MUCH OF IT! I WOULD BE GRATEFUL FOR ANY ADVICE. NO DEER HUNTERS PLEASE! THANKS IN ADVANCE! I have to include my request in a contract that will have to happen soon! RAY in upstate new york

  16. #15
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    How about a wildflower mix

    http://www.americanmeadows.com/Wildf...Northeast.aspx

    Some watering may be required to establish.

  17. #16
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  18. #17
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    Default carbon offset cheap word for the bunny hugging wealthy

    Carbon Offset= A way for a wealthy bunny hugging liberal to keep his or her oversized house warm, fly or drive a gas guzzling car or private jet. Preach to us have nots that we need to cut emissions. Then still be able to sleep at night and live with there conscience. They want to impress me. They will need to reduce there own carbon footprint. (buy a smaller house, drive a fuel effecient automobile, fly comercial). The carbon offsets these people buy, most of which, are planted in third world countries where the forests have been clear cut for urban sprawl and logging. A tree planted over there wont be much good here. I dont know of any Carbon offsets that have been planted around here, however, if they did Iwould hope it would something beneficial for my bees. :mad:

  19. #18
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    Entropy.

  20. #19
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    Bolivar Ohio
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    Angry blame who 10,000 years from now?

    In 7th grade in the mid 70's the so called scientific elite taught me that a global ICE AGE was going to happen in my lifetime. 25 years later the same 7th grade teacher reaching retirement taught my niece that global warming would kill her in her lifetime if things do not change. Fact is, the Sun is 99% of our global warming and it cycles in its intensity. Chicken Little is still running around, but now the sky is not falling, just the price of the "carbon offsets" on a cold day in January.

    Thank God it warmed up 10,000 years ago and the ice sheets retreated to Canada leaving the nice dirt and flat lands here in Ohio. Just how long many years do you think it took for those ice sheets to recede? More than a several lifetimes I would say. Everyone looks at the weather in his own respected lifespan. How old is the earth and how has it changed. Being geologically schooled I would say it is ever changing, thus, leaving me very suspicious of the SKY IS WARMING crowd. Global warming by Man is a nice way to FUND INSTITUTIONS and tax the worlds masses to do so. A single eruption of a super volcano would do more damage to the atmosphere than a lifetime (yours) of burned fossil fuel.

    "Beem Me Up Scottie"
    levenbad

  21. #20
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    Because I know it’s going to make someone angry, I’ll say this once, and then bow out of this thread altogether. That angry person isn’t going to hear me no matter how much I rant anyway.

    Anger and hostility are a sure outward sign (always and without exception) of anxiety or fear...very often a fear of “what if?” “What if,” as in “what if so-and-so’s point of view is correct?” And if so-and-so might be right, what does that mean I might have to sacrifice in my comfy, settled, and apparently secure lifestyle? This is an anxiety-laden question.

    As I said before, I think ‘carbon offsets’ are just another bad joke made by our pyramid-scheme economics...entropy. But anyone who is angry or hostile toward another [percieved] group for their point of view should check themselves for what is truly warranting their own views, emotions and behavior.

    Whether you're a “bunny hugger” or a “bunny hunter,” anger and fear are bad motivators which never produce lucid results.

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