Is Studying Abroad bad for the planet?
When you study abroad, you probably sit on an airplane and emit carbon into the atmosphere. But you probably also use buses and public transportation in your destination more than you drive a car. Probably you walk more than you do in Pittsburg, and in some countries you have to return pop bottles to the store where you bought them for your deposit or might notice that the city streets have recycling containers for paper, plastic and cans. Probably you eat more food that was locally produced and has been transported over shorter destinations. Overall, do you think your international travel helped or harmed the planet?
PSU is making efforts towards sustainability on many fronts - We have a new major in Sustainability, new buildings are being built using renewable materials like bamboo, Sodexo has conducted composting experiments. Across campus, PSU is thinking about sustainability.
Here are a few resources to help you study abroad and travel sustainably:
Green passport study abroad- Become a green passport holder. Take the pledge to minimize your impact on the environment and act in culturally respectful ways.
http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable/ - National Geographic's Center for Sustainable Destinations, working to protect the world's distinctive places through wisely managed tourism and enlightened destination stewardship. See sustainability scorecards for your destination.
http://www.earthcharterinaction.org/content/ - The mission of the Earth Charter Initiative is to promote the transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework that includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace.