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As the world celebrates Earth Day, it is time to separate real environmentalism from the fake variety. If there is one rule to follow in this regard, it’s this: if an idea is trendy, it probably isn’t good for the planet.
As environmentalism has become trendy, politicians and businesses have learned that appearing green can lead to profit and political gain. Increasingly, science takes a back seat to policies that make people feel good or appear environmentally friendly.
I write about the rise of trendy environmentalism in my book “Eco-Fads.” I outline the ways people often substitute feel-good approaches for the difficult work of following the science and economic to protection the environment.
In New Mexico, two examples stand out.
The push by school districts to require schools be built to “green” building standards is often more about image than results. Politicians push systems like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) supposedly to make buildings more energy efficient. The results, however, often fall far short of the promises.
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