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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Responsibility of the Modern Consumer

Posted on Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 11:49 AM

As a student, I am particularly interested with all things renewable and green. These to me seem like logical incentives for sustainable consumer lifestyle and producer practices. The thing that I don't understand is the three R's which have been forced down my throat since high school and after. I should clarify, I only have an issue with one R: Reduce (the others being Reuse and Recycle if you didn't happen to pick up on that). I disagree with the idea that the consumer should be targeted as the one responsible for reducing consumption of energy intense products or services that media require us to purchase, and the government by limiting choice of green alternatives.

Consumers are presented with many facts and figures, ads and counter-ads every day than one can process. The fact that I chose to use the word consumer over citizen or Haligonians indicates the trend of consumer irrationality, and the fact that people do not make informed decisions and make them for the wrong reasons. As a student with a 75 minute commute by public transport - which is subsidized by tax dollars - I am heavily reliant on the infrastructure of Halifax. When I see things like the traffic jams near the bridges, it appears that Halifax is heading the way of Vancouver and other dense cities, in that they are designed for heavy vehicle traffic. While the question of a rotary in the intersection of Quinpool and Robie roils, I believe it is clear that there is no intention to reduce the use of anything.

Which brings me to my final point. Halifax is set to embrace the green tomorrow, and this obvious. It extends beyond just installing electric power pumps for hybrids and the new 1 meter rule for cyclists; it requires green alternatives for which there are no alternatives. If given the choice, consumers will choose the cheaper, quicker option, and this applies to companies operating in Nova Scotia as well. This is where strong policy and politics come into play. It is only by forcing demand of (genuinely) green products on the market and not just markedly green, either. So what if your favorite shampoo has a bunch of leaf on it anyway? This bitch has become a rant, it's time for me to leave. —Which Side to Take?

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