European countries and their ways to help the planet

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April 06, 2022

This semester at Sea, we’ve been learning about the United Nations and how their 2030 agenda was developed in order to make the world a better place.The 13th goal of the United Nations is to combat climate change and its impacts, which is very important. After traveling for almost three months around Europe, I am amazed at their ways of protecting the planet. Of course, not every country is perfect, but we can learn from each other.

One of the first ports I visited was Greece, and while there I saw many windmills. This type of system is a zero-emissions energy source! In my global studies class, I learned that wind energy has fewer negative environmental consequences than many other energy sources. With few exceptions, wind turbines do not emit pollutants into the air or water, and they do not require water for cooling. Wind turbines may also reduce the amount of electricity generated from fossil fuels, which results in lower total air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, which helps with climate change!

Another example of European countries’ helping the planet was through public transportation. In terms of public transportation, Spain and France are quite similar, and they have been my two favorite locations to travel to so far. Spain and France are known for having the most high-speed trains. I think most of my friends agreed that the transportation systems in the countries we visited were reliable and fast, which was appreciated. Having a good transportation system not only combats climate change by creating fewer emissions, but also improves a social issue that affects many people in today’s world, including the continent of America. Not having good transportation means being unable to access employment, goods, services, leisure, and social networks. Some citizens don’t have the resources to buy a car; therefore, they must rely on public transport. When they don’t count on good transport, they have less mobility and access to work, community resources, medical treatment, and recreational opportunities. This is unfair because social status should not determine the opportunities people receive. Furthermore, having effective public transit minimizes carbon emissions, improves air quality, and prevents pollution, resulting in a better environment for people and the planet.

We were recently in Denmark, and I was very impressed by the use of bicycles, which made me incredibly happy. It is part of who they are as a country. France and Spain have good transportation systems, which helps the environment, but Denmark has a fantastic bicycle system. Cars, trucks, SUVs, and other motor vehicles are a major source of global warming emissions, and by cycling, people achieve better health and a better world.

I wanted to share these observations with you guys. Lately, I have been comparing countries in Europe to those in America, and I have been noticing interesting things that make European countries so advanced. I also have been working on an assignment for one of my classes where I explain how good public transportation is important for people and how this can open opportunities and help the planet. Probably, I will share about this in my next journal.