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The Anatomy of Action (AoA) toolkit showcases the top-level changes any individual can make to support the growing shift to global sustainability

Actions News Resources & Downloads 

The Anatomy of Action activates people to contribute to SDG 12. It provides core actions people can take in the domains of Food, Mobility, Leisure (consumer goods and tourism) and Housing. They help activate sustainable living for people. The AoA separates lifestyles into 5 main domains: food, stuff, move, money and fun, and maps out top-priority actions individuals everywhere can take to reduce their carbon footprint based on scientific evidence. By making individual changes to what food we eat, the stuff we buy, how we spend our money, how we move around and what we do for fun, we can bring about new ways of living that have more positive planet impacts. All visual assets are under Resources & Downloads at the end of this page. 

To test the potential of the AoA a 15 day social media Take Action Challenge was launched with a grassroots approach by engaging global influencers to encourage their communities to make sustainable lifestyle changes based on the AoA (visible on #Anatomyofaction). In doing so, youth were targeted globally – the next generation of consumers and change-makers - to show that sustainable living is easy, cool and fun.


Anatomy of Action for Sustainable Living

Video: Introduction to Anatomy of Action for Sustainable Living


Who is behind the AoA?

UNEP developed this media toolkit with the UnSchool of Disruptive Design, founded by 2016 UN Champion of the Earth Leyla Acaroglu as a contribution to the One Planet Network's Sustainable Lifestyles and Education Programme. 


Actions anyone can take



PROTEIN SWAPS - Reduce meat and animal product consumption habits and adopt a more plant-based diet

USE ALL YOUR FOOD - Get organic waste out of trash heaps and landfills to reduce methane, improve soil fertility, and increase equitable access to fresh food

GROW YOUR OWN - Grow your own food and connect to where it comes from in order to save money and to reduce transport, packaging, and food waste



BEYOND BUYING - Consider what you need and buy products that will last longer, be used multiple times, and are intended to be in use for as long as possible before being remanufactured or recycled

FASHION SLOW DOWN - Buy fewer and better clothes, stay away from fast fashion that mass produces at the cost of environmental and human justice

DITCH DISPOSABLES - Refuse everyday products which cannot be reused



KEEP ACTIVE - Keep or take up walking and cycling to work and advocate for your government and local businesses to provide more sustainable and safer public transport options

SHARE YOUR RIDE - Continue or opt for public and shared transport instead of driving, and advocate for more options

GO CLEANER - Swap to options like electric vehicles, cleaner fuels, and fewer kilometers to reduce your transport footprint



ETHICAL INVESTING - Use your principles to guide investing and consider socially and environmentally responsible options

DIVESTMENT - Actively swap your financial institutions or services to more sustainable options

ENERGY POSITIVE HOMES - Enhance your comfort, save energy and money by adapting your home and your habits to be more efficient



ENJOY THE JOURNEY  - Staying local can reduce your carbon footprint, help local economies, and can be more cost effective. When you do go the distance, stay longer and choose better products

STAY CURIOUS  - Embrace a life of constant learning, adventure, and curiosity, and keep an open mind

CHOOSE EXPERIENCES - Consider spending more time and resources on the experiences that add value to your life


Targeted Challenges

The Anatomy of Action can be used as a tool to design initiatives and challenges targeting youth to take action.



In the Spotlight 

Simply Live Better

This concept note presents the context and importance of young people as the key drivers in sustainable lifestyles and behavior change - identifying the events and tracks the Sustainable Lifestyles and Education team, through the Anatomy of Action, will work toward in 2021/2022. 


Anatomy of Action Challenges 2020/2021

The Anatomy of Action has been reactivated as a social media challenge all over the world, from Latin America and in partnership with Universidad de los Andes to India, Africa and North America with the UNEP Major Group for Children and Youth. The Anatomy of Actions aims to engage 10 million young people by Stolkholm + 50. 

Follow the Anatomy of Action around the world with this interactive map. Click here!

Sign up for the next Anatomy of Action challenge! Taking place between 19 March - 2 April 2021.


Sustainable Living and Lifestyles: Covid-19 impacts research: 

This desktop research reflects how COVID-19 is influencing people’s lives and lifestyles around the world, and in turn how “COVID lifestyles” affect and will affect the environment.


Events and webinars


Anatomy of Action Resources 


Social Media Tool kit: 


Anatomy of Action Quick Guide: 



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