Climate Action Pledge
Coping with global climate change is going to require cooperation on an unprecedented scale, and the same holds true at NYU. Some of the efforts will rely on steps taken by the University - such as refurbishing buildings to be more energy efficient - but some of the efforts will rely on individual steps - like eating more plant-based foods. Confronting climate change, when done together, can be effective, healthy, and even fun!
Take the 2040 Now Climate Action Pledge to indicate how you will take specific, achievable, but highly effective steps toward sustainability. To help you out, listed below is information on each action along with resources to support your pledge.
There will be check-ins over the coming weeks and months to see how you’re doing, and if you stick to your pledge, you’ll be entered into a raffle for a chance to win prizes!
I pledge to eat only plant-forward meals for 7-8 days each month
- Did you know that global food systems account for 25% of GHG emissions and that animal proteins contribute 50-200x the climate impact of plant-based proteins? At NYU, beef provides 5% of the calories of NYU’s purchased food, yet it accounts for nearly 50% of NYU’s food emissions while legumes provide 5% of total calories and only 1% of NYU’s food emissions.
- When eating at NYU dining halls, look for meals marked with vegan and vegetarian labels, indicating their low environmental impact, and try including more plant-based foods in your diet overall. Try eating plant-forward meals for one week each month, or 2 days each week. For more information, check out NYU’s Office of Sustainability website on food along with NYU Dining’s website on sustainability.
I pledge to participate with a local community or advocacy organization, reach out to my elected officials, and register and vote if I am eligible
- Did you know that nearly 75% of Gen Zers indicate that climate should be a top priority to ensure a sustainable planet for future generations yet only around 25% have personally taken action to address climate change within the past year?
- Advocacy is a great way to empower individuals to join in the fight against climate change while holding institutions, corporations, and the government accountable for their actions. Whether it’s through canvassing neighborhoods, attending a community board meeting, or joining a local community or advocacy group, there are many ways to advocate for the planet. Stay tuned for an advocacy toolkit to learn how you can get involved.
I pledge to take at least one sustainability-related course each semester
- Did you know that NYU has some of the top faculty and students researching and teaching about sustainability, in almost every school? In 2021, the Princeton Review named NYU #29 on the list of “Top 50 Green Colleges”, including ultra-green academic achievements!
- College is a great time to get familiar with sustainability concepts in any field. This includes environmental science but also business, law, sociology, marketing, fashion, health, engineering, medicine - you name it. Explore sustainability courses at NYU to learn which ones you’d like to take!
I pledge to compost all organics and appropriately dispose of recyclables
- Did you know that nearly 70% of all waste generated ends up in landfills and that this waste – when it decays – accounts for about 20% of global methane emissions, which are 25x more potent than carbon emissions? In New York City, over one-third of the residential waste stream is made up of organic waste that could be composted.
- By composting, you’ll help cut down carbon emissions from hauling trash long distances and methane emissions generated by the decomposition of food waste in landfills. You’ll also generate a valuable fertilizer that returns nutrients to the soil and helps plants thrive. Check out NYU’s Office of Sustainability website on waste to learn about where to compost at NYU and in New York City.
I pledge to not buy or use single-use plastic water bottles or bags
- Did you know that NYU used to buy hundreds of thousands of water bottles every year as recently as 2019 and that it takes 2,000x the energy to transport packaged drinking water compared to safe and healthy NYC tap water?
- In 2020, NYU implemented a water bottle purchasing policy that states that NYU funds shall not be used to purchase pre-packaged, still water on campus in NYC. Since then, NYU has eliminated the purchase of over 300,000 water bottles. To learn more about how you can help, check out procurement best practices, water bottle purchasing policy and FAQs, and the Green Event Standard.
I pledge to use human-powered or public transportation for all trips for one month
- Did you know that transportation accounts for roughly 25% of GHG emissions in the U.S. and that GHG emissions in the transportation sector increased more in absolute terms than any other sector between 1990 and 2020? Personal vehicle use – including rideshares - accounts for around 80% of these emissions.
- Biking and public transportation are convenient, healthy, accessible, and sustainable ways for people to get around NYU and New York City. NYU offers a variety of resources to help support biking and you should check out NYU’s Transportation Survey Results and Findings to learn more about how the sustainability of transportation at NYU is being improved.
I pledge to complete NYU IT’s digital spring cleaning of cloud storage
- Did you know that tech, which includes everything from the phone in your pocket to the cloud server storing your email, has a huge impact on the environment, and that IT operations amount to about 15% of carbon emissions across NYU?
- You can help by cleaning up your cloud storage. As members of the NYU community, we all store things on the cloud, including through NYU Drive and NYU Box, email, Google Photos, Google Groups, NYU Stream, WordPress and Wikis, and Google Sites. Take part in the digital spring cleaning by deleting what you don’t need. You can also focus on sending greener emails by limiting the size of attachments you send, only saving important attachments to NYU Drive, avoiding using “reply to all,” and unsubscribing from emails that you don’t read. Learn more about the Digital Storage Spring Cleaning and get more tech tips!