What is the climate impact of international education?

By Caroline Mangan, UCD Global

The intersection between climate change and international education is becoming an increasingly important area of discussion. Indeed, the UCD Strategy 2020-2024 Rising to the Future identifies sustainability as its first strategic theme, stating that “as a matter of urgency, humanity must learn to live sustainably without degrading its shared planet.”  

With the support of my Project Sponsor, Dr. Douglas Proctor, Director of UCD Global, I will be undertaking a green-belt project which aims to develop a framework to measure and report on the climate impact of UCD Global’s international mobility programmes. This will include international travel undertaken by students and staff via UCD Global administered programmes, i.e. outgoing student and staff exchanges, volunteering overseas, international summer schools; as well as international travel undertaken by UCD Global staff for core business, i.e. recruitment and marketing, partnership development, international development, conferences and networking. 

This project aims to create baseline information about the climate impact of our current activity in order to identify ways to adapt our mobility programmes and reduce our carbon footprint.

In order to launch this project internally within UCD Global, we will be running an online workshop on Friday 27th March which will be facilitated by Ailsa Lamont, Founder of the Climate Action Network for International Educators. The session is aimed at UCD Global staff and will give participants an overview of how the international education sector contributes to the emissions which cause global warming and offer practical tips on how to reduce their personal carbon footprint. It will introduce examples of how institutions and other players in international education are responding to the climate challenge around the world. I look forward to providing an update on this session and the project in general, through future WST Newsletters and UCD Global Engagement E-zines.

I would be very interested in hearing from anyone in the UCD community who could contribute their knowledge or expertise, or indeed time, to this project over the coming months.  Climate impact is an issue for all of us – I am keen to connect with those who are working on this topic, particularly in relation to international education and global engagement projects.

Contact: caroline.mangan@ucd.ie