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Ethics

Daily commuter habits

My daily commuter habits heavily revolve around the use of the automobile, since this is the only transportation means by which I can realize the commute from home to workplace. From the perspective of sustainability, such a practice is of course questionable, in so far as the sustainability issues related to excessive automobile usage are well documented.

In regards to stores that I patronize, I tend to balance out my excesses in regards to the above by frequently inquiring into the availability of eco-friendly products. Hence, I will often frequent stores such as IKEA in order to look for products, knowing that sustainability policy is central to their overall worldview.

Certainly, while I am ultimately responsible for my own actions, there is a certain extent to which I am forced to use my automobile excessively, from the economic considerations that dictate where I live to the greater infrastructural weaknesses in the area that make this type of transportation the only feasible means of commuting.

However, what this demonstrates is that overall questions of sustainability are formed at the exact intersection between individual choice and social choice. Namely, infrastructural decisions are out of the hands of the individual; yet nevertheless the individual may attempt to make certain life-style changes that make a positive contribution. What this demonstrates, however, is that solutions have to be enacted on a greater social level, for any real changes to be made. Namely, the obstacles to alter habits are primarily related to the greater social structure, so that any attempt to “buy green” comes across as a semi-heroic act simply because the eco-friendly concepts occupy a minority position within our society. Until the latter is radically changed, effectuating greater change in the direction of sustainability seems likely: it is the adaptation of a new ideology that engrains itself in the very way we think of all our social relations.

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