Posted by keith on 28th April 2009
A bit late here, but I always like the chance to have a pop at hypocritical celebrities, given that in the USA especially, celebrities are a major source of general information (yes, you heard that correctly) on such topics as economics, global politics, social welfare and the environment. People listen to celebrities because, to a great extent, celebrities are the news.
The Daily Beast brings us this little gem of a lineup:
Those who live in solar houses shouldn’t throw stones, and yet an increasing number of celebrities are jumping on the green bandwagon before taking a look into their own public records. They’re not exactly hypocrites, and most of the time Barbra Streisand and Al Gore (especially Al Gore) direct the public’s attention to unsexy topics like climate change. But beneath their megawatt smiles and shouts of “Go green or else!” some disturbing personal trends have emerged. Like, say, a $22,000 water bill.
Prince Charles Prince Charles, Royal Fraud?
To be fair, the Prince of Wales appears, on the outset, to be a champion of the environment—he is even joining forces with Elizabeth Hurley to launch a healthy, undoubtedly sexy, organic food line. However, during his recent environmental tour to South America, he traveled 16,400 miles by private jet, causing an uproar among carbon-emissions number crunchers (he used 322 tons, if you’re counting). Perhaps a green how-to book will make amends? It was recently announced that the heir to the throne is penning an adult and children’s book called Harmony to be released by HarperCollins in 2010. The Kumbayah-esque title will explore climate change and direct readers to “restore the lost balance between Man and Nature.”
Simon Cowell Leaving (Daily) on a Jet Plane
One good reason for Simon Cowell to dump his high-paying gig on American Idol: No more weekly U.K. to L.A. flights. While Cowell’s carbon emissions are through the roof partly because of his sweet rides—a gas-guzzling Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari, and Rolls Royce Phantom fill his garage—an even more egregious blunder is his transcontinental judging trek, which requires him to pull double duty on AI and Britain’s Got Talent. (Susan Boyle and American Idol’s winner-in-training Adam Lambert certainly aren’t going to critique themselves.) Tonight Fox is launching a “Green It. Mean It.” campaign for Earth Day, so watch for Simon’s trademark grin to be especially sheepish before he hops back on his plane.
Barbra Streisand Not So Funny Figures
Yentl done good. Sort of. Barbra Streisand donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation three years ago with a special plea to the former president to focus on climate change. She should have started by taking a look in one of her backyards. Here are some laughable numbers: Watering the lawn at her Malibu mansion costs a reported $22,000 a year, and she keeps a vast 12,000-square-foot backyard barn air conditioned (to keep the rafters from overheating?).
Madonna Madonna’s Plastic Overdose
The pop star is wrapped up in other worries right now (come to think of it, how many private flights to Malawi has she made recently?) but her splashy spread on the cover of Vanity Fair’s eco-friendly issue remains a sore spot for the green brigade. After it was revealed she spends $120,000 a year on bottled water—a special Kabbalah-blessed variety at $5 a pop—many were outraged at her extravagant use of the plastic landfill enemy. Guy’s ex tried to make up for her faults by performing at the Live Earth concert series; however, the show generated over 1,000 tons of garbage and many still nitpick her wasteful fleet of cars, including two Hummers.
John Travolta Private Jet Fever
Pulp Fiction star John Travolta doesn’t apologize for loving his airplanes—but does he really need five private jets? The personal runway outside his Florida home may be convenient for him and his Gulfstream and Boeing 707s, but now, in environmentalist circles, he has fewer fans than his mega-flop Battlefield Earth. It’s calculated Travolta puts out 800 tons of carbon emissions every year, or 100 times the norm per person. He said recently, “Everyone can do their bit” to help fight global warming.
Al Gore Al’s Inconvenient Power Use
The godfather of all things green had a slightly hilarious PR nightmare a few years ago when it was revealed his 10,000-square foot carbon-neutral mansion used nearly 221,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. He tried to make amends, but a year later the Tennessee Center for Policy Research called him out—energy use at his home actually increased 10 percent and became the equivalent to 232 homes once the greening was done. He defended himself from critics by installing solar panels, a geothermal system for heating, cooling and hot water, and by using energy derived from solar, wind, and methane gas. Maybe the one-time VP deserves a pass.
On the other hand; if you are, like Al Gore, an apologist from the growth economy and all Industrial Civilization stands for, then maybe you’re no better than any other celebrity…