Some of the greatest challenges ever faced by humanity, such as climate change, power generation, and access to natural resources now simultaneously loom large on our collective horizon. All of these challenges appear separate on the surface but are actually woven together by human behavior and the impacts of technology.
Addressing the dilemmas of our day requires us to explore how problems connect and act creatively around what roles citizens, governments, and corporations can and will play in solving or exacerbating these problems.
Part of the challenge that faces each of us in thinking about these issues relates to making them personal — how do we use our own talents, time, and daily decisions to positively or negatively impact the outcomes about which we care?
A Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility has been established at MIT as one small step in making these issues more salient in the lives of students: "I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these of any organizations for which I work."
The Pledge is more than a statement to "do no harm." It's a pledge to critically explore throughout one's career just what "harm" is and what one can do to alleviate suffering in the world. It is also a symbol that students can use to remind themselves of their commitments and express these commitments to others.
We encourage all students (whether graduating this year or not) to visit http://sustainability.mit.edu/Pledge to learn more and participate as Pledge-takers or Pledge organizers.
Christopher J. Sequeira G is a pledge ambassador for the Graduate Pledge Alliance.