Our current systems and practices are depleting our Earth’s resources at an increasing rate well beyond its capacity to renew itself. Just a few years ago, the World Wildlife Fund’s groundbreaking global study calculated we were using 1.6 Earths a year. Today the Global Footprint Network’s latest data shows we are using 1.75 Earths each year. That means it takes the planet more than 18 months to regenerate the resources we use in a 12-month period.
The world needs topsoil to grow 95% of its food – but this vital resource is rapidly disappearing. A top UN official reported that if our current industrial agriculture practices continue, we have only 60 years of farming left.
There are many simple things you can do to reduce your ecological footprint. Your individual choices do make a difference, and together we can create a regenerative future for humanity and our planet to heal and thrive.
Reduce Your Foods and Goods Footprint
- Plant a garden, grow your own food
- Build a compost bin in your yard
- Shop at local farms and farmers’ markets
- Join a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
- Eat a meatless meal at least one day a week
- Recycle all your paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, and metals
- Use reusable water bottles
- Use reusable bags when shopping
- Buy organic and regenerative organic certified foods
- Buy local and sustainably sourced and packaged products
- Choose foods with less packaging to reduce waste
- Support the regenerative organic farming and healthcare movement
Use Less Water
- Take less frequent and shorter showers
- Only run the dishwasher when it is full
- Fix leaks throughout the house and in garden hoses
- Buy natural-fabric clothing; avoid synthetic clothing where possible
- Wash synthetic clothes: in larger loads, on shorter cycles, in cold water with liquid cleaner; avoid powder detergent, add a filter to absorb up to 87% of microfibers
- Wash your car less often
- Avoid watering your lawn and power washing your home and walkways
- Set up a rain barrel to catch water for your garden
- Plant drought-tolerant plants in your yard and garden
Use Cleaner Transportation
- Try not to drive when there are alternatives. Walk, bike, and take public transportation.
- If you need a car, drive a small one. If you sit idle for more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine.
- Service your car regularly. Keep emission control systems at peak performance. Change your air filters and regularly fill your tires.
- Avoid short airplane trips – take a bus or train instead.
Use Energy-Saving Features & Non-Toxic Products in Your Home
- Install energy-saving lamps
- Ensure your walls, windows, and ceilings are insulated
- Consider double-paned windows
- Use passive solar heating
- Choose energy-efficient appliances
- Choose sustainably produced nontoxic furniture
- Use biodegradable, nontoxic cleaning products
Cultivate Energy-Saving Habits
- In the winter keep the thermostat relatively low
- In the summer ease up on the air conditioner and consider opening your windows
- Unplug electronics when not in use
- Consider drying your clothes outside when possible
Calculate Your Impact and Make a Difference.
The Global Footprint Network, an internationally recognized nonprofit comprised of 70 organizations around the world, offers: metrics that are simple, meaningful, and scalable; actionable insights about natural resource consumption and capacity; tools and analysis to guide informed decisions. You can learn more about Earth Overshoot Day, the day that marks the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year, and effective worldwide solutions to #MoveTheDate to accelerate the shift to one thriving plant. They have also created a mobile-friendly personal footprint calculator for you to determine your Personal Overshoot Day and to learn about solutions so we can all tread more lightly on the Earth.
Rodale Institute is growing the organic movement through rigorous, solutions-based research, farmer training, and consumer education. You can learn and access more resources for how you can make a difference. “Every time you choose organic, you vote for clean air and water, nutritious food, and resilient soil. You have the power to heal the world.”