Irina Nedeclu is a post-graduate student at the University of Edinburgh; hear her views about the struggle to be a low-carbon international student.
Let’s enjoy the journey
Prior to completing a carbon footprint survey I considered myself to be on the right track: I haven’t been driving for a year, I reduced unnecessary purchases to the minimum, I’ve been recycling, saved on my energy spending and started to look at what else I could do to improve my impact on the environment. While I was filling the survey I was pretty satisfied with my answers and expected a fairly good result.
And what a low carbon footprint would I have generated had I not been an international student.
Sadly going back home has turned into a commodity for non-UK students and, even if that happens as little as once a year, most of us choose to fly. I can only speak for myself, but the reason why I chose this means of transportation had nothing to do with my being lazy or saving time, but with saving money. I thought that purchasing a plane ticket was less expensive than planning out an alternative route that would have been both fun and energy saving. But was that really the case? Was travelling by plane the cheapest way to get from Edinburgh to Eastern Europe? Definitely not.
It was not a case of not being willing to take an alternative travelling option, but a case of being misinformed or of not being informed at all.
Time is a deciding factor especially for students who have to deal with deadlines and exams and when you need to find a way to get back home for the holidays in just a couple of days it’s pretty hard to spend time on the internet looking for tips or planning low impact journeys that fit a student’s travel budget. This doesn’t mean that they don’t exist and the need for alternative travel information is increasing among students. Especially now that the summer holidays are approaching and people will travel a lot more than they have had throughout the rest of the year.
Here in Edinburgh, Transition Edinburgh University has taken the initiative to organize the Summer Travel Fair on the 14th of May in Edinburgh at George Square Lecture Theatre, by gathering all the available low impact travel information under one roof. People interested in cheap, fun, low impact travel alternatives just need to show up, meet travelling peers and learn from experienced travellers what are the ways to get around expensive and climate damaging journeys. This won’t ruin our summer holiday fun – it’ll improve it,
For more information please visit :www.teu.org.uk/travel-fair