Our lifestyle is inevitably unsustainable but it’s still important to do your part
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor
Many celebrities get praise for doing their part for the ecosystem, and rightfully so. Big names like Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo, and countless others have dedicated their time, money, and energy to promote eco-friendly lifestyles. Unfortunately, however, most of their actions do not reflect their words.
Unsurprisingly, the celebrities who preach their environmentalist morals are the very same ones who are doing a huge amount of damage to the ecosystem. For instance, John Travolta has told us all to “do our bit for climate change,” but owns five private jets. In fact, many celebrities have their own luxurious means of living and transportation. While such extravagance is notoriously bad for the environment, they also have ways that they reduce their carbon footprint. Most have eco-friendly energy houses, do seminars for climate change and global warming, donate to worthy causes, or create environmental foundations. Although I think it’s good to be critical of our society’s stars and icons, we should also look at our actions as well before we judge too harshly.
Originally, I was going to write this piece all about the hypocrisy of these “champagne socialists.” But then I thought, “Wait, who the fuck am I?” I am by no means a perfect environmentalist; I don’t even consider myself an environmentalist as much as I’d like to. I am in no position to turn my nose up at those celebrities who say one thing and do another. I don’t think anyone is in that position. Furthermore, at least celebrities are trying to make people more eco-conscious and make a difference on a large scale.
If you really think about it, all environmentalism is hypocritical (or at least our cushy North American branch). It’s an unfortunate irony that, as much as we like to try to be as eco-friendly as possible, human life in the industrialized world is never going to be sustainable. We can do as much as we can to combat climate change and global warming, but our lifestyle is awfully messy. You can recycle, use green energy, and be as zero-waste as you want, but if you live in the Western world you still may need to drive a car, use single-use plastics, or buy and use phones, televisions, and computers every day.
Yes, lots of these eco-friendly celebrities are hypocrites and it’s horrible. Sure, a lot of them preach about the importance of conserving energy and doing your bit to save the environment, while at the same time consuming large amounts of energy with their luxurious lifestyles. However, did we ever stop to think about our own impact? How maybe we are hypocrites as well, and that maybe our mere existence as humans on this planet is bad for the environment? But maybe I’m just pessimistic.
I guess in some way it makes us feel better to put the guilt and the blame of climate change on the Hollywood elite. However, I think it’s important to look at our own actions before criticizing others, whether they’re famous or not. Yes, they can be doing more to reduce their carbon footprint, but everyone can always do more. Celebrities may not be perfect environmentalists, but for the most part, neither are we.