I have an Earth Day question for you: Which of these people is more helpful to our planet’s environment?
A) A skeptic of man-made climate change whose lifestyle leaves a relatively small carbon footprint.
B) An environmental activist who travels all over the world on private jets, luxury yachts, and limousines to stand in front of podiums and accuse others of denying science, while shaming them for polluting too much.
If your answer is the skeptic, I’d like to take this opportunity to declare myself the new world leader of the environmental movement. Thanks for your support!
If your answer is the activist, you’ve just explained why climate change—the issue our president calls the “greatest threat to our planet”—reliably ranks near the bottom of Americans’ concerns in every national poll.
In a country in which a solid majority of its citizens (and a majority of the scientific community) believe that humans are responsible for Earth’s changing climate, it’s kind of weird that those people really don’t seem to care…especially with all the dire predictions of catastrophic ramifications they’ve had shoved down their throats for a couple decades now.
Sure, most Americas might roll their eyes at people who question man’s impact on the climate, but they sure as heck aren’t losing any sleep over thoughts of whales swimming down ocean-flooded streets in Manhattan either.
I wonder why that is? Why aren’t people taking the doomsday scenarios seriously?
I doubt it has anything to do with all the manipulated (now debunked) scientific data that was used to justify much of that hair-on-fire alarm-ringing in the first place. Why? Well, I just don’t think most Americans are even aware of controversies like Climategate because the American media largely ignores them.
No, I think the explanation actually has much more to do with human nature than temperature patterns. I think it has to do with the leading voices in the environmental movement seemingly caring even less about climate change than the skeptics do.
For example, it was reported last week that actor and climate change advocate, Leonardo DiCaprio, who spoke at the United Nations Climate Summit last year, recently booked private jets back and forth from New York to Los Angeles six times in a period of just six weeks. This shouldn’t be surprising. DiCaprio has been flying all over the world in private jets for years, and even once borrowed a friend’s gas-guzzling super-yacht (the fifth largest in the world) for a joy ride. When you add to the mix that the film industry he works in (where a lot of the environmental condemnation comes from) is responsible for an enormous carbon footprint, it seems that DiCaprio should be the last person preaching to anyone about the damage they’re causing to the environment. Yet, that’s exactly what he does, and he does it often.
Here’s another example: One of the mainstream media’s favorite go-to guys on man-made climate change is Bill Nye, better known to my 10-year-old as “The Science Guy.” A television educator, Nye has been the toast of the town to many on the environmental left, because of his appetite for criticizing climate change deniers, often in less than cordial terms.
As was evidenced by this recent tweet from Nye, however, it appears that “Irony 101” wasn’t a required class to earn his Science degree:
“Heading down to DC to catch an #EarthDay flight on Air Force One tomorrow with the President. We’re going to #ActOnClimate.”
What better way, on Earth Day, to promote the dangers of the burning of fossil fuels than jumping aboard a private jet and flying somewhere to talk about it? Wouldn’t a video-conference set a much better example?
Of course, Nye’s jet-pool buddy President Obama isn’t any better. Though no one can begrudge him for using the tools of his presidency (like Air Force One) to get his job done, it seems to me that someone who believes wholeheartedly in the notion that reducing carbon emissions is vital to the survival of the planet would be a bit more sheepish when it comes to all that vacation travel back and forth to Hawaii and abroad. Am I wrong?
Then there’s Al Gore, the undisputed king of environmental rhetoric. He’s been exposed as a hypocrite so many times on this topic that the history is not even worth rehashing. I will say, however, than anyone who leaves a bigger carbon footprint in a year than the average person leaves in a lifetime, shouldn’t be paid by any environmental group to talk about anything.
It’s hard to get into the mind of an environmental activist, so I won’t try. I just know that if I truly believed a particular practice was literally destroying that planet that my family and I live on, I would be the first to speak out against those who are significantly engaged in that practice, regardless of whatever supportive lip-service they threw my way.
The problem is that the environmental movement hails environmental charlatans, instead of calling them out for their hypocrisy. That’s a big deal, and until that changes, the public just isn’t going to take the message seriously.
If the leading environmental voices in the world—the people who are demanding crippling regulations on all kinds of important global industries—don’t even care enough about what they’re saying to practice what they preach, why should anyone else care?
I’ll leave you with that question on this happy Earth Day.