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Photo: Aerial view of a city at night

Detroit from the air at night, with views of Windsor, Ontario across the river which show that the Canadian city has much less light being given off. Learn more about the Great Energy Challenge

Photograph by Jim Richardson, National Geographic

Published October 11, 2011

What it is

National Geographic's 360º Energy Diet features households around the world as they attempt to reduce their carbon footprints. For eight weeks, participants will try to drop as much excess "weight" as they can by making measurable changes in six areas of their lives: home efficiency, transportation, store purchases, water use, waste reduction and general lifestyle. Each household will be featured in a blog about the challenge at The Great Energy Challenge website, part of NationalGeographic.com.

How the challenge works

Households will receive a set of action items in six different areas, each worth a certain number of points. The more changes a household can make, the more points it can earn. Examples of tasks include, but are not limited to:

· Tallying stats for water, electricity and gas usage

· Changing the thermostat at home

· Using alternate means of transportation instead of driving

· Swapping out conventional foods for local, organic foods

· Recycling all glass, aluminum and paper

· Giving up bottled water for tap water

Each week, participants will self-report their progress with a short blog post (with photos, if applicable). National Geographic's coaches will consult with them on any questions and will offer ideas for additional "wild card" ways they can earn points. At the end of the challenge, the household(s) with the most points will be featured on NationalGeographic.com and may be invited to appear on a live panel about the experience.

Who can participate

All households should be willing and able to participate in the diet for eight weeks, starting in October 2011, and be able to contribute at least one post (300-500 words) per week about it, as well as a self-portrait image and other photos documenting the challenge as needed. Participants will also need Internet access and proficiency in English.

When it's happening

Deadline to join as a participant is October 18, 2011.

Blog posts will begin publication October 26, 2011.

The diet concludes December 15, 2011.

How to apply

Send an e-mail to energydiet@ngs.org telling us where you live and why you want to be part of this challenge. If you have a blog or other online presence to share, please include that as well.

Learn more about the Great Energy Challenge

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