(The author wishes to thank his wife for suggesting he "get up and do something" to save the earth. This book is dedicated to her.) 1. TURN OFF THE LIGHTS.
Even if you're only going out of the room for a few minutes. Those kilowatts add up. (My wife groans when I say it, but, "It makes cents—with a c.") 2. UNPLUG APPLIANCES WHEN NOT IN USE.
Some of them, with their complicated timers and instant start-up features, constantly consume small amounts of electricity. ("Even the TV?" my wife asks. "Good thinking," I tell her.) 3. SEPARATE YOUR GARBAGE.
At our house we have separate garbage cans for glass, paper, plastic, aluminum, wood, organic matter, natural fabrics, synthetic fabrics, and rubber. (We split the work—my wife does the separating, I drop everything off at the recycling center.) 4. USE LESS WATER.
We have two bricks in our toilet tank. But there's a much simpler way to save water: Don't flush every time! ("Don't take the sports section in there with you!" is my wife's tip. A sense of humor isso important.) 5. DON'T MOW THE LAWN.
Let it grow. Naturally. Like a meadow. ("Like a dump!" jokes my wife.) 6. DON'T SHAVE AS OFTEN.
I shave once a week. ("If it's good enough for Don Johnson," I quip. "That was passé years ago," my wife informs me.) 7. DRIVE SLOWER.
I try to maintain a nice, steady 40 miles per hour, the legal minimum on most highways. Also, I roll up the windows. It reduces wind resistance -- and noise. ("You can't hear those horns?" my wife asks, incredulous.) 8. SHOP WITH A RE-USABLE SHOPPING BAG.
And, if you can, walk to the store. ("It'll do wonders for your figure," I mention casually to the missus.) 9. BOYCOTT!
Boycott polluters, or anyone who sells any product that can cause pollution, or any product that might contain an ingredient that can cause pollution. ("What does that leave?" my wife asks. "Just the good stuff," I reply.) 10. DO YOUR LAUNDRY BY HAND.
It may be drudgery of the lowest order to have to hand-launder your clothes and hang them on a clothesline, but it saves water and energy. ("Whistle while you work," I kid my wife. "Hitler is a jerk," she continues. I'd forgotten that verse!) 11. TURN DOWN THE HEAT.
Especially the water heater. ("They take cold showers in Sweden," I like to hint. "Go to Sweden!"—my wife.) 12. TAKE FEWER SHOWERS.
But don't share them, even if it's been touted, albeit humorously, in other "x-number-of-simple-things-you-can-do-to-save-the-earth" books. Why? It uses more water. Figure it out for yourself. Better would be to take a bath in "recycled" bath water. Best: An occasional sponge bath. ("No, I'm not kidding," I tell the wife.) 13. REPLACE METAL DOORKNOBS.
During the winter, when it's very dry, touch a metal doorknob and you get a little shock from the static electricity. That's wasted electricity, I figure. We've replaced all our metal doorknobs with ones made of non-conducting rubber, wood or glass. ("You've got a screw loose," my wife points out. And she's right!) 14. GO SOLAR.
For a small investment of about ten thousand dollars you can convert your house to solar energy. It'll pay for itself in twenty years, I estimate. ("What next?" my wife wonders, as we all do.) 15. MOUNT A WINDMILL ON YOUR ROOF.
It's cheap—about eight hundred dollars—and easy to install. ("A little more to the right," I yell up to her.) 16. MAKE YOUR OWN HONEY.
In addition to producing delicious honey, our beehive is a real conversation starter. ("We have to talk," my wife says. See?) 17. WORK AT HOME.
Recently, I quit my job of twenty years to become a full-time writer. I write at home, on a computer. I'm not using up any gasoline or motor oil, I'm not wearing out any clothing or shoes. To put it simply: I'm not a drain on the environment. ("You don't move," my wife observes, exaggerating slightly.) 18. BOARD UP THE WINDOWS.
Windows are nice, but they either let in too much heat, or let out too much, or vice versa. ("This...