Ask people to put their signature on something, and they know you’re serious, and if they do it, you know they’re serious too.
So goes the philosophy underpinning the proposed “Cleveland Compact” – a regional sustainability document whose purpose is to outline a vision, define core values, and secure personal commitments from all individuals – from public officials and CEOs to community activists and the general public. The compact’s goal is “building an economic engine to empower a green city on a blue lake.”
The compact (currently in draft form) asks people to be aware of social and environmental impacts before choosing to do or buy something, contribute to a sustainable economy, and minimize their carbon footprint. Of course, it’s not binding and getting people to “promise” to do everything in the public compact will be impossible.
But if people look at a compact as a menu of options and they take on what they can handle, they will be well on their way to doing their part. Whatever your audience, a menu of options is a great way to begin to secure buy-in for sustainability – you’re asking people how they would like to help, not telling them what to do.