The 10 most important things
to do to save the earth

Want to be a purist and guilt-trip all your friends? Well, here are the 10 most important things to do to reduce your impact on the planet.

These are hard things. They give a sense of the kinds of fundamental changes that will be required to create a sustainable society. And they can be goals toward which all of us can work.

  • Stop at two: The birth of another excessively consuming American adds a tremendous burden to the earth's life support systems. So stop at two children, or one, or none.
  • Live in a modest house: The super-sized American house consumes vast quantities of resources and energy. Think about what you really need for a satisfying life. Rehab an existing house before building new. And make your house as energy-efficient as possible.
  • Live close to what you need: Choose to live a "lower-mileage lifestyle" in a community where the necessities of everyday life can be obtained by walking, bicycling, and using transit.
  • Drive frugally: The production, operation, and maintenance of automobiles creates huge ecological impacts. So buy a fuel-efficient car and drive it only when necessary.
  • Eat low on the food chain: Meat production creates far more environmental impacts than the cultivation of grains, vegetables and fruits. So a vegetarian lifestyle can be healthier for you and for the earth. Also try to eat organically and regionally.
  • Transform work: Changing the practices of one corporation can influence billions of dollars of purchases and investment. It is vital for everyone to help harmonize the human economy with the earth's natural systems.
  • Buy with a conscience: Bargains are often based on exploitation. Consumer choices can support companies around the world that respect the environment and treat workers fairly.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle: Remember that recycling is a last resort something you do when you can't reduce your consumption in the first place. Especially remember to reduce your consumption of materials, such as gold and other scarce metals, that cause a lot of environmental destruction to produce.
  • Be an activist: Join in and support the work of organizations that are creating a society that makes it easier for people to do the above.
  • Have fun: You don't want to be a curmudgeon or a hermit. The only reason to do the above is to create a world that is happier and healthier.

We'd like to hear your on this list!


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9 more things for sustainable consumption from the Sierra Club and the Center for a New American Dream


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