Biology student James shares his EcoGo journey towards Net Zero
By: Martha Knott
Last updated: Thursday, 18 November 2021
As a biology student, James was well aware of the negative effects of car emissions on the natural environment. However, it wasn’t until discovering BetterPoints that he started acting on this knowledge by changing his reliance on car travel. Here is what he had to say about the app and the EcoGo challenge, in an interview with BetterPoints.
Before joining EcoGo, what were your travel habits like?
“Before I came to university, I relied on my car to get to places. I come from a rural village where there is no choice but to drive.
I brought my car with me when I came to live in Lewes for my second year, having spent first year at my rural home due to COVID. However, the local transport links gave me an alternative option.
I heard about BetterPoints at a sustainability talk during Welcome Week. I thought ‘why not give it a go?’, so I signed-up and have been using it ever since.
It has provided a great incentive to be more sustainable by using the car less and less.”
How has the app helped you to travel more actively and sustainably? What features do you enjoy?
“It has made me much more aware of the way I travel, given it tracks exactly where I’ve been and knows the type of transport too. It hasn’t gone wrong so far which is really impressive!
I think the CO2 saved feature is an important one. I find it really interesting seeing which activities save the most compared to a car journey.
Even though I enjoy earning the rewards, climate change and the environment is the most powerful motivator for me.
When I have the time next summer, I want to work out how to achieve as close to ‘Net Zero’ travel as possible.”
How have your travel habits changed?
“I’m mostly walking to Lewes station and catching the train into university. I’ve tried to schedule my time on campus to reduce the number of journeys and cut my emissions.
I will only use the car once a week when my lectures and the train times don’t allow me to get to my aqua class in time at Lewes leisure centre.
I have a job at Tesco and there would have been a time when I would have driven the 10-minute journey. But now I will walk there and back. The same applies when I go there for my shopping.
It is undoubtedly easier to chuck the shopping bags in the car, but my mindset is different now. My thought process is that by going for a walk I will get some valuable exercise and stop an unnecessary release of carbon.”
Have you noticed any benefits as a result?
“Walking or catching the train has meant I’m not using petrol, which is particularly extortionate at the moment, so I’m saving money there.
Along with my aqua sessions, the walking has helped me to lose a stone in 8-weeks which I’m pleasantly surprised by. I didn’t think I could shift the lockdown pounds that quickly!”
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“I always thought that I’d need a car to do everything I wanted here, but it’s not the case. It might take a bit of planning to travel sustainably and a few extra minutes out of your day, but it is possible, and it will greatly benefit the planet.”
A big thank you to James for sharing his story with the EcoGo community. He is our first ‘Sustainable Sussex Travel Star’ and we would love more participants to share their story, so we are offering you a chance to win 5,000 BetterPoints too. Just look out for an invitation to share your story in the coming weeks on the BetterPoints app. Find out how to sign up to the EcoGo Challenge here.