My wife and I spent five wonderful years in Ithaca, NY. It likes to think of itself as a leading example of an environmentally conscious community. That was one of the attractions for me, at least when I was 24 years old. We coined the term “Ethican” to describe those Ithacans who took this idea seriously. But it occurs to me today that many of them were early adopters of hybrid car purchases, living in the city, and so on. But if these folks were truly Ethican, wouldn’t it make sense for all of them to buy Hummers and 10-cylinder Chevy Suburbans? Or for all of them to purchase every home in the suburbs and exurbs?
Seriously, I am not joking. As an insight into what I mean, consider that when I was in the market for a small car in 2004, we had to get on a very long waiting list to get a Prius or Civic Hybrid. At the time, we knew one of us had a roughly 60 mile round-trip to commute to work upon graduation. Instead, a Ford Escape ended up making that trip until we managed to sell one of our cars and replace it with a Mazda 3.