As part of the Erasmus team, we’d like to talk to you about Green Travelling. After all, Erasmus is all about facilitating exciting learning experiences for students across the world. So, there’s plenty of travel involved and we’d like to play a role in making sure the planet doesn’t have to suffer damage through sustainable, greener travel options.
Of course, there’s lots that all of our students can do, when travelling through the Erasmus scheme. Simple things, like unplugging electrical equipment before leaving home or where you’re staying. Taking a small, eco-friendly bag with you so you collect your own rubbish, refraining from feeding animals when you go for a hike and staying along the right hiking paths when on a trip so as not to disturb wildlife but travel is still the biggest problem and greatly impacts the environment.
We believe that Erasmus+ Green Travelling is an individual’s responsibility – it’s very much about giving back to nature and protecting local communities when arriving at your target destination. As more than 9 million young people have already benefitted from the Erasmus Programme, there’s definitely been an impact on the environment. While the programme has taken extraordinary leaps by contributing to a more integrated and inclusive European continent, now, the general concensus is that Erasmus+ must place more emphasis on supporting environmentally friendly travel opportunities for students taking part in a mobility.
A New Green Travelling Handbook for Students
The aims of Green Erasmus+ are more than helping to protect and improve the environment. The initiative will start with developing further research on the lifestyle of students abroad and delving deeper in how of Erasmus+ students feel about environmental sustainability. This extensive research will serve as the basis for a handbook on sustainable internationalisation, an educational portal, campaign and petition to support changing the behaviour of Erasmus+ participants.
While physical mobility remains an essential part of Erasmus+, the educational aspect of the programme can help encourage greener response by participants. However, despite these new measures, CO2 emissions caused by the Erasmus+ programme are set to increase, according to a new report by the Erasmus Goes Green project, (a collaboration between five European universities, the Erasmus Student Network, and the European University Foundation).
Travelling to Austria?
If your Erasmus+ stay is in Austria then it’s worth talking about The Nightjet. This is the overnight train operated by ÖBB (Austrian Railways). Taking the ÖBB Nightjet trains means that you travel overnight in a climate-friendly and comfortable way to some of the most beautiful cities and destinations in Europe!
It works something like this. In the evening, simply board the train in the city centre, sit back and relax! In the morning, start the day feeling refreshed and energised with a hearty breakfast (that you’ll find in the couchette carriage and sleeper cabins) – it’s a great way to begin your holiday! The Nightjets are operated by ÖBB both independently and in cooperation with railway partners in Switzerland (SBB), Italy (Trenitalia), France (SNCF) and the Netherlands (NS).
We’d even go as far as suggesting that the smarter traveller takes the ÖBB Nightjet because there are countless benefits, for people, the environment and it’s an affordable way to travel. Finally, we believe that discovering Europe using overnight travel that’s sustainable is indeed possible, simply choose from these Nightjet destinations and feel comfortable that you’re doing your bit for the environment!