Dispatch From Greenbuild

These greeniacs who took over the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center this week are sharp. I hand the press guy my business card, but he returns it to cut back on waste. I haven’t even been at Greenbuild for three minutes and already I’m behind the times.

After filling in my contact information on computer a young woman tells me to collect my badge and goodie bag downstairs. Considering how uncomfortable they are with my wasting seven square inches of paper, I’m surprised they didn’t skip the freebies.

But, like at every other conference, I get a bag of useless junk. As much as it sucks to roll around a green circle jerk and critique how much waste there is, I can’t believe they printed an “Expo Guide” and a “Conference Program.”    

The exhibition hall is nothing short of a Republican nightmare. Or, for those who aren’t irreversibly stubborn and will at least pretend to believe this country needs to smarten up, it’s a profiteer’s paradise.

In two hours I don't see a single dreadlock. The patchouli-drenched Vermont couple that makes wooden toilet bowls doesn't have a booth, nor does your hippie cousin who builds compost bins out of used diapers.

This industry has been completely hijacked by small businessmen in short-sleeved dress shirts. Three years ago most of them were likely selling office supplies and insurance; now they’re hocking earth-friendly furnishings and equipment for harvesting rainwater. 

Several businesspeople who I speak with claim to have been in this industry for years, and I suspect that most of them are full of shit. I ask one dude who owns an aluminum company how his company is green beyond the color of its logo, and he’s outrageously offended by my skepticism: “Maybe you should read our literature before you make assumptions.”   

So – which booth is the most popular? Easy – the one with Guitar Hero. What are they selling? Who the hell knows? I think something to do with edible commercial flooring.

I’ll give the conventioneers some credit; everyone does a solid job of separating recyclables in the conveniently located receptacles. It’s a good thing, too, because between the brochures, pens, plastic cups, and empty water bottles, there’s more crap to toss than there is spewing from these salespeople’s mouths.      

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