Saving Life on Earth

Here are some things to consider doing. Some items may not be applicable to you.

© Frederick Matzen |

I believe the only way to prevent the worst impacts of human-caused climate change is for the vast majority of people to take individual actions. This checklist is designed to make it easy for you to identify actions you can take. – Don Parcher

The greatest threat to life on Earth is probably the belief that someone else will save it

Scientists predict that more than 1 million species are on track for extinction in the coming decades (according to

It’s only if enough people take enough steps, big and small, that we’ll be able to avoid mass extinctions of life on Earth

Our nation has both an obligation and self-interest in facing head-on the serious environmental, economic, and national security threats posed by climate change. — Senator John McCain (R-Arizona)

We will pay for this [climate change] one way or another. We will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today and we’ll have to take an economic hit of some kind. Or we will pay the price later in military terms. And that will involve human lives. — Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, retired Marine and former head of the Central Command

Humanity is failing to stop the climate crisis. It’s now beyond urgent—the planet is screaming for help. – Greta Thunberg

  • Know that you can make a difference for the better, and, that saving life on Earth requires actions by individuals not just governments and businesses
  • Reduce your consumption of resources, especially fossil fuels and plastic
  • Research facts about climate change, e.g., where we stand with climate change, solutions ranked and links at end of this checklist
  • Communicate your concerns about climate change to others, along with recommended actions to fight climate change
  • Consider having fewer children of your own (consider adopting instead)
  • Communicate your concerns about climate change and the environment to elected officials
  • Vote for, volunteer for, and/or, contribute to environmentally-sensitive candidates and elected officials
  • Try to get a job which will enable you to fight climate change and/or protect/restore the environment
  • Donate money to and/or volunteer for organizations working to fight climate change and/or protect and restore the environment – see list at the end of this checklist
  • Encourage elected officials and others to support a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend program such as the one proposed by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby
  • Encourage elected officials and others to support carbon sequestration efforts:
  • Determine your carbon footprint (e.g., and adjust your lifestyle to reduce your carbon footprint – buying carbon offsets (e.g., best carbon offset programs and Nature Conservancy) is not an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint
  • If you are able to invest, choose investments which promote climate action and/or protecting/restoring the environment
  • Participate in marches, demonstrations, etc. which promote climate action and/or protecting/restoring the environment
  • If you’re a U.S. citizen, call your Senator’s and/or Representative’s office thru the congressional switchboard (202 224-3121) and briefly express your concerns as well your support for or opposition to proposed legislation.
  • Ask businesses to provide environmental product declarations on their products, especially in the construction industry
  • Reuse items
  • Recycle items, especially paper, glass and metal (try to throw away as little as feasible)
  • Repair items instead of replacing them
  • Reduce junk mail (ask to be removed from mailing lists, e.g.,
  • Cancel subscriptions you don’t need
  • Support environmentally-conscious businesses
  • Minimize streaming of movies, etc. – uses a lot of energy
  • Join a time bank (search the Internet for “time bank” in your area)
  • Pick up litter and recycle or dispose of it properly
  • Share this checklist with others (see social media buttons at end of this checklist)


  • Avoid flying when feasible. If you do fly, buy carbon offsets to offset your flight(s), e.g., best carbon offset programs, carbon offsetting, and, airlines that offer carbon offsets
  • Buy, lease or rent an electric (plug-in) vehicle, or, the most fuel efficient (usually smaller) vehicle feasible
  • Walk, ride a bike, use public transit or carpool (or vanpool) instead of driving when feasible
  • Plan ahead to combine trips
  • Use your most efficient vehicle when feasible
  • Keep your vehicle in good operating condition (tuned up, emissions system checked)
  • Keep tires properly inflated – saves gas and extends life of tires
  • Ensure your old tires are recycled
  • Avoid quick starts
  • Drive slower
  • Avoid idling your vehicle for long periods
  • Wash your car at a car wash or with water from a bucket (vice a hose)


  • Reduce your consumption of meat and dairy, or, better yet, become vegetarian, or, best, vegan – producing meat is a very significant contributor to climate change due to livestock releasing methane (which increases climate change significantly more than CO2) and forests being cleared to grow grain to feed livestock (it takes about 20 pounds of grain and 1800 gallons to produce one pound of edible beef) – importance of eating less meat in fight against climate change
  • Buy/consume foods which are grown locally and/or certified organic
  • Buy foods which have little or no packaging, especially packaging which is hard to reuse or recycle
  • Buy foods in bulk
  • Use a lid when boiling water, etc. – to reduce energy used
  • Reduce your consumption of food and avoid wasting food
  • Minimize take out and delivery food which has a lot of unrecyclable packaging

At home and/or work

  • Work out of your home as much as feasible (e.g., telecommute, go to workplace for fewer days but longer hours)
  • Live/work in the smallest and most energy-efficient building/space feasible and/or rent out extra rooms
  • Have solar panels installed on your roof and/or on your land – solar panel installation
  • Contact your utility company about options for having some or all of your electricity supplied by renewable sources, usually for a slightly higher cost
  • Replace gas appliances with electric appliances
  • Use electric or battery-powered garden equipment, e.g., lawn mower, weed whacker
  • Turn off lights, appliances, etc. when not in use
  • Unplug appliances which constantly consume electricity
  • Turn your water heater down (e.g., to 130 degrees F) and insulate it with a pre-fab ‘blanket’ (don’t block air vents on gas heaters)
  • Don’t leave the water running when you’re not actually using it, e.g., while brushing teeth, shaving, rinsing dishes
  • Attach low-flow faucet aerators on your water faucets
  • Fix leaking faucets
  • Use sponges, rags and cloth towels instead of paper towels when feasible
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs (especially those you use the most) with compact fluorescent bulbs
  • Ensure there’s adequate weather-stripping or caulking on doorways and windows
  • Use latex paint instead of oil-based paint
  • Estimate your personal, household and/or workplace’s greenhouse gas emissions and explore the impact of taking various actions to reduce your emissions at
  • Request a free energy audit from your utility company
  • Request a free water conservation survey from your water company
  • Repair instead of replacing items when feasible – for help: check for community groups which can help and/or check
  • Set up place(s) to put recyclable items
  • Take hazardous materials (paints, cleaners, etc.) to approved sites for proper disposal
  • Donate old clothes to charity

Heating, air conditioning, etc.

  • Wrap your water heater with an insulation jacket
  • Reduce use of heating (put on more clothes, turn down thermostat before going to bed)
  • Reduce use of air conditioning (open windows, close blinds and curtains, use a fan)
  • Clean or replace air filters approx. monthly


  • Take showers instead of baths
  • Turn off the water during showers while you’re soaping or shampooing
  • Limit the time you spend in the shower and take fewer showers
  • Install low-flow shower heads
  • Check for leaking toilets by adding a few drops of food coloring to the water in the tank and see if it appears in the bowl
  • Put a brick or weighted plastic jug in your toilet tank(s)
  • Don’t flush the toilet every time when practical


  • Wear clothing items more than once before washing them when feasible (set up a place to put clothes already worn but not needing to be washed yet)
  • Do only full loads of laundry, use as little detergent as feasible, use the shortest cycle feasible, and, use warm water wash and cold water rinse
  • Hand wash clothes (except suits) instead of having them dry-cleaned
  • Air dry clothes when feasible


  • Replace your old refrigerator with a more energy-efficient one and recycle the old one
  • Set your refrigerator to 38-42°F and your freezer to 0-5°F
  • Don’t pre-rinse dishes before loading in dishwasher
  • Operate the dishwasher only when full


  • Use plants (e.g., native, naturally drought-resistant) which don’t require a lot of water
  • Reduce the amount of grass which requires watering in your yards
  • Avoid using pesticides/chemicals in your yards
  • Don’t water the lawn when the sun is at its peak
  • Don’t overwater your lawn and plants
  • Start a compost pile for yard waste and some food scraps
  • Plant trees, especially where they’ll provide shade for your house
  • Let grass grow long where feasible
  • Use a lawn mower with a mulcher
  • Clean driveways, etc. with a broom, not a hose


  • Get to know your neighbors so you can help each other, e.g., car pool, buy in bulk, lend/borrow items
  • Support more funding for public transit
  • Join, and/or volunteer for, environmental community groups
  • Subscribe to local environmental email list(s)
  • Organize programs to encourage and help others do items in this checklist
  • Share your Earth Day action to your local and global community by registering it with your favorite environmental or community service organization, or at Earth Day Network (
  • Encourage politicians to support legislation that will put a direct and steadily-increasing fee on carbon-based fuels to help wean us off fossil fuels and move us toward greater use of clean energy sources such as solar and wind –
  • Plant trees, with approval from authorities and/or owners of the land


  • Take your own bags (e.g., cloth) to the store
  • Buy used items when feasible
  • Reduce purchases of disposable products (e.g., paper towels, cups, batteries, razors) or check out
  • Avoid buying items with excessive packaging and packaging which cannot be reused or recycled
  • Buy only items you’re sure you’ll use
  • Buy items in bulk
  • Buy concentrated products
  • Buy items, especially paper products, with “post-consumer” recycled content when feasible
  • Buy energy-efficient appliances
  • Buy plug-in, instead of battery-powered, appliances
  • Buy clothes which contain organic cotton, hemp, recycled PET plastic and/or unbleached and non-toxic dyes
  • Avoid buying products made from tropical hardwoods or old growth trees
  • Consider buying toilet paper and paper towels made from bamboo instead of trees – might only be available online
  • Avoid using the store’s bags


  • How Colleges and Their Students Are Boosting Sustainability:

For more info and to volunteer and/or support action (Listed alphabetically)

  • – building a future that’s just, prosperous, equitable and safe from the effects of the climate crisis – named after 350 parts per million, the safe concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – cofounded by Bill McKibben
  • Center for Biological Diversity – working to secure a future for all species, great and small, including humans, hovering on the brink of extinction through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive
  • Citizens’ Climate Lobby – lobbying the U.S. government for a fee on carbon with dividends going to all households on an equitable basis
  • Earth Day Network ( – mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide – world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 75,000 partners in over 192 countries to drive positive action for our planet
  • Environmental Defense Fund – using science and different perspectives to make the environment safer and healthier for all
  • Extinction Rebellion – non-violent, disruptive civil disobedience
  • Greenpeace International – uses non-violent creative action to pave the way towards a greener, more peaceful world, and to confront the systems that threaten our environment
  • Nature Conservancy – working for a world where people and nature thrive
  • Natural Resources Defense Council – works to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities
  • – provides factual environmental info
  • Sierra Club – defends everyone’s right to a healthy world
  • Sunrise Movement – fighting climate change
  • The Wilderness Society – uniting people to protect America’s wild places

For more info (Listed in order of relevance)

Thanks for reading!