Energy Diet

Keeping Our Kids’ Footprints Small

We are the Shaws: Dirk, Jennifer, Lily, Sophia and Finn. We moved our family to Westminster, Colorado (map), about four years ago because we wanted to raise kids in a environment that was about enjoying the environment.

As you might guess, Colorado is an extremely eco-friendly state. It’s hard to not be, when one of the attractions to living here is enjoying the outdoors. Our neighborhood is no exception. On recycling, day I would estimate around 75% of the homes participate and several of the roofs are covered with solar panels. A stark contrast to our old neighborhood in Atlanta.

Since living here we have taught the kids many ways to enjoy the benefits outdoor activities and what nature has to offer. The Great Energy Challenge gives us a chance to teach them how to take care of nature so they can enjoy the same experiences with their kids.

Our journey over the next 12 weeks to lower our footprint will be shared from the perspective of Lily (6) and Sophia (5). We hope this will inspire other families to involve their kids in the discussion about ways to conserve energy.

Our first family activity was to “weigh in”. As a family we assessed our carbon footprint on This was a great way to educate the girls on all the ways we use energy and to brainstorm ways to create a smaller footprint. (Tip: create a worksheet for your kids that allows them to write down your families score along with ideas to lower it.’)

Our results were not so good. Travel is a large component of my job and a factor that raised our score well over the national average. So the advice I got from Sophie was “Daddy. Don’t fly so much.” Noted!

Our goal for the next 12 weeks is to reduce our footprint to at least the national average.


  1. Al Nowais Family
    April 10, 2011, 1:22 am

    Dear dirk,
    I want to congratulate u on having these little angels, I love the way they spoke their mind in the first blog. Lovely clever girls, I loved Sophia’s why, so cute, maybe she didn’t like the weather at that day.

  2. Shaw Family
    April 11, 2011, 9:56 am

    Thanks.. It has been fun following your family and learning about how to make modifications to behavior in other parts of the world.