50 for 50 UW Earth Day pledge

In preparation for the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, join us in taking the 50 for 50 pledge, featuring 50 actions you can take to embrace the principles of climate justice.

The 50 for 50 Pledge contains a list of actions and resources to promote individual action towards Earth Day 2020 and beyond. Each participant can choose which activities are appropriate for themselves, or use this list as a starting point for your own ideas. Below is the full list of pledge actions, along with links to resources.

This pledge was designed by the College of the Environment's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and UW Sustainability. It is aligned with the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals, which address the need to strengthen the global response to climate change and tackle poverty and other environmental injustices. Learn more about the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Our actions on the planet have an impact and can make a difference in the long run. Join us adopting small changes, participate in the Earth 2020 Pledge, and share your acts to inspire others!


  1. Share how I care for the environment. Post a photo on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag UW Sustainability (@sustainableUW) or #UWEarthDay
  2. Participate in the College of the Environment's Intersectionality Project.
  3. Apply for Green Certification for your office, lab or student group at UW.
  4. Try a sustainable cooking recipe and share it with family and/or friends.
  5. Start a climate conversation. Ask one person you're close to how climate change has affected them. Listen to their thoughts and stories, then share your own.
  6. Volunteer in your community.
  7. Connect or volunteer with groups who are rescuing, preparing, and distributing food.
  8. Visit a National Park and share your story.
  9. Help my city by getting the new King County app to report noxious weeds.
  10. Ask at least three of my friends or co-workers to take the pledge!


  1. RSVP and attend the UW Environmental Justice Conference organized by the College of the Environment.
  2. Mark my calendar and attend UW EarthFest on April 22 at Red Square.
  3. Provide feedback on the draft UW Sustainability Plan.
  4. Volunteer with or visit the UW Farm.
  5. Volunteer or organize a food drive for the UW Food Pantry.
  6. Volunteer with a Society for Ecological Restoration UW restoration event or at the student native plant nursery.
  7. Visit the Washington Park Arboretum and engage through one of their hosted activities.
  8. Join the Peoples Climate Movement.
  9. Learn about the predicted impacts of climate change in the Pacific Northwest.
  10. Follow UW EarthLab or sign up for the newsletter.
    • UW EarthLab engages public, private, nonprofit and academic sectors in a shared and ongoing conversation that converts knowledge to action. Learn more and sign up here.
  11. Organize an event with friend or in your community to learn more about climate change and request a speaker from the UW Program on Climate Change.
  12. Participate in a Citizen Science project.
  13. Visit the 2020 Earth Day Northwest website and learn more about local events.

Reduce my footprint

  1. Become aware of my carbon footprint on the planet by calculating it.
  2. Use the King County EcoConsumer site to learn about ways to reduce waste.
    • The EcoConsumer site includes tips on reusing and repurposing materials, as well as free community repair events across the region.
  3. Reduce my food waste by not taking more than I can eat and saving my leftovers for later.
  4. Eat local and in-season food.
  5. Take action locally by joining a project or event through the Washington Sea Grant.
  6. Reduce my consumption of meat and dairy.
  7. Use reusable bottles for water and reusable mugs for coffee.
    • According to Starbucks, an estimated 600 billion paper and plastic cups are distributed globally each year. Purchasing a disposable cup every day this creates about 23 pounds of waste per year. If you bring your own reusable cup, you receive a discount off drink purchases at all campus cafes.
  8. Print only when it is necessary and double-sided if possible.
  9. Reduce my plastic waste.
  10. Calculate my home energy use and commit to some positive changes.
  11. Unplug electronic devices when not in use.
    • Phantom energy can account for 15% or more of the total electricity used by many types of electronics and office equipment, including computers, stereos and printers, continue to draw electricity when they’re plugged in and off. See more information.
  12. Carpool, ride your bike, use public transportation or drive an electric or hybrid car to reduce my carbon footprint by one pound for every mile you do not drive.
    • Use the commute calculator to see how much changing your commute could save in emissions and money.
  13. Use natural cosmetics and sunscreens to avoid polluting water bodies.
    • Marine life is seriously damaged by chemicals present in sunscreens and other cosmetic products, which cannot be treated in all water treatment plants or that are washed off when swimming. Learn more.
  14. Create a personal composting bin.
  15. Buy and plant a native plant.
  16. Learn how to build a rain garden.
  17. Record my own act of green through the Earth Day Network.
  18. Participate in King’s County 1 Million Trees program.
    • King County and partners will plant 1 Million Trees by 2020 across King County in both urban and rural areas. You can help by volunteering, donating or planting a tree. Learn more about the program here.
  19. Save water for wildlife.
  20. Learn how to choose sustainably-produced seafood at the grocery store.

Environmental Justice

  1. Read the guide: “The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World,” created by the United Nations to fight inequality and injustice.
  2. Read or recommend a book around environmental or climate justice.
  3. Educate myself by answering a 5-question quiz to challenge my knowledge on the relationship between poverty and the climate crisis.
  4. Discover the Indigenous History of the land I live on as a way to express respect.
    • The University of Washington acknowledges the Coast Salish peoples of this land. To honor the native communities in the land you come from you can explore the Native Land digital map to learn more.
  5. Find out why people of color and indigenous groups are protesting.
  6. Stay informed about indigenous rights issues by subscribing to Indigenous Rising’s YouTube channel.
  7. Choose one of the actions in this pledge and continue practicing for a year.