Climate Action and Travel: An Interview with Scientist Dr. Sweta Chakraborty

Written byPauline Yang

Here we look at how COP27 brought individuals from around the world together to have meaningful dialogues and what we should continue to do to work towards building and maintaining a sustainable future.

We had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Sweta Chakraborty, a Risk and Behavioral Scientist and President of United States operations of We Don’t Have Time, a climate action network. Her work is motivated by the need for concise and reliable science communication to strategically manage human resiliency and vitality. Dr. Chakraborty is also the founder and principal of Adapt to Thrive, a venture to better equip individuals, businesses and governments through effective partnerships towards solutions in an ever-changing world.  

She also hosts discussions on Risky Behavior with renowned guest speakers on topics such as  climate change and nutrition to carnal knowledge and prescription drugs. 

As Dr. Chakraborty is a strong advocate for education, her passion lies in supporting opportunities for women and minorities in the STEM field. She believes those in this industry have the ability to positively contribute to the future we want for our planet. From our conversation, we learned about her thoughts on sustainability, regeneration, and the need to advance women leadership in executive levels.

Key Takeaway:

Representation matters and we all need to collaborate across borders to accelerate solutions to achieve our climate ambitions within tourism.

We Need to Have Essential Climate Conversations

One key issue we’re facing is the concept of decarbonization across all sectors. Food in agriculture is a major culprit, as well as transportation and fashion, but these conversations are not happening to the extent that they need to be. Most conversations involve electrification, but there are many other ways to think about how we are going to overhaul transportation, such as cars, trucks, factories, and aircrafts, which impacts everyday decision making. Enabling the transition to carbon free transport is easier said than done. Governments will need to build infrastructure, upgrade urban planning policies with transit-oriented development strategies, and provide financial support. Below are a few ways to change the way we move and reimagine public spaces:

  1. Encourage and promote walking and safe bicycling as these would serve as zero emission transport options. These are the cleanest ways of mobility, while improving health, air quality, and vibrant communities. This also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion, and the demand for oil.
  2. Use public transportation. Public transportation stimulates the economy, diversifies the job market by creating more jobs and offering easier access to other jobs, and can result in a saving of 30% of carbon dioxide emissions.
  3. When air traveling, try to book direct flights. Jet-fuel is a high-carbon source. The more  connections you have throughout your journey, the higher your carbon footprint.

Travelers are constantly making decisions around how they choose to get from point A to point B. COP is a prime example of a place where people must think carefully about how to travel. It is also a place where we may come up with innovative solutions around travel, food, fashion and ways of transport. 

Applications Can Help Carbon Offset Travel

Goodwings is a B-certified, Copenhagen-based travel provider that allows consumers to offset their travel. When a consumer books a hotel on the platform, GoodWings uses its booking revenues to invest in biofuel and nature-based removal offset projects on their behalf, while providing travel emissions data for sustainability reporting. GoodWings has also made rates economical for business travelers. This means that businesses have the ability to reduce their flight emissions by 25-100% on domestic trips, 10-50% on regional trips and 1-10% on long haul flights, at a considerably lower cost than what they would pay if directly purchasing through the airline. Companies like GoodWings are excellent to partner with if you are wanting to feel better about air travel and do your part in traveling consciously.

More Women in Leadership to Tackle Global Climate Challenges

Women in leadership matters. It is without a doubt that women have faced more barriers than men when it comes to fully engaging in the economy. From different geographies and income levels, disparities between men and women are still apparent today, in forms of wage gaps, advancement opportunities, and unbalanced representation in important decision-making for constituents. This is one of the reasons why Dr. Chakraborty, as a female professional in the sciences, has been championing opportunities for young women and underrepresented groups to pursue careers in STEM. 

Recently, in 2022, she launched a not for-profit organization called House of Scientistica, where fashion and science come together to support the next generation of women scientists. From her accomplishments, Dr. Chakraborty hopes to serve as a living role model who empowers and inspires other young women leaders to take charge and follow their dreams. 

The future is female. Female leadership is important in today’s world because women are also powerful agents of change while bringing new perspectives and cultural and structural diversity. According to Get Smarter, here are four advantages of having women in leadership:

  1. More diverse problem-solving
  2. Increased organizational collaboration 
  3. Higher employee engagement
  4. Improved financial performance

Stay Connected and Engaged Through Technology

You do not have to physically travel to be engaged. Dr. Chakraborty has mentioned that as a representative of We Don’t Have Time, this company has employed technology to allow anyone anywhere in the world to stay connected. We Don’t Have Time is a movement and tech startup that utilizes social media to hold policy makers and relevant companies accountable for their actions on climate change. 

Through interactive forms of media, individuals like investors, board advisors, and climate activists from various backgrounds and expertise can participate in conversations and be part of the solutions from the comfort of their own home.


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