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Archive for the ‘Green Living’ Category

Jackie Jorgensen, the Eagles Abroad marketing intern, writes:

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I never knew 23 days could change my life; in just 23 days my perspective on this world was greatly enriched. After seeing New Zealand and Australia, I’m not sure how the world could ever get any more incredible. These countries offer vast jaw-dropping landscapes, and a beautiful culture centered on sustainability.

 

My name is Jackie Jorgensen, and I am a junior at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.  This winter I went on the Eagles Abroad Sustainable Business program to New Zealand and Sydney and this year I am the new marketing intern back at UWL.

 

New Zealand opened my eyes to treating our planet with the care and respect it deserves.  Never in my life have I seen such clear blue waters, luscious greenery, and clean streets.  Growing up in Milwaukee, I have been exposed to the city pollution, and carelessness for the streets.  It was extremely refreshing to be exposed to a culture that takes such care of their environment.

 

While abroad our group completed several incredible hikes such as Aoraki/Mt.Cook and the Routeburn Track, we went sea kayaking, freely explored foreign cities, and dedicated a few days to a home-stay where I was placed with an incredible woman from the United Kingdom. A major highlight was traveling to the beautiful coastal town of Kaikoura, where we were able to swim with about 400 wild dusky dolphins!

 

Jan 16 167Alongside our adventuring and traveling, we also heard about concepts of sustainability from some truly inspiring Kiwi and Australian businessmen. They spoke about methods to leave less of an environmental footprint while still reeling in a solid profit.  It was truly refreshing to hear a non-Americanized business perspective.

 

New Zealanders truly value their land and society, which I found to be incredibly admirable.  Sustainable business is something every country needs to focus on and with this experience behind me; in the future I hope to be able to make a difference in how the citizens of the world do business.

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Courtney Roth, the Hokies Abroad marketing intern, writes:

During our study abroad in North Queensland, we learned about the pernicious human impact on the environment. Upon my return to the U.S., I made a conscious effort to live a more sustainable and environmentally friendly life.

With 2015 right around the corner, many of you may be having a difficult time deciding what your New Year’s resolution should be. If this is the case, fear no more, here are three easy-to-keep lifestyle changes that can help you to live a greener life and decrease your carbon footprint.

  1. Instate Meatless Mondays: Research has shown that meat consumption can be damaging to the environment, requiring mass amounts of water and gas for production and transportation. Going without meat one day a week may help prevent overconsumption. Furthermore, there is data to support that decreasing meat intake may decrease your chances of getting cardiovascular disease or cancer.
  1. Plant a tree: Everyone knows that trees are good for the environment; they offset carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and provide shelter for wildlife. An easy way to decrease your own carbon footprint is to plant a tree sapling in your yard. Better yet, make a fun day of it and encourage your friends to get together and plant trees together. I guarantee you’ll be glad you did. Planting trees does not require a huge lifestyle change but does create a long-lasting positive environmental impact.
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Virginia Tech students look out over a reforestation project in the Daintree Rainforest

 

  1. Utilize energy efficient light bulbs: Replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with halogen incandescent can decrease energy consumption by 25 to 80 percent. Furthermore, eco-friendly light bulbs can last up to 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs, actually saving you money! If you like saving money, helping the environment, and hate replacing light bulbs all the time, then buying halogen light bulbs may be the best decision you make in the New Year! For more information about eco-friendly light bulbs, visit: energy.gov.

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Carly Kubly, the Eagles Abroad marketing intern, writes:

 

Usually the first thing that comes to mind when you imagine a vineyard is row upon row of grapes. Having grown up in a farm town in Minnesota, I have seen my fair share of crops and so was not particularly thrilled to be taking a tour of a vineyard while in New Zealand. Little did I know I was about to fall in love with the winery.

 

Yealands Winery, although it obviously has many rows of grapes, also has a much more complex environment. The landscape at Yealands, located in Seddon, New Zealand, contains many different wetland areas, trees and flowers. Native birds and sheep also call the vineyard home. This biodiversity has set Yealands apart from other vineyards.

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One of Yealands’ utmost priorities is sustainability, which is backed by the fact that their winery was the first in the world to be certified as carboNZeroCert™. It is their goal to become the most sustainable winery in the world, and they are well on their way, particularly having engineered the world’s first vine pruning burners as a major energy source. One of their more innovative tactics is to play classical music to the grapes. Yealands powers stereos with solar energy in order to help the grapes grow faster – certainly not something I would ever have thought of.

 

While I learned a lot about sustainability at Yealands, I also learned the importance of keeping an open mind when visiting a new place. For me an activity I was not as excited about ended up being one of the most interesting parts of my program. It is easy to make assumptions, but I challenge anyone studying abroad or even just visiting some place new to have an open mind – you never know what you will find!

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Cassie Meakin, the Hokies Abroad marketing intern, writes:

When I arrived home from studying abroad in Australia and New Zealand this past summer, I knew my lifestyle needed to change if I wanted to maintain the beautiful ecosystems that had changed my life. While abroad, I witnessed firsthand the impacts the human race’s carbon footprint has left on earth, including coral bleaching and deforestation.

New Zealand class, summer 2013

New Zealand class, summer 2013

One of our professors Dr. Jim Haynes calculated our class’ carbon footprint while in New Zealand, and it’s safe to say the large number was unnerving. Even the smallest things we do have a ripple effect that immensely affects the environment. Luckily for us, we can take certain steps to counteract our impact!

One particular course of action to help reduce your carbon footprint is to fly carbon neutral. For any jetsetter, this green step can be particularly useful. Carbon neutral flying can neutralize or offset your flight emissions each time you fly. The money you donate goes to environmental efforts on carbon projects.

If you’re headed on an AUIP program to the South Pacific, you’ll likely be flying on Qantas or Air New Zealand, which both have options to fly carbon neutral. Qantas provides their Fly Carbon Neutral program, meanwhile Air New Zealand has their Air New Zealand Environment Trust.

Individuals and businesses can also calculate their overall footprints from all lifestyle actions and offset them via Climate Friendly. Climate Friendly even has popular carbon offset packages in case you aren’t sure what your exact footprint is.

Here's some of the beautiful New Zealand landscape we need to sustain! Photo by Jancarla Ocampo

Here’s some of the beautiful New Zealand landscape we need to sustain! Photo by Jancarla Ocampo

Above all, educate others! Education is the key to conservation. By taking personal action on climate change and spreading your knowledge, you can make a difference.

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Last week, our Buckeyes Abroad intern reflected on the environmental consciousness she took home with her from studying abroad in Australia. We’re always pleased when students retain valuable knowledge and implement it upon returning home. Our Wolfpack Abroad intern, Robert Smith, also learned the same concepts while studying in New Zealand and shares this:

Many of us understand that we have an impact on our planet and have the desire to live a lifestyle that lessens this impact. Multiple AUIP study abroad programs highlight the topic of sustainability, thereby helping hundreds of students each year learn about the subject and ways to live greener. Here are a couple simple tips to aid in living a more sustainable lifestyle.

powerplugsUnplug unused electronics

In an effort to save energy, you should always unplug your cell phone, media player, laptop and other devices after completion of charging. Electronic devices that are plugged into an outlet can still draw power even when not being used, so it is beneficial to disconnect the device at a full battery charge. When your desktop computer is not in use, be sure to it’s shut down. You can also set it to “sleep mode” instead of the screensaver to limit energy use. You will save energy in your home and also reduce your electricity bill.

Limit shower time

Some of us take comfort in having a nice long hot shower. It can feel like a mini vacation from the daily grshowerheadind, but the green benefits of a shorter shower are too positive to ignore. According to the EPA, a common shower head uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute, so a 12-minute shower would use 30 gallons. By reducing your shower time by simply a few minutes, you can save a significant amount of water. A shorter shower saves not only water but energy too. Energy is required to raise the temperature of the water to the desired warmth, so less time in the shower equals more energy saved.

To extend your green living when you’re on the road, be sure to read Suitcase: Environmentally-conscious packing and traveling tips.

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Annalise Kelleher, the Buckeyes Abroad marketing intern, writes:

Before I left for Australia, I knew the program’s general theme but didn’t know many details about the subject of “Sustaining Human Societies and the Natural Environment.” I had never considered myself an environmentalist, and I never thought much about my natural surroundings. I knew that I was going to learn the basics, but I ended up learning so much more about myself during my time abroad.

Australians are very conscious about their environment. Stressing the concept of interconnectivity, our field guides pointed out the environment is all connected and relies on its counterparts for survival. For example, water runoff from farms and agricultural work near the coast can bring additional sediment into the ocean, thus in turn potentially hurting wildlife and the Great Barrier Reef. This all made sense in my mind but seeing the damage in real life truly opened my eyes. I realized how seemingly daily actions can seriously hurt something else.

Ohio State students Ashley and Annalise snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef

Ohio State students Ashley and Annalise snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef

I took these ideas back home with me post-program. Then, I began recycling at my apartment, convinced my friends to recycle and stop littering, and began using less water at home. These may seem like small environmental contributions, but I know each conservation method helps. By teaching others, I’ve learned that I can learn more environmentally friendly techniques.

In my reflection, I realized we seem to have worse problems with conservation and environmental protection in America than in Australia and many other countries. For students planning to study in Australia, keep an open mind and an open heart. You will learn several important lessons that, if approached correctly, could begin to change our home and protect the beautiful environment around all of us. So, take plenty of notes, because you’ll want to remember those changes to implement upon returning home.

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Still deciding what gifts to give this holiday season? Selecting thoughtful presents for countless family members and friends can be more of a pain than LAX customs this time of year. To assist your shopping woes, we’ve compiled our five top travel-related items for every price range. And if you aren’t as enthused by these options as we are, read last year’s holiday gift guide for more ideas.

Under $15: Vapur Element

Folding flat when empty, this lightweight, yet durable water bottle is a must for any traveler. The reusable pouch is odor, taste and stain resistant to ensure long-term use and enjoyment. The bottles come in four colors and are proudly made in the U.S.

Courtesy of Vapur

Courtesy of Vapur

Under $20: Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2013

If the enticing photographs aren’t enough for your travel-saavy best friend, the month-by-month worldwide event planner surely will be. Lonely Planet’s expert team ranks in detail the top 10 countries, regions and cities to visit in 2013. And if you didn’t know already, our beloved Christchurch received sixth place in the cities listing.

Courtesy of Lonely Planet

Courtesy of Lonely Planet

Under $30: 2013 Cities Calendar

Jetting off to another corner of the globe each month doesn’t have to remain a dream any longer. Well, on paper, that is. Rifle Paper Co. presents this high-quality calendar with a hand-painted city map for each month. Our Sydney program makes us partial to September, which features the city.

Courtesy of Rifle Paper Co.

Courtesy of Rifle Paper Co.

Under $70: Donner shoulder bag

A compartmentalized bag is one item no well-seasoned traveler can go without. Thanks to Overland Equipment’s classic travel bag, everything from sunglasses to an umbrella fits perfectly in place. Our alumni already noted the Donner as a favorite, and we’ve come to agree the same after testing out the bag ourselves. The only hard decision in purchasing this bag will be deciding which color your globetrotting sister will like most.

Courtesy of Overland Equipment

Courtesy of Overland Equipment

Under $100: SingleNest Hammock with Atlas straps

We’ve noticed countless students at our partner institutions of East Carolina University and University of Florida luxuriating in these hammocks hung in campus quads. Made by Eagles Nest Outfitters, the SingleNest is both heavy duty, boasting a 400 pound capacity, and lightweight at just 17 ounces. Securely hung with the tree friendly Atlas straps, we can imagine how ideal this hammock would be on our Fiji program to tie between two palm trees.

Courtesy of Eagles Nest Outfitters

Courtesy of Eagles Nest Outfitters

Best of all, we’re giving away all five of these amazing presents to one lucky winner! Visit the Globetrotter Gift Giveaway sweepstakes on our Facebook page to enter for your chance to win over $200 worth of prizes.

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