My picks from Crunchy Chicken's suggestion list:
1. Reduce energy consumption -
I'm already pretty good about keeping everything turned off or unplugged, because we blow out fuses if we don't! I don't run the A/C during the day when Brooks is gone, although we've just started to hit our 90-degree weather so I might use it a little.
And as mentioned below, I don't have a dishwasher or washer and dryer.
For gas use, though, I'm going to try not running hot water when cold will do, and turning off the oven/burners sooner, using the residual heat to finish cooking. This is more comfortable when it's so hot anyway.
2. Reduce water usage -
This is my big wasteful area, since I don't pay the bill. It also means I can't really measure it because I don't see the readings, but I know I can cut back quite a bit.
taking shorter showers
turning off the water when you're brushing your teeth
being aware of water usage when at the kitchen sink - turn it off in between tasks and don't wash dishes with constantly running water
saving in a bucket the water that is discharged while warming up the shower and use it to water plants
YAY for my PLANTS! Brooks laughs at me but I love them so much that I go out to look at them several times a day. (and no offense to Crunchy Chicken if she sees this, but I had to laugh at the original image of a bucket being discharged from the shower.)
3. Change your food habits -
try to buy organic and/or locally grown food
the farmer's market and strawberry-picking!
use cloth bags at the grocery store instead of getting paper or plastic
I've been wanting to do this for a while.
try eating vegetarian or vegan for the week (choose your level from egg/dairy acceptable to no animals products at all)*
We were already planning to do this for a few weeks starting Monday so I'm going to leave it as previously scheduled.
4. Reduce your dependence on paper products -
don't use paper towels
I don't promise to give them up forever, but I did just cut up some old sweatpants for rags and got fabric for napkins, so I can do without for a week and minimize thereafter.
5. Reduce your garbage output -
recycle everything you can (for your area)
donate used items to a charity (many have pick ups and drop off locations) instead of throwing them out or taking them to the dump
6. Reduce Single Occupancy Vehicle usage -
We can't really reduce this any more right now...but we are down to one car, Brooks takes the metro to work, and I am going to give up my 140 miles/week teaching commute in August.
7. Do something that lasts more than a week -
I don't think any of those additional things were particularly feasible right now, but besides some of the above things that may last, I did recently stop cleaning with chemical products. Baking soda and lemons do a beautiful job on my stained old white sink/stovetop/bathtub, and vinegar-water spray and castile soap take care of the rest.
Any other ideas?