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Global Opportunities

GO Green

Embarking on a placement abroad offers you lots of opportunities for personal growth and cultural exchange. We feel that it is essential for you to also recognise the impact such experiences can have on the environment. By integrating sustainable practices into your daily life – not only here in London but also while abroad, you can contribute to protect our planet. Here are some tips for you and things to keep in mind:

Energy Conservation: Be mindful of your energy usage to minimise environmental impact. Turn off the lights when leaving a room. Embrace natural lighting whenever possible! Use heating or aircon only when needed. Avoid having the heating on and windows open at the same time. Opt for energy-efficient appliances where possible. If you have to pay for your bills separately this will also save you money.

Water Conservation: Take shorter showers if possible and turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. Do the same when washing dishes, ideally use a bowl. Report any leaks or dripping faucets to your landlord / resident management team promptly. Fill up the kettle only as much as you need, overfilling wastes water and energy. 

Sustainable Diets: Make sustainable food choices by adopting a diet that is less reliant on meat and includes more plant-based options. Plant-based diets have a lower carbon footprint and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with livestock farming. Explore local markets and restaurants that offer fresh, seasonal produce to support sustainable agriculture practices.

Reduce Food Waste: Plan your meals to minimise food waste. Make a shopping list based on your weekly meal plan and avoid overbuying perishable items. If you have access to a freezer, store bulk-cooked meals or leftovers for another day. Donate excess food to local food banks or shelters to minimise waste. Maybe plan your meals together with your flat mates?

Reduced Material Consumption: Opt for sustainable consumption habits by buying second-hand items when possible. Avoid purchasing kitschy souvenirs that may end up in landfills and instead opt for locally made, eco-friendly products. Bring reusable bags when shopping to minimise single-use plastic usage and remember to have a water bottle with you that you can refill. In some countries it is safe to drink tap water whereas in others not – do you research before you go. If you regularly having tea/coffee from your favourite cafe, reusable cups are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and most times saves you money too!

Sustainable and Reduced Travel: Once you are in the host country, minimise your carbon footprint by opting for sustainable transportation options such as walking, biking, or using public transportation. Explore your host city on foot or rent a bicycle to reduce reliance on motor vehicles. When traveling between destinations, consider in-country travel options such as trains or buses instead of domestic flights. Europe is great to explore by train but not all countries will be as well connected to others.

Recycling: Familiarise yourself with local recycling systems to ensure proper disposal of recyclable materials. Separate recyclables from general waste and compost organic waste when possible. Do you need to buy a bedside lamp for your new home? Are there any flea markets or second-hand shops you can browse to get a pre-loved item? Equally, consider donating items you no longer need to charity shops to give them a second life. You might even be able to sell items before you leave to return home and get some money back?

Engagement and Support for Change: Get involved in sustainability initiatives offered by your host university or a local organisation. Volunteer for environmental conservation projects or participate in community clean-up events to make a positive impact. Consider enrolling in a course related to sustainability as part of your courseload to deepen your understanding of sustainability and climate change.

Carbon Offset Travel: To mitigate the carbon emissions associated with travel, some airlines invest in carbon offset programmes. Are you able to use one of them to get to your host destination if this is overseas and not reachable by train? These programs fund projects that reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions, such as reforestation projects or renewable energy initiatives. While carbon offsetting is a valuable tool for reducing environmental impact, it's essential to prioritise sustainable travel practices and minimise emissions whenever possible. You can calculate your carbon footprint here.

By incorporating these sustainable practices into your placement abroad, you can make a meaningful contribution to environmental conservation and inspire others to follow suit. Also bear in mind that people in other countries can think very different about sustainability and climate change. Reusable water bottles might not be something they have thought of! Maybe you can share your knowledge and experience? Remember, small actions can lead to significant positive change when collectively adopted. Let's work together to create a more sustainable and resilient future for our planet. GO Green!

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