How to make Erasmus+ more carbon neutral – A student view

The Erasmus+ programme is vital to the European Union’s efforts to promote sustainable development and climate action. However, the programme has a significant carbon footprint and several ways exist to make it more carbon neutral.

Moreover, many young people would like to travel more sustainably, but simply cannot afford expensive train journeys. Their curiosity to get to know Europe in all its diversity is thus dampened – climate protection and the European idea become mind-bogglingly contradictory.

One way to make Erasmus+ more carbon-neutral is to revise the green top-up from €50 (US$54) to €250. The green top-up is a financial incentive that is offered to Erasmus+ students who choose to travel by sustainable modes of transport, such as trains. By increasing the amount of the green top-up, the Erasmus+ programme would make it more affordable for students to choose sustainable modes of transport, which would reduce the programme’s carbon footprint.

Promoting train travel

Another way to make Erasmus+ more carbon-neutral is to develop train travel. Train travel is a more sustainable mode of transport than air travel, and it is also a more affordable option for many students. The Erasmus+ programme could support the development of train travel by providing funding for projects that promote train travel and by making it easier for students to book train tickets.

It is worth mentioning that until now the travel costs to and from the exchange location have had to be covered by the participants themselves. This financial obstacle would be overcome with free tickets, meaning even more young Europeans could participate in the Erasmus+ programme.

In addition to these measures, the Erasmus+ programme could also make some other changes to reduce its carbon footprint. For example, the programme could:

• Increase the use of renewable energy in its activities.

• Reduce the consumption of resources, such as water and paper, in its activities.

• Promote sustainable practices, such as waste minimisation and recycling, in its

By taking these steps, the Erasmus+ programme can become more carbon-neutral and help to promote sustainable development in the EU.

A change of perception

In addition to the above, modifying our perception of mobility is also important. We need to see mobility as more than just a way to get from one place to another. Mobility can also be a way to experience new cultures, meet new people and learn new things rather than just moving from one place to another. By changing our perception of mobility, we can make Erasmus+ more sustainable and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Making Erasmus+ more carbon-neutral is a complex challenge, but it is essential to meet the EU’s climate goals. By taking the steps outlined in this article, the Erasmus+ programme can help reduce its carbon footprint and positively contribute to the fight against climate change.

Joanna Maruszczak is an executive committee member and Tanguy Guibert is vice president of the European Students’ Union.