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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Heal Our World Checklist

Footprints of leaves and flowers on grass.


Our current systems and practices are depleting the Earth’s resources at an increasing rate well beyond its capacity to renew itself. According to the World Wildlife Fund, it takes a year-and-a -half to generate the resources we use in one year. That’s an unsustainable path for the planet’s future.

The world needs topsoil to grow 95 percent of its food, and yet the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated in 2019 that 90 percent of the Earth’s topsoil is likely to be at risk by 2050.

Such statistics seem daunting, but if each of us reduces their individual ecological footprint, together we can make a difference. Here is an action checklist. Check it often and complete one action at a time. Think of incremental change as hope.


Foods and Goods

    Plant a produce garden for homegrown sustenance.

    Build a compost bin in the yard.

    Shop at local farms and farmers markets.

    Join a community-supported agriculture group. 

    Eat a meatless meal at least once a week.

    Recycle paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metals.

    Use reusable water bottles.

    Shop with reusable bags.

    Buy organic and regenerative organic foods.

    Buy local, sustainably sourced and packaged products.

    Choose products with less packaging to reduce waste.



    Take fewer and shorter showers.

    Run the dishwasher only when it is full.

    Fix leaks throughout the house.

    Buy natural-fabric clothing; avoid synthetic garments.

    Wash clothes in larger loads, on shorter cycles and in cold water; add a filter to absorb most microfibers.

    Wash the car less often.

    Avoid watering the lawn or power washing the home and walkways.

    Set up a rain barrel to catch water for the garden.

    Plant drought-tolerant plants.



    Walk, bike and take public transportation over driving.

    Drive a small car; turn off the engine when idling more than 30 seconds.

    Regularly service the car; change air filters, fill tires and maintain emission control systems.

    Avoid short airplane trips; take a bus or train instead.


Energy Use and Toxins at Home

    Choose energy-saving light bulbs and appliances.

    Insulate walls, windows and ceilings.

    Consider double-paned windows.

    Keep thermostat low in winter and high in summer and strategically open windows.

    Unplug electronics when not in use.

    Hang-dry clothes.

    Choose sustainably produced, nontoxic furniture.

    Use biodegradable, nontoxic cleaning products.


Learn More About: 

    Earth Overshoot Day, when humanity exhausts nature’s budget for the year, and how to #MoveTheDate at

    The personal footprint calculator at

    Rodale Institute’s organic-growing resources at