Energy Diet


We live on The Isle of Islay, a Hebridean island off the west coast of Scotland. There are three people in my family. My daughter, Armelie, is 7, she is independent, artistic, lively and loves life on the Island. My partner James is a photographer. Me: I work at Islay High, a small secondary school with just over 200 pupils. I teach geography, which means I spend my life enthusing young people about the wonders of the planet and the consequences of our actions on it.


United Kingdom Participants

United Kingdom
Your Points Percentile:
Total Country Participants:

At Home (66%)

  • Changed thermostat
  • Changed settings on refrigerator, freezer, water heater and washer
  • Replaced at least one third of light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs
  • Disconnected electronic devices when not in use

Wild Card Items

  • Eliminated second freezer or refrigerator
  • Insulated water heater
  • Replaced appliances with green-certified products
  • Hung clothes up to dry instead of using the dryer
  • Sealed all of the windows and doors

Food (90%)

  • Ate a vegetarian diet one day a week
  • Cut down on take-away meals
  • Limited daily intake of beef to 8 ounces
  • Switched to sustainable seafood

Wild Card Items

  • Started a food-based garden
  • Ate vegan or raw for a certain number of days per week
  • Bought grass-fed beef instead of conventional
  • Gave up at least one processed food
  • My own action: Bought locally produced eggs, vegetables and meat

Transportation (60%)

  • Drove no faster than the posted the speed limit, avoided rapid acceleration or braking
  • Removed extra weight from car, inflated tires
  • Used public transportation instead of driving
  • Reduced your planned air travel by one trip

Wild Card Items

  • Bought carbon offsets for travel
  • Carpooled or found a ride-sharing program
  • Invested in a more fuel-efficient car

Waste Disposal And Reduction (77%)

  • Recycled all glass, aluminum, plastic, batteries and paper
  • Eliminated advertising mail
  • Changed to paperless billing
  • Eliminated the use of plastic and paper bags

Wild Card Items

  • Began composting at home
  • Used biodegradable bags for trash or walking the dog
  • Recycled or donated old athletic shoes and clothes
  • Recycled or donated old electronics
  • My own action: bought reused furniture instead of new

Water Use (55%)

  • Gave up bottled water
  • Turned off tap when brushing teeth, scrubbing dishes
  • Shortened showering time
  • Replaced shower head with a low-flow model

Wild Card Items

  • Used xeriscaping for yard
  • Installed a rain barrel to collect water for garden, lawn and plants
  • Installed a low-flow toilet
  • My own action: put a hippo in the toilet

What You Buy (83%)

  • Tallied stats for water, electricity, natural gas and gasoline use
  • Switched to organic produce
  • Switched to eco-friendly cleaning methods
  • Switched to locally made (non-produce) products where possible

Wild Card Items

  • Cut use of disposable items
  • Repaired or extended use of clothing items
  • Stopped using wrapping paper for gifts
  • Changed Printing Habits
  • Rented or borrowed instead of buying infrequently used items
Total Points: 480

The Heat Beneath Your Feet

The last eight weeks have been an interesting experience for us as a family. Although we consider ourselves conscientious, I was always aware that there were issues that I could look into that would make us better consumers. Each time I have looked at an issue, energy, water, recycling etc. I have become more aware…

Recycling Is Easy!

Recycling is the one area where we have been very conscientious for a while now. My partner takes responsibility for ensuring that all our rubbish is sorted and we compost food waste (although the dog often ensures there is very little of that). Paper, plastic, batteries, ink cartridges, glass and metals all have a place…

Water Water Everywhere…

And plenty to drink. One of the problems we do not have on Islay is a water shortage. To cause a shortage we would need either very cold weather to freeze the supply, or a highly unlikely drought event; there have been more rainy days than dry since the start of May. The loch above…

Gold at the End of the Rainbow

This week’s blog entry is diverting a little from the prescribed list of topics. It stems from a cross-curricular activity that I was running with the science department, involving the students in S2 (12/13 year olds). The premise was that there had been a sudden announcement by the U.K. government that there would be no…

Books, Books and More Books

Once upon a time I lived in a large city with the full range of chaotic, attractive glorious shops and if I wanted to, on the way home from work, I could go and buy a new pair of shoes, check out the sales or treat my daughter to a “plastic fantastic” toy. Now things…

Food is a complicated issue. A few years ago the main issues that confronted the consumer were organic versus non organic, battery versus free range, additives versus natural. Now, the issues are far more complicated and subjective to allow a potential green consumer to base easy decisions upon. The issue of rising food prices and food security has again been on…

The Problems With Measuring

I had tried to write this blog last night but I was not able to do so as there was a storm, the wind blew, the rain came down and the electricity went off,  hence the pictures of Armelie playing checkers by lamp light with me whilst James was desperately waiting to get back on to the computer to…

I thought I would start and end this post with two pictures that I hope will help explain why I decided to do this challenge. This is my daughter Armelie demonstrating why, last year, we moved the length of the UK and changed our lives for the better. We — Armelie, my partner James and…