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Make a Commitment

The Splash Trash Tour encourages people to make a public, written commitment to adopt a new habit that can reduce trash in the ocean.  

Why Make a Commitment?  Research shows:

  • If you first do a small ‘low-cost’ behavior, you are more likely to perform a larger, related behavior afterwards.  Small easy actions lead to larger ones.


  • When you make a formal commitment, you are more likely to follow through. 


  • Written commitments are stronger than verbal ones, especially if those commitments are made in groups and/or are made in public.   


  • Public commitments are more powerful because we care what others will think of us if we don’t keep our promise.

During the 2017 Tour, we asked people to select one action from a list of options that they could take to reduce trash in the ocean and promise to do that action for 30 days. 


To make the commitment public, they were asked to write it on a piece of paper, read it to their friends or family and then post it on the ‘We Care, We Commit’ board.

More than 1,000 people posted written commitments during the Tour.


Check out this short video on what they said! 

If six-year-old Lily can make a commitment, you can too


Join Lily and hundreds of others.  


Make your commitment today.

You too can make a difference!

"I just wanted to take a moment to express how much your Tour meant to me.  My son and I have kept our pledge to not use plastic bags any more! I used to take bags sometimes, but then I would forget to put them back in the car. I forget less and less now.  Making the pledge made all the difference."

"I remember you", a lady said to me at the chiropractor's office in Eastpoint.  "You're the Splash Trash lady.  I made a commitment not to use plastic bags when you were at ANERR two months ago and I haven't since then. Not one!"

Click here for a list of actions you can choose from that can reduce trash in our oceans.


The top four are carry your own bag, carry your own bottle, carry your own cup and say no to straws!

Making a Commitment


Be Specific:  Choose one specific action that can reduce trash from the ocean.  Just one.  Research shows when you try to do a lot of new things  at once, you usually won’t do any of them well, if at all, over the long term.

Start small: Start with an action that is relatively easy for you to do.  Once you are successful at that smaller action, you will be more likely to do a harder one!

Make it visible: Write your commitment on a piece of paper and post it where you will see it every day to remind you.  For example, if you choose the action ‘carry my own reusable bags’, post your commitment paper in the car where it will remind you to take the bags into the store.


Make it public: Read or discuss your commitment with family members or friends.  You will be more likely to keep your commitment if others you respect know about it.  Ask them to join you.  It’s easier to adopt a new behavior when you're doing it along with someone else! 

 More about Making Commitments


McKenzie-Mohr, D. (2000). New ways to promote proenvironmental behavior: Promoting sustainable behavior: An introduction to community-based social marketing. Journal of Social Issues, 56(3), 543–554. doi:10.1111/0022-4537.00183


McKenzie-Mohr, D. (2011). Fostering sustainable behavior (3rd ed.). Canada: New Society Publishers.


McKenzie-Mohr, D., & Schultz, P. W. (2014). Choosing effective behavior change tools. Social Marketing Quarterly, 20(1), 35–46. doi:10.1177/1524500413519257


Pallak, M. S., & Sullivan, J. J. (1979). The effect of commitment, threat and restoration of freedom on attitude change and action-taking. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 5(3), 307–310. doi:10.1177/014616727900500307


Rogers, T., Milkman, K., & Volpp, K. (2014). Commitment devices: using initiatives to change behavior. Journal of American Medical Association, 311(20), 2065-2066. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.3485


Sanagorski, L., & Monaghan, P. (2013). Using audience commitment to increase behavior changes in sustainable landscaping (IFAS Publication Number #WC154). Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science. Retrieved from:

© SplashTrash 2016

SplashTrash Intl. by SplashTrash Intl. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Please give credit to SplashTrash Intl., the SplashTrash Tour, Bette Booth,

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