Who are we?
We’re an international network of students and staff taking action to transform our universities and make their travel policies and culture sustainable. ExPlane was created during Sail to the COP, a think tank sailing from Europe to South America in fall 2019.
The goal of ExPlane is not to get universities to be completely flight-free; we recognise that this is not (yet) possible and not fair towards staff and students who can get more value out of their academic career by travelling. However, we want to get rid of unnecessary travel and ensure that all decisions to travel by plane are made consciously and with full awareness of the environmental impacts.
Our Long Term Vision
This is what we, as ExPlane, imagine our educational institutions to look like…
Sustainability is an integral part of all studies. Research is conducted for climate solutions and for communities, not for industries to make profit.
The university is not geared towards publishing as much as possible, but rather strives for bold, innovative and in-depth research stemming from collaborations within a diverse academic community.
The university strives after accessibility and diversity. Educational opportunities are not determined or affected by factors like ethnicity, gender, disability, social class or income.
The university adopts travel policies that are really climate friendly. That means the university actively reduces air travel and incentives the use of ground bound means of transport.
In order to avoid extensive travel, the university or school relies on digital communication as much as possible. The university safeguards the privacy and data protection of their students and staff.
Our Theory of Change
ExPlane sees change happening on different levels, both through individual and institutional changes. The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples in which change will happen:
- Students and staff decide to change their own (academic) flying behaviour by making more conscious decisions and not taking flights unless absolutely necessary.
- Students set up an ExPlane group within their university, organise dialogue nights on the topic of (academic) air travel, and start a petition in their university for individuals to be flight-free.
- Students and staff propose travel policy changes to their university board, in order for university policies to disincentive air travel.
- Universities rethink their curricula, for example in terms of courses that help the growth of aviation, and field courses which require students to fly.
- Universities change their policies for staff travel, for example by promoting and incentivising more teleconferencing and remote, online participation, and enforcing that staff travel overland if the destination is under a certain distance (e.g. 700km).
- Universities that have partnerships with airline companies (e.g. through pilot training programs) rethink these relationships and the way in which they facilitate continuous growth of the aviation industry.
Let us ExPlane to you why we should talk about travel in academia
We host workshops and give talks about our vision and work at ExPlane regularly. Don’t hesitate to approach us for your event: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always enthusiastic to spread our message further and to get a conversation started about the carbon emissions of travel and universities’ responsibility to respond to the climate crisis.
27/05/2021 Duurzame mobiliteit na Corona at de Groene Peper
28/11/2020 The EIT Alumni Event at the European Institute of Innovation & Technology
16-20/11/2020 EAUC’s Global Climate conference
10/10/2020 Day of Sustainability Symposium at Delft University
02/07/2020 Grounding Travel Policies of Organisations at Stay Grounded
21/02/2020 Travel and Climate Emergency at Wageningen University & Research
Internal Affairs & Outreach
Even though she is an environmental student specialising in organic agriculture in Wageningen, Symke supports a whole lot of other initiatives addressing environmental and social problems, such as the travel industry. She turned sustainability into her passion and lifestyle, but is also passionate about dancing, eating crisps, sailing, and long train travels. With ExPlane she hopes to engage and activate more students and staff into the subject of sustainable travel.
Community Organiser & Outreach
While she is studying Geography with Social Data Science in London, she also wants to help shift the sustainable aviation narrative to disclose the neo-colonial implications of green washing within the aviation industry. Amy is involved in grassroots activism relating to refugees’ equal access to university and the digital divide campaign during COVID-19. With ExPlane, she hopes to help encourage more students and staff to use their privilege to engage in sustainable travel. Amy is also a painter and has creativity in every bone in her body. You can often find her making dumplings, practicing yoga, or visiting London art galleries.
During her studies in Environmental Policy in Paris, Rosa mainly focused on climate scepticism and hostility towards climate policy to understand what hampers the ecological transition and could help to accelerate it. She hopes that ExPlane will not only trigger a travel policy revolution within the academic world but also more broadly increase citizen engagement in the field of sustainable transport. Rosa spends her weekends transforming a container into a circular tiny house and also loves to write and take photos.
Partners & Research
As a soon-to-be graduate of Environmental Politics at Sciences Po Paris & FU Berlin, Isabel cares about questions surrounding ecology and justice. She is interested in working in research to contribute to a deeper understanding of the challenges we are facing, but also believes in the importance of taking action now – for example through engaging with ExPlane. Isabel enjoys giving guided canoe tours on Berlin’s waterways, listening to podcasts, learning languages and planning train itineraries for the post-pandemic era.
KIM VON DER HEIDE
Community Organiser & Outreach
Kim became interested in the intersection of social and environmental issues during her Master’s in Global Studies in Gothenburg, Sweden, and feels especially passionate about environmental justice. Whether through research or activism, she hopes to play an active role in creating a more ecologically sustainable and just world, among other things by addressing universities’ travel policies. Trying out new recipes to explore the world through food is one of her favorite pastimes. Growing some of the ingredients at home is another project she would like to take up.
Social Media Manager & Climate Justice
She is a Social Sciences student in London, originally from Estonia – a country with unique nature where she initially became interested in environmentalism. Leena is most interested in the intersections of social issues and the climate crisis, and is constantly pondering over questions of equity & liberation. She loves bingeing podcasts, reading, practicing yoga, dancing, playing any musical instrument at hand and catching every bit of sunshine the British weather can afford.
Illustrations & Design
Jacinta is our creative brain and illustrator. Self proclaimed eco-artist, Jacinta is fighting for a liveable, lovable world the best way she knows how; by engaging minds and hearts through creative means. During her BSc in Earth, Energy and Sustainability, she dedicated her Erasmus to exploring environmental issues through a creative lens. She continually laces her climate and social advocacy with artistic flair. As travel held an important role in shaping her life, she is driven to be part of the movement that sees it transform into something fair and sustainable.
After working on different social projects in Nepal for several years, Sofie decided to stop flying because of the climate impact of aviation. Sofie is now settling down back in the country she was born: The Netherlands. Sofie now wants to spend her time on climate movements like ExPlane and will start a full-time study to become a nurse soon. Oh, and she also recently re-discovered her love for plants: Sofie is trying to turn her room into a little jungle now.
JISKE VAN OEFFELT
Jiske finished her BSc in Earth, Energy and Sustainability, and decided to spend a year or two on activism after that. She wants to become more experienced with environmental education and communication but also loves grassroots activism. By working on various youth-led environmental projects, she’s constantly inspired by seeing what young people can achieve when working together for a better future.