Editing Out Unsustainable Behavior

By: David Simek
How Do We Edit Out Unsustainable Behavior?
 Consumers can edit out unsustainable behavior by the
choices they make.
 For example, an individual can choose to waste water
by leaving the water running while brushing their
teeth or instead choose to turn the water off.
 Governments and/or businesses can also edit out
unsustainable behavior by a term called choice editing.
What is Choice Editing?
 Choice editing is the term used to describe instances
where governments and/or businesses influence the
choices made by consumers.
 For example, in Australia a decision has been made to
ban the sale of all non-energy efficient light bulbs,
thus removing the choice for consumers to buy nonenergy efficient light bulbs. Instead, consumers only
have the option to buy energy efficient fluorescent
Why Choice Editing is Difficult to Execute
 Choice editing is difficult to accomplish because
society imagines that mass consumption brings
 For example, the more cars and materialistic objects a
person can buy, the more they feel good about
How Do We “Choice Edit”?
 Choice editing for sustainability is more than just
simply deleting what does not work. According to the
U.K. Sustainable Development Control, it is “about
shifting the field of choice for mainstream consumers.”
 In other words, it means cutting out unnecessary
environmental damaging products and getting real
sustainable choices on the store shelves.
Accomplishing Choice Editing
 In theory, choice editing can be achieved by individual
 Consumers can choose to “do the right thing” and buy
environmentally green products, but this rarely
happens due to a higher price of products and a
smaller selection of products to choose from.
 The “green” consumers whom choice edit are in the
minority and are not strong enough in driving green
Accomplishing Choice Editing
 Consumers themselves are not the answer to a
sustainable future by choice editing.
 Instead, choice editing for sustainability by
governments and businesses is an effective method.
 Manufacturers, retailers, and regulators have to make
the decision to edit out less sustainable products on
behalf of consumers for choice editing to be successful.
 For example, stores can start to carry only green
products, therefore forcing consumers to buy products
that facilitate progress to a sustainable future.
The Goal of Choice Editing
 The goal of choice editing is to move consumers
towards less environmentally damaging patterns of
 At a growing number of colleges and universities
across the United States, for instance, fair-trade coffee
and renewably generated electricity are increasingly
the only options offered on campus and therefore force
consumers to move towards environmentally
sustainable resources.
Barriers to Choice Editing
 Although choice editing sounds like a great alternative
to a sustainable future, some of the barriers in the way
of choice editing are:
Habit, reluctance to change
Social norms
Lack of the right facilities
Short-term household budgets
Lack of trust in government and business
Cumulative impact of advertising and mass media
Problems With Choice Editing
 Many people feel that the biggest problem with choice
editing is the government interfering with the free
 When the government or businesses restrict products
due only to the environmental impact of an item,
many people would argue that it is unconstitutional.
Still A Consumers Market
 Even with governmental restriction of certain items,
there will always be ways around choice editing.
 Underground economies could possibly emerge in the
sale of prohibited items, resulting in the items still
being available to the public.
 For the World to continue to be a sustainable place to
live, it is up to each and every individual to make the
choices necessary for this effort to become a reality.
Works Cited
 Hickman, Leo. "Should You Have a Choice to Choose?
| Environment | Guardian.co.uk." Latest News,
Comment and Reviews from the Guardian |
Guardian.co.uk. 7 Sept. 2007. Web. 25 May 2010.
 Maniates, Michael. "Editing Out Unsustainable
Behavior." State of The World. Print.

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