Pledge cards draw students into One Planet Day

Katherine Wade

A group of WKU students are encouraging their classmates to pledge to a sustainable action today, on what they are referring to as One Planet Day — also known as Earth Day.

Whether it be recycling a bottle or riding a bike to class, Morganfield senior Charlie Harris said the small things really do add up.

“Our whole purpose with One Planet Day was to get people thinking about actionable commitments you can make toward a sustainable future,” he said.

One Planet Day is based on a set of 10 principles of sustainability established by BioRegional and the World Wildlife Fund. According to, the principles are zero carbon, zero waste, sustainable transit, sustainable materials, sustainable food, water, health and happiness, culture and heritage, fair trade and the local economy, and land and wildlife.

Harris said tables will be set up around campus Friday providing students the opportunity to take sustainable action.

They will be handing out pledge cards, which will have icons for each of the 10 principles. By completing a sustainable action, participants will get one of the sections punched.

For example, if you buy fair trade coffee at Java City, you will get “fair trade and the local economy” punched. If you eat at the food court and choose to skip the plastic bag, there will be a table nearby where you can get “zero waste” punched.

WKU Sustainability Coordinator Christian Ryan-Downing, who teaches the One Planet Day course, said the students came up with the idea for the punch cards.

“I think they wanted to find a way to record the actions that people were committing to and measure those results,” she said. “Because we’re offering opportunities all over campus, the cards are a way to bring it all together.”

Once all 10 of the principles have been punched, the pledge cards can be entered into a raffle for prizes. The winners will be awarded at the International Night celebration at 7 p.m. in Downing University Center.

Ryan-Downing said the prizes would include a hot air balloon ride, a rain barrel and gift cards to restaurants around Bowling Green.

Harris said he thinks it’s important for students to make a commitment to sustainable action in order to there’s an interest to the government.

“If we’re pushing for our government to push legislation around climate change, how can we ask them to change their actions and their policies if we’re not making that kind of commitment?” he said.

In addition to making a difference, Ryan-Downing said Earth Day is about having fun.

“It’s a celebration,” she said. “It’s a great day to bring everybody into the celebration of sustainability and One Planet living.”