What things did you enjoy the most about your experience this week?
Due to family reasons, I had to plan a last-minute trip to Italy, a country not included in this pilot project. Yet, I decided to keep tracking my emissions to identify if differences in infrastructures and services (from Germany, where I am based, to Italy, where my family lives) would change drastically my weekly target. And they do. A lot. Visiting my family means, for several reasons, moving a lot between the city of Rome and our house in the countryside (20 km away from Rome). This cost me a big share of my daily budget (taken by the car trip from one place to the other), but it also allowed me to finally enjoy vast natural spaces, wake up with birdsongs -rather than the city noise- and enjoy daily low carbon activities: meditate in the garden, picking fruits from our trees and appreciate every single product coming from our soil. I enjoyed finding alternative ways to use our almost-rotten apples and picking different herbs from my mum’s garden.
What were the main challenges you faced during the week?
As expected, my visit home brought several changes to my daily habits, and many challenges to this experiment. First of all, flying home. As I could not afford (time and moneywise) to travel by train (very cheap flight tickets lead to non-wise choices, unfortunately), I had to fly from Berlin to Rome, a choice that cost me the whole daily budget, and way more. With a one-way home, I emitted 224kg/CO2e (with the daily target being 6kg). First surprise of the week. After learning that, I promised myself I would choose alternatives as low-carbon as possible. It did work with food and goods choices, but it didn’t with transport alternatives. I realized (I actually knew it already) the transport system in Berlin cannot be compared with the one in Rome. As public transportations are not developed as they should be, and no trains run from the city to the outer parts of the region, I had to spend a huge part (1/3) of my daily budget in traveling by car from the city of Rome, where my family is based during the week and our house in the countryside – 20 km away- where we are currently dealing with restructuring and other family commitments.
What were your main lessons learned of the week?
Our daily choices can definitively influence the level of our emissions, but infrastructures, government services, and systems have a huge impact on it. If train connections between Germany and Italy were cheaper and faster, I would have not been forced to choose flight over train. Same for the transport system in my home town, where many are forced to take the car to reach some destinations within and outside the city.
What would have made it easier for you to achieve or surpass your target this week?
Definitively not taking a 2 hours international flight, as well as a proper train service between Rome and the small town in the countryside outside the city.