At some banks last year, revenue fell to levels not seen in more than five years, but pay did not. At Citigroup, revenue was the lowest since 2002. But the amount the bank spent on compensation was higher than in any other year between 2003 and 2006. At Bank of America, revenue last year was at the same level as in 2006, and the bank kept the amount it paid to employees in line with 2006. Profit at the bank last year, however, was one-fifth of the level in 2006.

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The result is a sea change in the way consumers encounter the Web. Not only will people see customized advertising, they will see different versions of Web sites from other consumers and even receive different discount offers while shopping — all based on information from their offline history. Two women in adjoining offices could go to the same cosmetic site, but one might see a $300 Missoni perfume, the other the house-brand lipstick on sale for $2.

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When Sacramento cut millions of dollars in health spending this week to help balance the state budget, politicians suggested that money from charities and a tobacco tax fund could fill the gap so nearly a million children statewide wouldn’t lose their health insurance. But the reality, health advocates warn, is that there simply isn’t enough money, and hundreds of thousands of children could go without coverage.

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This is not a blame game. Living sustainably is not an either/or, black/white, “you’re there or you’re square” proposition. Each one of the hundreds of choices we make every day hits on a continuum, falling somewhere on the scale between “Yikes, this is baaaad!” and “Yes! Saved a bit of planet today!” Maybe you installed energy-saving light bulbs, chose local tomatoes over imported, recycled that old cell phone? Or maybe you drove when you could have walked or bought bottled water to take on your hike; some actions are more helpful than others. We’re all human, and most of us want to do the right thing. It’s kind of like adjusting your diet…if you fall off the wagon and have a chocolate bar, the important thing is not to beat yourself up and start bingeing, but resolve to learn from the misstep and move on. The hard part is understanding the full impact and consequence of each choice we make.

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