Greenwashing: When fake eco-consciousness makes you blue

Last weekend, my wife and I went to the Green Living Expo on Long Island. A two-day event, it was designed as a way for homeowners to learn about all the emerging green technologies that could help them develop a more environmentally-conscious, energy-conserving lifestyle. We got free tickets from my wife's boss, who runs a green engineering firm, wrangled a weekend invitation from my aunt and uncle, and got ready to experience the cutting edge of the green world.

Maybe we built it up too much.

Admittedly, there were some impressively green items on display. We learned about bamboo clothing (only $35 for a t-shirt!), solar-powered attic fans, bio-composters, and other cool technologies. We also got to see a nice variety of hippies, new-agers, and other assorted lunatics. As expected, there was a weedy-looking guy with a beard who was trying to sell his book about hiking the Appalachian trail, various people hawking crystals, and more than a few natural-remedy folks. While I'll acknowledge that natural remedies are less polluting and invasive than traditional medicine, I have yet to figure out how aligning my chakrahs will help me use less energy and reduce my carbon footprint. To put it mildly, the snake-oil quotient was pretty high.