Who knew how prophetic Kermit the Frog was when he said, "It's not easy being green"?
I thought of this quote as I reflected on a recent comment posted on the blog. The blogger discussed the idea of a "conceptual revision," which describes our ability to change the way we think about a given event or situation.
As this blogger noted, we have a standard way of thinking about our shopping experience: Drive to the store, get the shopping cart, put goods in the cart, queue in the check-out line, pay for the goods, and leave the store with armfuls of plastic bags containing the purchased goods.
This "schema" works quite well; that is, until you want to change it. So what does it take to revise the way we think about our shopping habits?
I struggled with this question some time ago.
And trust me, this was a trial & error process. (To use another fancy word, what I'm talking about is learning via successive approximations. Thanks B. F. Skinner!) With repeated practice, I was able to gradually change my shopping habits.
Of course, there's another way to change behavior, and that's through legislation. To date, plastic bags have been banned in South Africa; Manitoba, Canada; and San Francisco, California. Bangladesh, Ireland, and Taiwan have imposed taxes on the consumption of plastic bags.
I wonder how likely it is for the U.S. government to introduce legislation on the plastic-bag issue. In the meantime, however, let's encourage each other to bring reusable bags for our shopping needs.
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