The 5 Most Important Things We Can Do to Protect the Planet

I recently spoke with Julia Wasson of Blue Planet Green Living and she asked me what I think are the five most important things we can do to save the planet.

Saving the planet – let’s just say, protecting the planet. I’d like to frame this whole thing as protecting the planet instead of saving the earth. The planet doesn’t need to be saved. The planet will be around a lot longer than we will.

  1. Really, we need to save ourselves and save our existence and our civilization as we know it. I believe that it’s a humankind challenge in how we accept and interact with each other. Certainly, love and respect and the ability to listen and be collaborative is part of that process. I think we could learn to love ourselves, our families, and each other a little bit more and judge less. I think if you embrace the fact that we’re all trying our best and really take that critical nature out of it, we would be less entrenched in our own opinions and more willing to listen and be collaborative.
  2. We certainly all could eat less meat and rely less on land animals as food sources. There’s no question about it that the amount of resource intensity required by meat and dairy production and the amount of land source degradation happen because of eating animals. And so, I would embrace the fact that we could protect the planet more if we all ate less meat. I’ve been doing this as a vegetarian for almost 15 years now.
  3. We should use less toxic products in our daily lives, from our cleaners to our beauty care products to the mattresses and furniture we build. We need to be aware of the chemicals that exist in each one of those and understand that you don’t have to live a chemically laden life. Reducing the amount of chemicals is more beneficial for the planet, for our waterways, and for land, our children’s future, and also our own health.
  4. Another thing we should think about is the “buying cycle,” and put some intentional thinking around this. Every day, I realize that less really is more. Truly, I need less to have a fulfilled and happy life. Just buying less would be very anti-capitalistic and anti-consumptive, but the planet would breathe a big “Ahhh” of relief. Being less consumptive is a powerful thing. You’re requiring less, you’re demanding less of the earth. And you’re reducing your impact on the planet, something that I think about. Certainly, it’s a challenge of mine. I always can do better at it, but it’s an intention of mine, and I do a little better every day.
  5. The last thing is being grateful. I don’t think, as a culture, as a species, we’re grateful enough. Grateful for the moments that we have. Grateful for the people that are in our lives. And grateful for the resources that we have and the ease of the life that we have. I try to be very intentional every day when I wake up in the morning. I try to think of those things that I’m most grateful for, and I try to think of something new every day. Being more grateful is a way to recognize the magnitude and the importance of where we are and our lives. And embracing the fact that we have a limited time here and we should make the most of it for our children, for the people who are around us, and for the planet.
Published on: August 27, 2009
About the Author
Photo of Christopher Gavigan
Christopher Gavigan is Chief Executive Officer of Healthy Child Healthy World. For more than a decade, he has dedicated himself to improving the lives of children and families. He holds degrees in environmental science and geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has extensive graduate training in child psychology and education.
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