AISB gives its students the amazing opportunity to travel and participate in CEESA tournaments across Eastern Europe. However, flying hundreds of students to different cities causes a detrimental impact on the environment. In fact, Director of Athletics & Activities David Hughes estimates that this season’s flights will emit 6.6 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
So, what exactly does that mean?
The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project reports that in order to keep the earth’s global temperature rise to 2˚C or less (which will already have detrimental side effects), everyone will need to average an annual carbon footprint of just 1.87 tons by 2050. Currently, the average is 18.3 (in the USA, per capita).
The Earth Institute at Columbia University states that “If you fly for work or pleasure, air travel is probably responsible for the largest part of your carbon footprint,” urging people to avoid flying if possible.
Minimizing our Carbon Footprint
While of course there are many ways for us to individually lower our carbon footprints (eating less meat, not buying fast fashion, taking public transportation, etc.), the best way that AISB can lower its emissions is by cutting back on air travel–although it may not be a realistic solution.
School Director Peter Welch says, “The carbon footprint [of AISB] is disproportionately massive, but I am not criticizing anybody. Because we are international people, we are flying a huge amount and we are driving big cars.”
Getting students involved in finding ways to minimize the carbon footprint is key. We can start this by trying to become more aware of our actions. “Taking a look at the carbon footprint of our Vampires traveling is one small step,” says Hughes.
Why planting trees might be our best solution
Research shows that consistently planting trees (along with reducing carbon emissions) could be the best way to combat the current climate crisis.
Trees absorb high amounts of CO2, and deforestation is happening all around the world–including in Romania. In the last few years, 27 million square meters of wood were cut across the country’s forests. If trucks carrying all this wood were placed behind one another, it would be equivalent to 16 times the length of Romania’s borders.
One of the factors that exacerbates this problem is people’s neglect of deforestation. According to an NYDF progress report, the global carbon emissions from deforestation are equal to the greenhouse gases released by the entire European Union.
Changes are happening
The school is currently trying in conversations with the non-profit organization Forests without Frontiers to give students the opportunity to plant trees in the Transylvanian forests.
“The ideal situation is that students sign up–30-ish this year would be awesome–and after the spring season we head up on a bus and plant the trees,” says Hughes. “We would need to plant 109 for the carbon footprint of our trips and one for the bus journey!”
Stay tuned for upcoming information about the tree-planting trip, but expect it to happen in May. Anyone can help plant trees, regardless of whether or not you traveled for CEESA this school year.
If you want to calculate your household or transport footprint, check out this website.
Tell us: Do you have any ideas about how our school can offset its carbon footprint? Please comment below!