Reduce your impact | WWF

Concrete things you can do to help our living planet

We all need to make better choices in what we consume and how we produce and use energy.

To reduce our ecological footprint our actions must address the sources of the biggest impacts we humans have on our planet: energy use and eating.

You might be surprised to discover that while we all need to make lifestyle changes, saving the planet doesn't have to mean giving up the things you love.



Measure your impact

The first thing is to get an idea of your your own personal Footprint.

Everything we do makes a demand on nature. The food we eat, the clothes we buy, the way we travel, everything.

Added together, the demands made by each and every one of us – humanity's Ecological Footprint – are far too much for our planet. 50% too much, in fact.

A good start for lightening your load on our planet is to first understand where your own impacts come from.

What's your footprint?

© Chris Martin Bahr / WWF

  • The Ecological Footprint is an indicator of human pressure on nature. 
  • Humanity is currently using the renewable resources of 1.5 Earths to meet our yearly demands for energy, food, shelter, and the things we do and buy.
  • People living in richer, more developed countries generally have a higher Footprint than those living in less developed countries.  

Reduce your carbon emissions

Without question, the most important thing we can do for our planet is to drastically reduce our CO2 emissions.

Simple and immediate ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint include:


  • The amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases released by human activities is far more than ecosystems can absorb.
  • These excess gases are responsible for climate change – the greatest threat to biodiversity and humanity this century. 
  • Our carbon footprint accounts for over half our total Ecological Footprint.

Use your consumer power

One of the greatest day-to-day positive impacts you can have is simply to be an informed and selective shopper.

Your position as a consumer gives you tremendous power. If you reject food and goods produced in an unsustainable manner, and instead choose environmentally friendly alternatives, the companies will listen – and change their practices. 

In particular:
Aisle after aisle of fully stocked shelves at a typical supermarket in the UK.

© WWF / Richard Stonehouse

  • Unsustainable agricultural and fishing practices are some of the greatest threats to species and habitats around the world.
  • High demand for timber in Europe, Japan, the US and China drives illegal logging - one of the main causes of forest loss.
  • Every day, about 270,000 trees are flushed down the drain or end up as garbage all over the world.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

This mantra should be first and foremost when making decisions as part of our daily lives – at work, on vacation, when we're out shopping, and at home.

In particular, we can all work to:

Do more!

  • Take action
    The lifestyle changes we make as individuals are vital, but so is high-level policy change by governments and companies. Add your voice to our online campaigns – and help convince world leaders to protect our planet.
  • Support WWF
    Help us continue our work on a number of different levels to safeguard nature and biodiversity.


Rio +20 - United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development
© Rio +20 - United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development © United Nations