This week, Madris is hosting COP25, the UN Climate Change Conference (hosted by Chile, but held in Madrid due to Chile's ongoing civil unrest). A couple of our au pairs are even volunteering at the event.
This is a strange COP, one the world doesn't expect much from, as no great announcements are expected (we might still be surprised), but it's also the one to position us (and when I say us, I mean the world) ahead of Glasgow's COP26, where the Paris Agreement is meant to kick in.
It's therefore a very important COP, and one where something exciting is happening: young people are mobilizing and taking on much more of a leadership role. Which brings us to one of the things we've been thinking about, and that is, what is the relationship between au pairing and climate change?
Let's begin with the obvious: aupairs travel (duh!). And flights, as we know, have significant co2 emissions, about 2.5% of the global, according to IATA. Tourism, in fact, accounts for 8% of global GHG emissions, according to a recent study by the University of Sidney.
But before we get carried away, remember aupairs are not tourists. They don't (usually) eat lavish food prepared for tourists, they don't buy tons of plastic souvenirs to take home with them, they don't rent cars for their stay...and most importantly, they live like natives, by staying with their host families. Because they usually share the family residence, the GHG emissions associated with their stay (heating, electricity) are greatly reduced.
Once they are in their host country, aupairs also tend to make great use of public transport. They often walk places, and use it as a chance to get to know the city better. They share cars with friends, or even strangers, when using Bla Bla Car, for example. In Madrid and Barcelona, au pairs are renting electric scooters and city bikes. In short, au pairs showcase the kind of smart mobility that we should all be aiming for.
Perhaps most importantly, au pairs have a key role in setting example for their host kids. Host kids see them as a reference and, as such, au pairs have a huge responsibility in shaping the way the kids think about climate change and about environmental issues in general. Every little gesture, whether it's recycling in the house, reusing plastic bags, making smart mobility decisions, etc. will be observed by the little people they live with. So when aupairs show their host kids that they care about the planet, and that fighting climate change and working towards the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals is a worthy cause, the impact they can have is enormous.
How do you feel, about the impact of au pairing on climate change?