The Easyjet app enables us to see where our plane lands on its way to Schiphol, where we will board. The plane is delayed. The small aeroplane icon reveals its route on my screen: first to Geneva, then London, and then directly to the Netherlands, from where we will be catapulted across the channel in a matter of forty-five minutes. Kind of impressive. Where are all these people headed on a Thursday evening? And all these destinations lie within Europe. Was railway travel not an option? Our decision was an easy one, A railway ticket to England is three times the price of airfare, and we are only students. A die-hard climate activist may say that we should reconsider whether we really need to travel at all, but again: we are only students wanting to get away for a weekend after the exams.
Our decision was an easy one, A railway ticket to England is three times the price of airfare, and we are only students
In my estimation, students are the least polluting demographic group, and students from Wageningen in particular. Consider: living together on just a few square metres, keeping the heating off to save money (and to show off your alternativeness), travelling everywhere by bike and, moreover, all self-respecting Wageningers are vegetarian or aiming to be, anyway. We need more students. For the climate!
And in addition, today’s student prepares for a future in which this way of life will form their new (permanent) lifestyle, as owning an independent house is beyond the reach of many (consider the heating bill! And the real estate prices, for that matter!). A polluting car is not needed if public transport gets organised, and we are all eating less meat to reduce emissions.
But there is still the flying shame that we are coerced into. I wonder whether boarding a fully-packed plane once every few years is really that bad. In any case, it is better to focus on private jets, as Extinction Rebellion did last weekend.
it is better to focus on private jets, as Extinction Rebellion did last weekend
I believe that the real solution to climate change is a complete system change rather than placing your hopes on individuals and “the market” to get it done. But I’m only a bachelor’s student, and the system change has yet to take place. Thus, we permitted ourselves to take the plane to England at the end of October. Contrary to our expectations, it was sunny. It was twenty degrees, and we lounged on the beach in our short sleeves. Instantly feeling the effects of our own decisions.
Ilja Bouwknegt is 23,bachelor’s student of Forest and Nature Management, and an active member of the study association WSBV Sylvatica. She sometimes does bat research at night.