Cool Green Gardens

Looking At Green Through Rose Colored Glasses

Ed Begley Jr’s keynote talk was funny and compelling.
Photo/Illustration: Billy Goodnick
So this is what “green” is all about.
Photo/Illustration: Billy Goodnick
Nice turn-out for the Go Green Expo at the LA Convention Center.
Photo/Illustration: Billy Goodnick
Ed Begley Jr’s keynote talk was funny and compelling.
Photo/Illustration: Billy Goodnick
So this is what “green” is all about.
Photo/Illustration: Billy Goodnick
Nice turn-out for the Go Green Expo at the LA Convention Center.
Photo/Illustration: Billy Goodnick

Looking at Green Through Rose Colored Glasses

Is there a product on the market that isn’t declaring its greenness? Is “natural” necessarily better? After all, the Black Plague was a gift from Mother Nature.

In my last blog post Shirley Bovshow and I were at the LA Go Green Expo. We found only a handful of garden-related services and products, a whole bunch of expected things like photovoltaic panels to take you off the grid, plug-in cars and hi-tech whole-house water systems, like the one Ed Begley Jr. endorses. We also saw more than a few booths that spiked the needle of my BS detector into the red zone.

More on that in a minute.

Hollywood Goes Green

Ed Begley Jr.

Mr. Begley’s keynote was the reason Shirley and I attended on Saturday. Ed is not only a respected actor in television and film, but more important for all of us, he lends his sincere and authoritative voice to raising awareness of the benefits of green living.

His Living With Ed show on the Planet Green TV network, and new book, Guide to Sustainable Living, demystify an ever-expanding range of sustainable living practices, from rainwater harvesting to gray-water systems to wind and solar technology for the home.

What was so refreshing about Begley’s funny and fact-filled talk was the total absence of the typical You’re-Not-Doing-Enough guilt trip. Ed and I agree on this: Start from where you are now and try to do everything a little smarter and gentler.
If all you can afford right now is murdering a few square feet of lawn and replace it with a fruit tree, go for it. That’s better.

Ed, motivated in the 70s by his starving actor status, took 10 years to save up for a solar water heating system and another 15 to switch to solar electricity generation. If you need a crash course in greening your life and enjoying the trip, you can’t do much better than checking out Ed’s TV and book offerings at his Living With Ed website.

What’s So Green About That?

I don’t know about you, but I’m still trying to get my brain around the word green. Who’s to say if a product or service is “eco-friendly” or not?

Here’s my take…

A lot of the exhibitors were inarguably green—residential-scale solar and wind powered electricity, electric vehicles, home energy audit consultants, suburban farming systems—you get the idea. And let’s not forget the ubiquitous 100%-recycled-material, biodegradable, hi-fiber, lo-fat, geo-thermal, not-tested-on-animals grocery bag. Every bit helps.

EcoFly Toothbrush

Back to my BS detector: What do you make of the vendor selling the “rapping, recyclable, eco-friendly toothbrush for kids” or the folks promising to relieve the symptoms of “low energy and stress” with ki energy. Even if getting my ki recalibrated did something tangible, someone please explain to me how—and I’m not making this up—a palm reader “using Indian Vedic Predictive & Holistic sciences to help, heal and unlock peoples’ paths to success” will help end our dependence of fossil fuels.

Truth be told, this stuff only increases the amount of methane in the atmosphere.

We’re past the days when wearing tie-dye was your cool green credential. As with any eco-claim, a whopping dollop of cynicism is recommended as we strive for more sustainable ways of living. Don’t just buy a product because of its name:—no fewer than 50 of the 300 exhibitors at the Expo had “green”,  “eco” or “earth” in their name. Calling your product Eco-Green DDT doesn’t make it okay.

I am encouraged that the Go Green Expo, with events around the country, and similar shows bring innovative, exciting products and services to consumers. My hope is that awareness and demand increase and that good ole American capitalism continues to meet our high expectations.

In the meantime, kick the tires and scratch your head for a spell before yanking out the gold card.

View Comments


  1. ShirleyBovshow 02/05/2010

    "Increases the methane in the atmosphere!"
    Good one.

    Don't forget the "green" dog behavior classes...

    That was an eyeopening day. Ed Begley Jr. was one of the highlights of it. Little Tokyo was next.
    Shirley Bovshow

  2. user-7006881 02/09/2010

    Awareness of our environment is of course a wonderful thing.
    Unfortunately, going green or eco-friendly still requires the Buyer Be-Ware Policy. It is great to know there are exbo's such as these that makes us all stop and think about what we can do (one small step at at time).

    We personally have made significant changes "Eco-Friendly" style in our garden, starting with our rose bushes.

    We can't yet say We're 100% Green with Envy, but we are working on it.

    Big Blooming Hugs
    Sherry & Margarita.

  3. WendyMensker 02/12/2010

    I agree. There's much green washing in the corporate world just to have increased sales from people who want to help the environment. One of the brands I trust for gardening products is Safer Brand, especially their End All Insect Killer organic bug spray. Works like a charm.

  4. altavitae 02/17/2010

    Yes, you have to watch out for some of the people touting 'green' anything.
    Did anyone mention composting at the show?
    This is one of my favorite green things to do, and so easy and rewarding to do.
    In our household we compost everything that will rot, and only go to the landfill a few times a year with the plastic, etc.
    Anybody with a backyard can do it!

  5. GardenGates 02/21/2010

    I'm sure hoping this recession has a 'green' lining and new industries that have positive-impact products help elevate us into a better economy! Jane Gates

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