We promise. We've done these ourselves and lived to tell the tale. Believe us, if we can do them, anybody can do them. Take a crack at some or all of these, and see how you feel. Add your own, too, in the comments below.
1. Stop Idling
Every moment you spend idling your car's engine means needlessly wasting gas, as well as rougher wear on your vehicle. Idling for more than 10 seconds wastes more gas than is needed for startup. Overall, Americans idle away 2.9 billion gallons of gas a year, worth around $78.2 billion.
2. Turn Off Your Computer
3. Sign Up for Green Energy
More than half of all electricity consumers in the U.S. now have the option of purchasing green power from their utility. Find out how you can buy it by visiting the Department of Energy's state-by-state list of providers. You can also check with your own utility to see what's available.
4. Turn Down the Thermostat
It definitely pays to give a thought to your here and thermostat, since most households shell out 50 to 70% of their energy budgets on heating and cooling. For every degree you lower the thermostat, you'll save between 1 and 3% of your heating bill. Do the same thing in reverse with air conditioning.
5. Wash Your Laundry in Cold Water
An easy way to clean green is to turn the dial on your washing machine to cold. Most loads don't need hot water, and 90% of the energy used by washing machines goes into heating. The higher the water temperature, the higher the cost to you and the planet.
6. Pay Bills Online
Save natural resources -- as well as late fees -- by enrolling in online bill-paying options. Paperless billing not only saves trees, it also eliminates the fossil fuel needed to get all those billing envelopes from them to you and back again. Plus, you'll save money on stamps.
7. Jettison Junk Mail
Around 100 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water are used to send junk mail to Americans every year, according to greendimes.com. You can stop 75% of unsolicited mail by registering on the Mail Preference Service on the Direct Marketing Association Website (for a fee of $1). Within 90 days, most unsolicited mail will stop.
8. Print on Two Sides
Know what? It's not that hard to print on both sides of the paper. But even though most software programs give that option, most of us still print only on one side of the page. Consider this: the U.S. alone uses 4 million tons of copy paper annually, about 27 pounds per person. Save dough and your local landfill. Print on two sides.
9. Carpool It!
If your drive to work is 25 miles each way and at least half is in typical stop-and-go traffic, you'll save almost 10 percent of your monthly carbon emissions by carpooling. Not to mention the gas dollars you'll save and the fun you'll have sharing office gossip with your friends.
10. Choose Hormone-Free Milk
Look for milk that has been certified organic or carries the words "no artificial hormones." Conventional dairies inject cows with synthetic recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), aka bovine somatotropin (rbST), to boost production. The practice has been implicated in udder infections, requiring more veterinary antibiotic use, and is banned in many countries. Some scientists worry the hormones may affect consumers.