Energy Diet

I found myself tracking the COP17 climate talks this year with a heavy heart.

It is shameful the way world leaders have acted to stall and block any meaningful progression on a solid, legally binding global plan to cut carbon emissions. It is completely unacceptable that world leaders still lack the political will to acknowledge responsibility for the crisis that we are facing.

But if anything can be taken from the climate talks in Durban it is that, although we may feel powerless, it is our actions that are necessary to avoid a Malthusian catastrophe.

Dig for Victory


“Dig for Victory” is a term I am sure many of you have heard. It was a World War II campaign broadcast across both Allies and Axis territories alike and it is a campaign that I feel is very appropriate for our current predicament.

It promotes self-responsibility and sufficiency. Not only in the sense it was originally intended, but also as the solution to a contemporary problem. As we reach the end of this 3600 Energy Diet we must remember that it is our responsibility to support our nation as strong patriots, as citizens of the world.  Some of us might not see the enemy for a number of years, but for others it has already begun.

I have learned a lot over the past eight weeks. About how I live and how I want to be living. About reconnecting with my community and giving something back.

–          I have become more consistent in disconnecting electrics when not in use.

–          Hanging up clothes instead of tumble-drying them.

–          Only using biodegradable, green-certified products.

–          Making sure all the products I use and consume are vegan.

–          Cutting out processed foods and takeaways.

–          Considering raw alternatives to cooked foods.

–          Joining a local, organic veg box scheme.

–          Shopping at local businesses instead of supermarkets.

–          Turning my hand to sprouting.

–          Deciding not to go skiing this December.

–          Asking around about carpooling schemes.

–          Taking the bus instead of riding my motorbike.

–          Walking around town.

–          Recycling all glass, aluminium, plastic, batteries and paper.

–          Changing to paperless biling.

–          Using my cotton ‘bag for life’ instead of plastic ones.

–          Taking those old clothes I never liked anyway to the charity shop.

–          Started volunteering at the local charity shop and getting involved in community work.

–          Turning to ethical cosmetics, using ‘toothy tabs’ instead of toothpaste, natural deodorant and henna hair dye.

I have also been given a lot to think about for the future. I want to do even more, I want to grow my own vegetables and take harvest from the beaches and hedgerows. I want to spend some time away living without electricity and the conveniences of our modern world. I need a holiday unlike any I have ever experienced before.

But as that is unlikely to happen for now, at least until the weather clears, I will continue on with what I have learned here and put what I can into practice.

My deepest thanks to you National Geographic, my readers and my family for helping me along the way.

May your Yule be merry and the New Year see you fare.


  1. Dave
    New Hampshire
    December 18, 2011, 4:29 pm

    Nice list. Some of us may disagree on the cause of global warming, but the easy solution is to just do the right thing for no other reason than it is the right thing…………what have we got to lose? I commend you for giving up skiing in Dec. Most people have no idea of the amount of energy wasted by the ski and snowmobile industry……..STAGGERING! Why does our recreation require so much waste and destruction? Think I am wrong? Start adding up the energy used to transport people from city to ski area, run the lifts, make snow, groom trails, cut trails, etc. etc. Just terrible.

  2. Iree Mofro
    Bora Bora
    December 18, 2011, 8:41 pm

    The climate has always changed and always will. Our Parent Star on which we depend ENTIRELY for survival, drives all weather patterns/climate.
    None of the things on your list would have any effect were “The threat of human induced global catastrophe” anything more than a HUGE con trick.
    Nothing is static, everything is evolving, EVERYTHING is falling apart.
    DON’T believe the hype!

  3. Christina Nunez
    December 19, 2011, 2:34 pm

    I love the historical reference in your post, which is so apt for what we need to do now. Thanks for your unique and thoughtful perspective throughout this project, Samanta!

  4. Bob mc
    December 27, 2011, 1:15 am

    Thank you. I have been doing most of your suggestions for over twenty years. I filter my own water to reduce plastic waste. I have refused ten of thousands of plastic/paper bags. I fix things that most throw away and embraced cfls and led lighting. I try to buy local produce not water from Fiji
    I am sorry Iree it’s not about global warming. It is about finite resources. Nature will always correct any imbalance.. eventually, but my fear is that due to selfish people such as yourself. Our children and grandchildren will suffer greatly because we wasted far more resources than we really needed. Which will will also become more scarce as the climate changes for whatever reason and lead to the decline of civilization such as it is.

  5. Greg W
    January 2, 2012, 1:58 am

    The big issue that most green advisors don’t seem to want to deal with is human overpopulation. Yes, we must change technologies and distribution systems, use less and more wisely to lessen damage to our planet’s life, but not as a means of fitting more sugar in the same sack. Yes we can grow enough food to feed another few billion, but does that mean it’s a good idea to keep increasing human population? I weary of being told what kind of lightbulb to use by couples with four kids, and woe betide anyone who suggests that cultures worshipping big families might want to reconsider… Birth control is most certainly an eological issue. Let the snarky ad hominem responses begin.

  6. Richard Eisenman
    San Leandro, CA
    January 4, 2012, 8:46 pm

    Greg W is right about overpopulation; its the elephant in the room that everyone is ignoring. And I am no believer in the so-called ‘science’ of global warming; its a religion and I’m all for freedom of religion. I like the list, but motorbikes and Tuktuks (motorcycle engine powered mini-cars) can be way more efficient than empty city buses going on routes no one wants to take. Ditto for multi-billion dollar ‘trains to nowhere’.

  7. Mary C.
    Missouri, U.S.
    January 22, 2012, 7:36 pm

    Greg, I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of the overpopulation issue. I’m weary of hearing excuses (human beings cover a small percentage of land mass, biblical quotes advocating reproduction, etc.) when I suggest birth control education and availability are integral to addressing worldwide environmental issues.

    I chose not to have children because I was concerned about the world in which they would (hopefully) grow old. How can U.S. parents can continue to cling to overconsumption, gas guzzling autos, short-term fixes (watch Republican presidential candidate debates for some examples)? Their seeming lack of concern for the mess their children will inherit is perplexing.