WorkingAbroad Low Carbon Manifesto - Ahulan

WorkingAbroad Low Carbon Manifesto


We work hard at WorkingAbroad to make our volunteer initiatives sustainable, ethical, and valuable to the globe.

Volunteering abroad at a WorkingAbroad project provides numerous advantages for the earth, but many of our volunteers fly, and air travel’s environmental effect may be crucial to slowing climate change.

Therefore, we are pleased to promote the ‘Slow Travel’ initiative. Slow Travel is based on Carlo Petrini’s 1986 Slow Food organization, which has expanded into a global anti-consumerism movement. Carlo believes food should be sustainable and supports small local enterprises that benefit the ecology. We feel this strategy should be used for travel.


Snail Travel is our philosophy. We wish to give all the information to make alternative travel simple and economical. Check out our Snail Travel Community Facebook Group and Snail Travel Instagram pages on social media for all the links and information you need to make informed alternative travel plans and a community of like-minded travelers to discuss them with.

Flight’s influence on climate change
Iceland Volunteering | Working Abroad Glaciers have lost 9 trillion tons of ice in 50 years. 2030 is expected to be a tipping point for irreversible and long-lasting climate change. The UN forecasts that global greenhouse gas emissions must be 55% lower by 2030 than 2017 levels to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Recycling and plant-based diets are great, but the aviation industry’s massive and expanding CO2 emissions are an elephant in the room.


Aviation would release the 7th most CO2 in the world, after Germany. Aviation provides 12% of transport-related emissions, while only 5% of the world population has flown, significantly less often than they have used a car, bus, or train. The environmental effect is clear. An individual’s carbon footprint is heavily influenced by flying. An economy-class roundtrip journey from London to New York emits 11% of a UK resident’s carbon, equivalent to a year in Ghana. Not to mention the additional greenhouse gases generated by airplanes, which might double their impact on global warming. Additionally, passenger flight emissions are predicted to skyrocket in the next decades. Global aviation traffic has surged by almost 2 billion passengers from 2004-2018, and the International aviation Transport Association forecasts it will quadruple to 8.2 billion in 2037. More flights mean more pollution. The International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN sub-agency, predicts that aviation emissions would increase by 300% by 2050, using a fifth of the world’s remaining “carbon budget.”

Current measures are inadequate

Youth climate protest in BrightonYouth Climate Protest | WorkingAbroadThe best way to solve this massive problem is to work directly with the big airlines and develop smart plans to build more environmentally friendly planes as soon as possible. Eviation, an Israeli startup, is building battery-powered electric passenger jets, and EasyJet plans to fly them on select routes by 2027.

However, these measures are insufficient to reduce emissions. Electric aircraft will only be used for short distances in two to three decades at the present pace of research and financing. Meanwhile, the aviation sector must provide rapid remedies. The International Civil Aviation Organization agreed in 2016 to ‘offset’ CO2 emissions increases from 2020. The ‘Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme’ is deceptive and ineffective. Only around 1% of travelers pay extra to ‘offset’ their trip. Airlines may participate voluntarily until 2026, although some of the most polluting nations haven’t. The policy does not cover domestic flights, which account for 40% of CO2 emissions, and most concerningly, 85% of carbon offsetting schemes fail, according to an EU assessment. The 2017 research examined Kyoto Protocol (UN) ‘Clean Development Mechanism’ offset schemes including aircraft forest planting. Since many forests have been unlawfully removed and trees don’t achieve their average CO2 storage capacity until 35 years old, it’s hard to quantify how much CO2 is being offset. EasyJet, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and Australian Airlines planted woods that were subsequently torn down with their funds. From 2021, the EU will cease counting carbon offsets toward emissions reduction objectives due to their unreliability.

Low-carbon WorkingAbroad manifesto

Coral Reef Marine Conservation | Volunteer Mauritius | Working Abroad Since industry-led efforts are inadequate, we must individually contribute. Only the international shipping and aviation industries are not covered in the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Climate Agreement. The International Civil Aviation Organization has a ‘guideline’ to improve fuel economy by 1.5% every year, but only EasyJet is meeting it. International aviation fuel is not taxed and free from VAT, unlike vehicle petrol, thus the UK is losing £10 billion in cash that might be used to accelerate electric aircraft research.

International governments enable corporate titans to prioritize profits above climate change. They won’t compromise economic development to accomplish environmental and moral goals. Given this, a grassroots solution seems the only viable alternative.

Swedish HikingSlow Travel Abroad – WorkingAbroadWe support the ‘Slow Travel’ movement and want to encourage our partners and volunteers to do so. Slow Travel prioritizes low-carbon transit above speedy flights and affordable costs. Bus, boat, or rail travel takes longer, but it’s a chance to connect with nature and locals. Greta Thunberg’s sailboat crossing the Atlantic to America to raise awareness of flygskam (flight-shame) has helped slow travel acquire popularity. Her April 2019 train excursion of Europe was impactful and feasible; she saved 400kg of CO2, a fourth of a Swede’s typical yearly carbon footprint.

Slow Travel has gained popularity in Sweden, showing how powerful grassroots movements can be in fighting climate change. The World Wildlife Foundation found that nearly one in five Swedes prefer train travel over plane travel for environmental reasons. Most volunteers who want to go overseas can do Slow go, or Snail Travel. Check out our sustainable travel guide below!

Guide to Snail Travel

The Guardian ran a series called ‘The Slow Traveller’ in 2007 on journalist Ed Gillespie’s 13-month journey across the globe without flying. Ed showed aboard the Trans Siberian Express and a Mexico-bound cargo ship that unhurried travel was viable and fulfilling before cellphones and quick communication. Train travel is nearly eleven times more fuel-efficient than flying. Buses produce 66% less CO2 per passenger per km than UK trains, according to the UK Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy.

The same research indicated that foot passengers on ferries emitted somewhat less CO2 than coach passengers, whereas automobile passengers emitted equivalent CO2. Even diesel and petrol automobiles were more carbon-efficient than flying.

Compare the environmental effect of passenger flights, vehicles, and trains here.

Europe is simple to go by train. The BBC recently reported on how a traveler earning less than the typical London pay may finance rail travel to Croatia.

Booking direct trains to your destination is easy, and rail passes that let you travel freely between dozens of nations for weeks or months are cheap. Tickets may be purchased from outside the EU, and under-28s and organizations get discounts. Visit

Visas and preparation make rail travel beyond Europe more complex. Although less direct, routes are memorable! Train routes from Europe to Asia are listed here:

Provincial websites provide local bus lines worldwide. Long-distance coach companies provide a longer, more comfortable, and inexpensive choice. In Europe, Flixbus, Eurolines, and Megabus lead. Compare costs among European bus companies at

Cargo ships
Large luxury cruises have a negative environmental image. If you can be more austere, industrial-scale vessels may be the most carbon-efficient mode of transport.

Will Vibert, who traveled from Hamburg to Nova Scotia on a cargo ship in 2019, produced just 5.3kg of CO2. Traveling this way is long, but the sheer number of transport routes is remarkable. Passengers can go from Canada to East Asia, the Middle East, and back again, via central America, or from any continent to any possible combination. Many firms specialize in freighter travel:

-Frachtschiff-Touristik Kapitän Zylmann GmbH
-Cruise on a merchant ship
-Experience slow travel/Langsamreisen
-A la Carte Freighter Travel
-Maris Freighter Cruises

Barges may transport you to a nearby place if you cannot go without your daily indulgences. This travel option is location-dependent and more like a regular vacation, but it shows that more reserved tourists may support Slow Travel without backpacking. Example:

Italian harbor with boatsThe WorkingAbroad Low Carbon Manifesto Some planes release more CO2 than others. Some firms consistently load planes to capacity and fly newer, more efficient versions. EasyJet had emissions per passenger kilometer less than half those of its rivals, according to a recent research. The worst polluters per passenger were Air China, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, and Turkish Airlines.

Take only direct, short-haul flights
Aircraft takeoffs require more fuel than cruising. Because of this, a direct trip from A to B creates less carbon dioxide than two connecting flights over the same distance. Shorter flights consume less gasoline than longer ones because of their shorter length and because longer flights fly at a higher altitude, which needs more fuel to attain. For Europeans traveling to Asia, trains link the two continents, so consider traveling by land instead of flying.

Fewer trips
Only half of Brits fly annually. In fact, 15% of travelers account for 70% of flights. However, skipping three UK-Mediterranean flights per year would reduce emissions more than being car-free or vegan. Instead of having one week of summer vacation every year, try traveling less often but for two weeks or more and immersing yourself in the local culture.

WorkingAbroad | Volunteering Abroad Blog Rae Hadley with bike

Hiking, biking
After reaching your location, transportation typically continues. People travel by rail, bus, and vehicle in cities and rural areas. On a lesser scale, public bicycle hiring systems like London’s ‘Boris Bikes’ are accessible worldwide, and trekking in attractive places allows you to enjoy the surroundings. A Slow Travel guide for the Isle of Wight includes bus, boat, cycling, and walking routes.

Participate in a destination environmental project

Traveling to participate in sustainable environmental initiatives may help you avoid mass tourism and consumerism, but it cannot ‘cancel out’ transport emissions. With shorter flights, projects in Europe, South East Asia, Africa, and Latin America fit the ‘Slow Travel’ idea well. Large bus routes link South America, our African projects are typically accessible by jeep or bus, and Europe and Asia are readily transportable by rail. Below are some Slow Travel-friendly project options!

Volunteer opportunities in Costa Rica include sea turtle conservation, working abroad, and four initiatives in Playa Tortuga, Nicoya Peninsula, Playa Rincon, and Guanacaste Province. Volunteers get rich conservation and animal rescue and welfare experiences on each project. Work on each assignment one after the other, traveling by bus or boat, to integrate Slow Travel.

● Peru: Our programs in Peru support Amazon conservation and provide volunteers the chance to live with local people. We also offer community initiatives in Cusco, Peru’s gateway and an excellent site to start a leisurely bus tour.

India wildlife volunteers walking elephants | WorkingAbroad
Projects in mainland Europe provide simple rail connection to numerous nations, promoting slow-sightseeing and exploration. Spain, Italy, and Portugal have wildlife conservation experience.

● India: Our bear and elephant sanctuary project in Uttar Pradesh is easily accessible by leisurely travel. India has substantial express and sleeper rail service. These trains feature AC, allocated berths, and can be booked online, unlike the media’s depictions of packed suburban trains.

In Thailand, we offer both land and marine wildlife initiatives, including the Coral Reef Conservation and Diving Project and Elephant Volunteer Project. Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia are readily accessible by bus, with local and VIP busses offering higher protection and direct routes with fewer stopping locations.

Our Rural Community Volunteer Project in Nepal allows volunteers to deliver healthcare and live with people in rural agricultural regions. Nepal may not be accessible by rail, but hiking and trekking are the perfect Slow Travel destinations. Local guides are available and essential, helping you learn about the animals and culture. They also protect backpackers, however groups may hike solo with a permission.

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