Energy Diet

Over the last 12 weeks we have all become much more aware of usage across all categories, especially around the house. Turning off lights, unplugging chargers and lowering thermostats are just a few of the things that do not require that much work but make a difference.

When people initially hear about the “energy diet,”  they assume it is some hard core challenge where we have to give up almost everything and live off the land. You know: The kind of things people in Colorado would do.

We have shared our journey on Facebook and it has been an interesting source of conversation.  The funniest question we get is “What are you going to win?” I always make a snarky remark about the trying to help make the world a cleaner place then engage in a discussion about the little things that make a difference. It is interesting how many people think they are “Green” or “Eco friendly” but as you start asking questions about lifestyle you see there is much room for improvement.  As we learned.

One of the best tools I have referenced to inform people about the little things is the bio page on the site. It is a simple checklist of things that in many cases are quite simple to implement, like switching out light bulbs. We try not to be overly green evangelists, but it can be difficult. The funny thing is now that the kids are environmentally aware they are quick to call people out. They are like little missionaries.

Educating the kids always sparks the most dialogue. In a recent discussion, a colleague asked me what we are doing to educate them and how we explain complicated things like carbon footprints. A big part of the education process is simply reinforcing the little things. We can not expect much more from them at this point. I also referenced the energy website and described how we all sat down and walked thru all aspects of our carbon footprint using the interactive tools. The imagery helped make the connection for the kids. Flying on planes is not good, riding a bike is good was one of their takeaways. Only time will tell if this has had long term impact on the girls. Perhaps they can take their little brother through the challenge when he gets bigger.

It is not that challenging, is the one message I would send to anyone who has been following or interested in changing behaviors in support of a more energy-efficient lifestyle.


  1. clipton
    April 4, 2011, 2:00 pm

    Glad to hear that you are trying to spread the message. That’s already a successful result in my opinion. I empathize with the reaction your comment about making the world a cleaner place elicits. I sometimes get an equally not-so-warm response in my own family.

  2. Christina Nunez
    April 4, 2011, 3:49 pm

    Dirk — you’ve hit on something that I too have encountered a lot when talking with people about this project. Often the first response will be to zero in on one thing on the list that seems impossible and then conclude that the diet is too hardcore. But in fact, as you mention, lots of things are actually not that hard to do.

  3. Dave Chameides
    April 4, 2011, 7:02 pm

    Good on ya Dirk, you hit it on the head. Doing something is always better than doing nothing, even if it’s not as far as you could have gone. I think many people out there hold back because they feel as if little bits don’t make the difference. But they do, and generally, they lead to larger bits. Keep on educating the masses my friend!

  4. Shaw Family
    April 4, 2011, 9:37 pm

    @clipton We recently watched a documentary called the reporter about a NY Times journalist who covers issues in Darfur. Something he discovered is that people are much more likely to support a cause if they see how it impacts one person,because they can comprehend it. When you say things like save the world, make it a better place etc the level of abstractions makes it seem impossible to accomplish. Perhaps we need a better analogy.

    @christina It is sometimes easier for people to think of the reasons why not to do something.

  5. clipton
    April 6, 2011, 1:33 pm

    @dirk I see the point the journalist makes. Stalin once said, “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.”