Unfortunately, in recent times the emphasis has shifted from reducing the demand of power in India through efficiency to increasing its supply. Except for limited exceptions, numerous studies have shown that people worldwide are under-investing in energy efficient products. While some of this may be due to lack of awareness, much of the problem stems from misaligned incentives -- for utilities, selling more "product" (electricity) is their measure of success (and profits).
What if cloth bags are only a palliative, meant to symbolize doing something and absolving us of our guilt, without actually solving the problem? This may be the end-result -- a quick-fix that actually doesn't fix anything.
Some time ago, I missed my grandfather's funeral because an airline's manager hid behind rules. No, I wasn't asking him to break any rules, but he didn't let me fly despite there being empty seats, my pleading to please charge me any price he wanted, and my being at the airport almost 1.5 hours before the scheduled departure. In my case, the impact was emotional, but in other cases, silly, inconsistent, or just plain bad rules can mean lives lost.
Trees make us feel better, but they have a cost, sometimes an enormous cost, in terms of road safety and management. Dispassionate analysis should guide policy decisions, which suggests some trees should be cut down.
Recently, a man who tested positive for HIV and believed his family also had the disease decided to execute a murder-suicide pact. His wife and children died, but he survived. When he was re-tested, the test came back negative. Was the original test faulty? NO! A test that is 99% accurate can show an incorrect result most of the time. More than just a misunderstanding of statistics, there were also issues of misinformation. And those who should have known better (medics and technicians) perhaps didn't do what they should have.