The Energy Diet

energy diet

Image by Elwood Smith for the NYTimes.

Fantastic article in the New York Times about how, with little energy or money, a regular person can go on an energy diet, dropping pounds of CO2 off their normal household consumption. (This writer was spurred by seeing An Inconvenient Truth.)

Here’s an excerpt, but read the whole thing, and send it to family and friends!

And that’s when it came to me. I should go on a diet.

A half-ton diet.

I knew, having taken the “Calculate Your Impact” survey on, the companion Web site for the Gore movie, that our household produced some 19,100 pounds of CO2 last year, 4,100 pounds more than the national average. (The concept of a “pound” of gas is a nebulous one — depending on the pressure and temperature, it can fill a thimble or a stadium — so maybe it’s best portrayed this way: one pound of CO2 is what’s released per each mile driven, or each mile flown per person; it’s what’s produced to heat five gallons of water.)

For easier math, I rounded my number to 20,000 pounds, or 10 tons. As a family, as a household, couldn’t we drop a half-ton, a mere 5 percent of our weight? That’s 10 pounds for a 200-pounder to lose, 6 for a 120-pounder.

Absolutely. It was a goal, one I could stick to. Ambitious as it sounded, it was, amazingly, not excessive. I could keep living generally the way I wanted. I gave myself eight hours, no more, to lose the weight. In a world where texting passes for conversation and hooking up for a relationship, perhaps I’d just defined the new activism. Very little pain, not insignificant gain.

About Starre Vartan
Starre Vartan is editor-in-chief of and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life.

One Comment

  1. Socialpyramid says:

    Sure is better looking than Bush’s Energy Hog!

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