Pledging for sustainability

We often think our individual actions alone won’t make a difference for the environment however the effects of collective action should not be underestimated. If a group of individuals comes together to pledge to be more environmentally friendly, an impact is made. There is a social presence that helps each of us stay committed by public recognition and reward. Making a pledge or commitment to doing something, increases the probability that you actually do that action.

Sustainability pledges for universities are a great way to encourage a large community to be more environmentally friendly and many universities have such pledges. The Go Green Pledge is actually a pledge created by the University. The framework of the pledge was adapted from Yale University. It lists several small actions an individual can do to be more environmentally friendly such as but not limited to turning off the lights when not in use, reducing paper consumption, having smaller meal portions to avoid wasting the excess, using reusable items, educating others and giving back to the community. So far 2610 people have taken the pledge and the website shows a breakdown of how many pledges each clause received. This pledge isn’t just limited to the University community, these are small everyday actions anyone can take to become more sustainable. Students, faculty as well as friends and members of the greater Rochester community have taken the pledge; you can see their names on the website too! You can also take the pledge and share it with your friends and family.

On a larger scale we can see pledges like the Paris Climate Agreement and COP26 and the impact they have. In fact, such global pledges have encouraged several entities of the private sector such as businesses to come up with their own pledges to encourage sustainability. You can read more about some global sustainability pledges and movements here.


Written by Hanyia Ahmed ’22