Sustainability for Go Global travel
As you plan to participate in a Go Global program, there are many aspects of sustainability to keep in mind.
As you plan to participate in a Go Global program, there are many aspects of sustainability to keep in mind, including the carbon emissions of your trip and the impact of visitors on the local communities.
Calculating air-travel carbon emissions
Using a carbon calculator will give you an estimation of the amount of carbon emissions that your flight route produces. At the end, the calculator provides an estimation of the cash amount that you may choose to contribute to offset the carbon emissions from your flight.
Flying has an environmental cost. Since 2013, emissions from air travel have increased by at least 26%. In 2018, local and international air travels accounted for 2.4% of energy-related carbon emissions.
One way to counter emissions from long-distance travel is to buy carbon offsets. A New York Times article states that carbon offsets compensate for your emissions by cancelling out greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere in the world. The money you pay to buy offsets may support programs dedicated to reducing emissions.
While carbon offsets do not necessarily reverse the climate-related impact of your travel, they are a relatively inexpensive way to mitigate the harms caused by carbon emissions from air travel.
After calculating emissions related to your flight, the Carbonzero calculator provides you with a list of carbon offset projects to choose from, such as:
- Afforestation in Ontario
- Protecting biodiversity in the Niagara Escarpment
- Investments in biomass as an energy source
Sustainable travel tips
While planning your travel, Go Global also encourages you to consider sustainable actions to reduce your carbon footprint, increase efficient resource use, and minimize waste.
- When possible, avoid flying. If you must fly, try to avoid stop-overs.
- Use sustainable travel options when on the ground, such as taking the bus, biking, or boarding a train.
- Book accomodation that is community-run, eco-friendly, and whose revenue benefits locals. One resource is the Ecobnb platform. You can also ask for suggestions if you know someone living at the destination.
- Consider the impact of your travels on local communities. Ask for permission before taking pictures of people and historical, cultural, religious, or sacred places.
- Open yourself up to learning beyond the classroom environment. Let the people you encounter, the places you go, and the experiences you have be your teachers.
- Avoid littering and minimize your waste. Pack reusable bags, containers, cutlery, and water bottles.
Learn as much as you can about where you are traveling to, such as basic phrases in the local languages, major laws and regulations, norms and acceptable behaviours, current news, and historical facts. When you get to your destination, keep learning and challenging your existing assumptions.
Questions to reflect upon
For a more holistic understanding of how your travel choices could impact the land, cultures and communities that you interact with, consider the following:
- What environmental, economic, and socio-cultural impacts are my individual actions having on the people and places I interact with?
- How can I reduce the negative attributes of my actions in the context that I am located? How can I amplify the positive attributes of my actions in the context that I am located?
- Why is it important for me to develop an understanding of the definitions of and relations between the climate change crisis, climate justice, and global citizenship?
Sustainability opportunities at partner institutions
While at the partner institution for your global learning experience, learn about or get involved in sustainability-related projects. The following partner institution projects focus on climate change and sustainability.
National University of Singapore
University of Copenhagen
- Center for Sustainability and Society (SUSY)
- Environment and Development Movie Club
- Studenterhuset opportunities
EARTH University in Costa Rica
The University of Hong Kong
Many of our Global Seminars tackle themes of sustainability. These change every year but have included:
- Contemporary Forestry and Conservation, Beijing, China
- Systems Approaches to Regional Sustainability, Hawaii
- Systems Approaches to Regional Sustainability, Iceland
- Impact Evaluation Analysis, Indonesia
- In Earth’s Care: Advance Global Justice Living Lab, Brazil