"When you travel abroad, you will likely experience and hear about wide-ranging and sometimes devastating impacts of climate change on the communities you visit. Climate change is accelerated by human activities that produce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). At Davidson, education abroad flights are the third largest producer of GHGs, behind only the electricity purchased to operate campus and the fuel burned to heat campus buildings.
The College values the deep learning that education abroad offers but also acknowledges that accelerating climate change is problematic. We are considering these trade-offs in developing an updated Climate Action Plan. You can do your part by seeking low-carbon ways of engaging with your host community while abroad. Passion Passport has some easy tips."
Read through these testimonials from past education abroad participants for their thoughts on sustainability and environmentalism in their host countries.
"I had prepared myself for lectures on climate change, for re-explanations of how carbon dioxide traps heat radiating off the earth, from textbooks. What I experienced was totally different and much better than that. Since SFS is very research-oriented, I worked with 10 other students to gather data on the potential impacts of the climate-induced bursting of a natural dam on a glacial lake upriver of the tiny village where we lived.... I enrolled in the program able to recite the main causes and potential negative outcomes of climate change, but I left with a real understanding of exactly what some of those outcomes would look like."
"The field trips for the biology classes were highly relevant to material we learned in class and each issue was dissected from every angle. For example, we toured a pineapple farm and went snorkeling the same week we learned about the sedimentation of corals due to agriculture. That same week in the social science class, we learned about role Nicaraguan migrant workers play in the cultivation of these crops, toured a pineapple farm, and interviewed two Nicaraguan migrant workers."
"The main difference between Denmark and Peru is that the transportation system in Denmark is designed to be as sustainable as possible whereas the transportation system in Peru is merely the product of people trying to reach their destination as cheaply and easily as possible.... In Denmark, there is an extensive effort to promote sustainable transportation through bicycle infrastructure, buses, and trains, [and] Danes choose to bike and walk primarily out of concern for their health.... In Arequipa, [Peru], the second largest city, the primary modes of transportation are walking, riding a combi, or taking a taxi, [which is] the product of people trying to reach their destination as cheaply and easily as possible."
Denmark & Peru
"After hearing about [a former intern's] project that calculated the carbon-intensity of student travel and estimates of other carbon-emitting factors on the part of students during their time studying abroad, some students in my semester and I decided to collect ‘baseline’ data on our food consumption, electricity use, and collective trash.... We audited our campus trash to see where most of our waste was coming from [and] also took a trip to the city landfill, met with community members that make a living sifting through mountains of trash and turning in the recyclables. Our discussion was impactful in considering the growth of the city and the limited future capacity of the landfill, as well as the lives affected by how we all generated waste."