UCSF Sustainability Stories

Kailyn Klotz, Sustainability Fellow, November 2017

UCSF Pledges to be….

UCSF has pledged to be zero waste by 2020 and carbon neutral by 2025. These might seem like lofty goals, but with active participation from the UCSF community, they are certainly attainable! Earlier this month at the IT Sharecase and the Lab Vendor’s Showcase at Mission Bay, we asked UCSF community members to make pledges in regards to environmental health.

Attendees of both events were excited to sift through all the different pledges the Office of Sustainability had to offer.

Pledges available ranged from “eat less beef” to “use reusable bags”. Some people pledged to do multiple actions, while others had a hard time finding one that they didn’t already do. This is a great problem to have because that means many folks are on the right track and already participating in sustainable practices.

Join the UCSF community and make a pledge to change in your own life to better the environment. Below are the top five pledges—all deliver substantial environmental benefits:

Eat less beef
Eating less beef is one of the easiest and best things you can do for the environment. According to a study from PNAS, beef production creates five times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions as the average of other meats and animal products. It also requires 28 times more land and 11 times more water.

Eat all leftover food to reduce food waste
food waste
According to the Natural Resource of Defense Council, 40% of the food produced in the US goes uneaten and wasted. This makes up 10% of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50% of our national land, and is responsible for 80% of the consumed freshwater in the U.S. Eating all of your food reduces more than just food waste.

Unplug electronic devices when not in use
Even though many of our appliances and devices may be turned “off,” when they are plugged into outlets a certain amount of “phantom energy” is still used. Use this website to estimate how much “phantom energy” the gadgets in your home are using.

Use a reusable cup
If you drink coffee every day and you make a pledge to use a reusable coffee mug or thermos, you are eliminating up to 23 pounds of waste every year.

Support green business
green business
Do your research before you buy. There are many businesses out there with great sustainability goals and practices that need your support to survive. Start viewing your dollars like votes and don’t underestimate the power of your purchases. Use tools like Ecolabel Index to guide you in your decision making.