Not too many years ago, the American economy was booming, and a population engorged with internet-stock money began moving to Berkeley, buying solar panels, and proclaiming that its consumer products needed to be "green," for the sake of saving the earth. "Money is no object!" proclaimed the typical American consumer, circa 2007. "My household cleaner must be 'green' certified, for what price is too high to pay to save the earth, while cleaning? That is a silly, rhetorical question."

Cut to 2011. Everyone is poor. "Green" is an unaffordable luxury! The NYT surveys the green scene: New "green" product rollouts are down. "Green" product ad spending is down. And sales of some "green" household products have plummeted by more than 70% in just the past year. Why? Let's go to the Person on the Street:

Sarah Pooler, 55, said she did not normally buy green products but would pick them up if they were on sale.
"Bottom line, if it's green and it's a good deal, I'll buy it," said Ms. Pooler, outside a Jewel-Osco store.

As long as saving the earth costs no more than $0, we still support it.

[NYT; image via Shutterstock]