Over the past weeks of the 360 Energy Diet, we as a family had hoped to achieve even more freedom from being dependent on energy use: We set out to collect rain water to water the garden, which we have done and will continue to do. We wanted to hang a clothesline to dry the clothes, but ended up getting a fold-up clothes-drying rack, which seems to do the trick too. We also wanted to expand our garden so the harvest was bigger – and to date, we have arugula, lettuces, watermelon, herbs, and berries well on-track. We really wanted to plant a mature tree to provide shade to our home from the hot sun, but have yet to find one. In the meantime, we rigged-up a parachute and picnic umbrella to provide shaded areas of play space. Lastly, we really went for it when we said we’d skip out on the meat. We’ve been noshing on vegetarian dishes and collectively, we are more aware of the types of food we regularly consume supporting a much healthier lifestyle as a result.
Our family found the Energy Diet to be a great exercise in truly measuring our efforts in all areas. In the Food category, we have also been happy with the challenge in switching to local and in-season produce. The farm’s bounty is a continual surprise and we have definitely expanded our horizons when it comes to what’s for dinner. Though this will be an area that will take a little longer for the kids to adjust to, we feel it sets the stage for their future eating habits and one day, how they will decide what to buy and what to eat in a more responsible way. This was certainly a major focus and incentive to take the challenge in the first place.
Our results in Water Use surprised us – especially with a big house full of small children where we do a lot of cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Continuing to Xeriscape and use gray water for watering plants is something we will absolutely continue to do.
I’ll admit that this challenge has given us an excuse to open a dialogue about energy conservation in a way that is less intimidating than usual. Over the past 8 weeks we’d talk with friends and neighbours about simple initiatives that anyone can do and it’s been a good source of inspiration to put into action the things we’ve long known we should be doing and really get on with it. We really admire and appreciate the Nat Geo Society for coming up with this challenge. Making a consistent effort in one’s day-to-day makes it habit forming. You can really allow thoughtful actions to become second nature.