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My #YCL2019Immersion experience - by Felipe Sá

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

Being part of YCL’s 2019 Immersion was a privilege! As an International Relations’ undergraduate student who already decided to work with the climate change agenda, I couldn’t have had a better experience. From Berlin to Bonn, we learnt more about this broad topic by getting to know people, initiatives, projects and organisations that are tackling the challenge of our generation.

This two-week learning journey in Germany with over 20 young people from 14 different countries was amazing! To be and to work with a multicultural group was of immeasurable value to me!

Since climate change is an international problem, solutions must be thought globally. But this isn’t always easy. Working successfully with an international team, with different backgrounds, requires the ability to get along well with diversity and to see it as something that enriches the whole process. To be able to develop this skill was very meaningful to me.

Felipe with his team mates Gereon, Luciana and Sibu

During the immersion we developed group projects that were meant to solve issues related to climate change. Gerald Imo, Fju Mewes, Luciana Brandão, Sibu Szymanowska and I were in the urban mobility group. After discussing and identifying car dependancy as the problem that we wanted to work on, we started thinking about how to reduce it.

Becoming aware that people perceive cars as more convenient and faster than cleaner transportation options and that existing route planning software are biased towards cars, we decided that we should provide the information we considered necessary for people to make the best, most efficient, and healthiest decision.

We came up with a browser extension (which we called hOw2gO) that can be incorporated into current route planning software to improve its suggestions with new and improved parameters. These would be: CO² emissions; noise and air pollution; calories burned; gas prices/fare prices; and complete-time span (walking minutes to car/garage and time spent parking the car).

Our aim is to support and encourage behavioural changes towards alternative modes of transport by improving the access to information and developing a better environmental consciousness of individual actions. Quality of life could improve due to less traffic congestion, less noise and air pollution, less CO² emissions, reduced travel costs and health risks. People would be encouraged to use hOw2gO because it would show each user’s impact, keeping track of their carbon emissions and calories burned. Users could receive points and achievements for avoiding car usage and this could result in potential rewards provided by local partners. I’m really happy with the product our group came up with. It was a pleasure to work with them and to meet everyone in the immersion. I’m glad to become part of #YCLNetwork and I’m really excited to know what everyone is doing next!

About Felipe Sá: Born and raised in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro, I’ve always been passionate about nature and our planet. I’m an International Relations’ student at UERJ, where I’m currently writing my undergraduate thesis on climate finance and its impacts on the Brazilian environmental governance. For a year and a half I worked at Idesam, an environmental NGO. I supported its activities as the national coordinator of the GCF Task-Force, strengthening the role of Brazilian member states within and also outside the platform, followed the work of the NGO’s Carbon Neutral Program, the creation of the Partners for the Amazon Platform (PPA) and co-authored a study on ICAO’s CORSIA’s challenges and opportunities for Brazil. Connect with him via Linkedin or email.


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