Finally (and hopefully), the pandemic is drawing to an end. Besides other things, this is big for Erasmus+. All those long-awaited mobilities, exchanges and training courses can return. Yet, another question looms. Is going to Erasmus+ mobilities sustainable? And what is Erasmus green travel?
This blog post aims to answer these questions. Also, we’ll provide you with simple tips on how to travel more responsibly. Read time: 6 min.
What is Erasmus green travel?
To put it simply, Erasmus+ green travel is choosing the most sustainable way of transport to & from your destination. Even though, it might cost more. That’s why there is now an extra budget for it (see the table below). Moreover, your travel creates a CO2 footprint, which can now be offset by Erasmus green travel allowance. Not sure what is CO2 offsetting? Then take a look at our platform specifically for CO2 compensation.
So how to travel to Erasmus+ mobilities more sustainably? We have gathered top tips based on: 1) our own experience; 2) tips from the participants of our projects. Read on below.
7 best tips for Erasmus green travel
7. Travel on a train or bus 🚄
Travelling on a train is about 5 times greener than flying (when it comes to CO2 emission). That’s significant!
Also, one can avoid annoying baggage checks and other airport procedures. Moreover, there is more leg space, which is ever-shrinking on the planes. The European rail network is extensive, so why not give it a try? Perhaps you’ll even find your soulmate on such a trip too (it’s romantic in the train cabin).
Good to know: when choosing greener means of transport you can get up to 3 extra travelling days (to compensate for it being slower than planes).
6. Prioritise direct flights 🛫
Note: choose flights only if there are no viable train/ferry connections. E.g. avoid domestic flights, which can be easily substituted by other (more sustainable) means of transport.
Most of the carbon footprint is created while taking off and landing; hence, the fewer flights there are, the less CO2 is “produced”. Also, direct flights (as a rule) cover fewer kilometres overall, which, naturally, translates into a smaller carbon footprint. The only minus: direct flights can be more expensive (yet, there is an extra budget for Erasmus green travel).
5. Remove all the electrical devices from the network when leaving home 🔌
Ever heard of vampire power or vampire energy? That’s a term for the fact that devices (that are turned off but plugged in) still use electricity. Thus, when leaving for a longer period of time, remove your devices/appliances from the network. Don’t be a vampire – save energy 🧛
4. Do not print your boarding pass, invoices, other documents 📱
The year is 2021 and in 99% of situations, digital documents are enough. The Erasmus+ receiving organisation should be happy with receiving such documents as well (as they are harder to lose).
3. Take less baggage – travel light 🧳
Every extra kg on the plane translates into extra CO2 “created” per kilometre of travel. To be more exact, on a 3000 km flight 1 extra kg of luggage will result in 1 extra kg of CO2 footprint.
How to pack lightly:
2. Clean the local beach or park 🏖️
While it doesn’t reduce carbon footprint directly, cleaning the local beach or a park is a great activity. Both for the local environment and for team-building. Hence, don’t be shy and encourage fellow Erasmus+ participants to join in. In other words, don’t just take, start giving back as well.
During your free time: you can sail, snorkel, scuba dive, hike, paddleboat, paddleboard, kayak, bike, swim, and bird-watch, these are just a few of the environmentally friendly activities available. Visit a craft or food market, and remember to carry a reusable shopping bag. Take a tour led by a local guide.
1. Offset the created carbon footprint 🌳
What is CO2 offsetting? In short, it is donating to a project that reduces our overall CO2 footprint by hundreds of thousands of kilograms. For example, by changing light bulbs or stoves for more efficient ones in the developing nations.
How to use it:
- You count how much CO2 you’ve created on your Erasmus+ mobility
- Then you visit a CO2 offsetting platform online and type in the number of CO2 tonnes you wish to offset
- Donate the appropriate amount to a selected green project
However, it is not an answer to climate change. A lot needs to change for the planet to stop and reverse global warming. Not least in the way we act as individuals and societies. Carbon offsets are an imperfect substitute, a small step towards the bigger goal. For that reason, you should aim to have your CO2 footprint as small as possible and offset only what you could not reduce.
Can Erasmus+ travel be more sustainable?
Yes, of course! And, the best part: it’s not difficult to travel green. Simply use the tips above and be responsible for the local environment and culture. To be sure, there are more ways to be sustainable on Erasmus+ mobilities. Have any good tips (not mentioned here)? Let us know.
Can Erasmus+ events be sustainable?
Check out the answer in our another post: Events CO2 footprint: 3 steps to reduce it + Get a Full Guide ❤️🌍 (activeyouth.lt)
Interested in organising green Erasmus+ mobilities?
Find our free resources for project writing & implementation here.