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 bulbs. Why Choice Editing is Difficult to Execute Choice editing is difficult to accomplish because society imagines that mass consumption brings happiness. For example, the more cars and materialistic objects a person can buy, the more they feel good about themselves. 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. 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 innovation. 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 consumption. 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 market. 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. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/ethicallivin gblog/2007/sep/07/shouldyouhaveachoicetoch>. Maniates, Michael. "Editing Out Unsustainable Behavior." State of The World. Print.