Blog & Opinion
10 October 2019 • Rosa Groen
Spread the air travel shame
I can get really angry at all those (university of applied sciences) people who still keep flying. Don’t these people feel ashamed of their air travels?
I have to admit that the Hague University of Applied Sciences is very active in terms of global citizenship, inclusiveness and responsible entrepreneurship. But it’s not enough. When even students tell me they think it’s necessary to travel to Cherso, Crete, Finland and Italy in a three-month period, my blood starts to boil. It means we aren’t doing enough to teach responsible global citizenship. Code red has been issued for the climate (by the way, when will the university of applied sciences start to recycle plastic waste?).
What I really can’t stand are those people who stick their head in the sand and say “What about the electricity we have to produce to run the trains? Isn’t that polluting?” Yes, but if you do a little research, you will see that burning kerosine for fuel is significantly worse and if we use clean energy to run our trains, the difference will be even bigger. Even when you include the entire life cycle, from building to maintaining the railroad network, building and cleaning a train and airplane, an airport, etc., the train is still a much cleaner form of transportation. Most of these comparisons only look at the CO2 emissions, but we also need to consider nitrogen, fine particles and noise pollution that affects millions of people. It would be wonderful if people gave this more careful thought.
At the Business Management Studies degree programme, we have decided to travel to Barcelona by train for our study trip. I highly recommend it. Book an early ticket to Paris. Then at the Renfe office in the French capital you buy a ticket to Barcelona (for as low as 39 euro one way), or even Madrid, and it’s much cleaner than travelling by plane. It may be a little bit more expensive, but you can save by booking early. You can also travel quite affordably to Lisbon, Vienna and Budapest by train or bus. Look at the benefits: You have time to read or work, and you don’t have to spend hours waiting in a packed departure hall for a security check. A train trip to Barcelona will take around 10 hours, about twice as long as flying. But you do have time to read a book and admire the beautiful passing landscape. Who doesn’t enjoy the feeling of taking the time for a beautiful trip? Even when travelling for work? Even if I can only convince one person with this article, I will stop being angry. Okay?
That’s not just one girl talking.
Rosa Groen teaches research skills, public management, external projects and globalisation in Business Management Studies (MER) at the Faculty of Management & Organisation. Since 2015, she has also been working on her dissertation at Leiden University and is a member of the International Peace, Justice & Security Research Group. The focus of her research is on Western European cities and their policies aimed at attracting and retaining international organisations. Her personal motto is: ‘Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star’ (W. Clement Stone).