I guess the moral is that one should do as I say not as I do. The arguments of the fakers may still be quite valid. Not being a hypocrite would be a better role model but at least the message is getting out and people listen to celebrities.
Why Eco-Hypocrisy Matters
By Jeff Bercovici
A few weeks ago, I wrote an item about Barbra Streisand, who was on
tour in England. Though she's a big backer of environmental causes,
and even offers tips for low-carbon living on her personal website,
she was busted by the British press for touring in a private jet with
a massive entourage that required 13 trucks and vast amounts of
laundry—in other words, for sponsoring a traveling CO2 extravaganza.
I e-mailed my item to an editor at Grist, a popular environmental
website and blog. The editor promptly sent back a sarcastic reply
accusing me of "trolling for links by carrying right wing water." In
his view, only conservative blogs would be interested in a snarky
item about a liberal totem like Streisand; left-leaning sites protect
their own. And here I thought hypocrisy was a non-partisan punch line.
This was no isolated incident, but part of what's becoming a
tediously familiar pattern. It starts when Celebrity X clambers up on
a soapbox to tell the rest of us what we ought to be doing to Help
Stop Global Warming. In short order, News Outlet Y reveals that
Celebrity X is, in fact, a hypocrite, owing to her frequent private
jet travel, energy-sucking McMansion, and generally outsize carbon
footprint. Right on cue, supporters of Celebrity X counterattack,
alleging that News Outlet Y is a tool of Right-Wing Corporate
Interests, which merely want to obscure the debate over climate
change with a lot of he-said-she-said crosstalk so they can continue
with their nefarious, polluting ways. At the end of it all, Celebrity
X, feeling vindicated, is free to carry on with her Earth-defiling
Over the past couple years, as global warming has become the
fashionable cause among the bien-pensant class, this scenario has
played out with increasing frequency on blogs, in gossip columns, and
on cable TV shoutfests. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Aniston, Barbra
Streisand, John Edwards, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Laurie David, Jann
Wenner, and even Al Gore himself have all taken turns being accused,
with varying degrees of justification, of failing to match word to
That's not surprising; anyone's life, placed under a microscope, is
bound to yield embarrassments. What is surprising is the way
celebrities react to such charges: sometimes by ignoring them
outright, sometimes by spouting lame self-justifications, but rarely,
if ever, by acknowledging the disconnect and vowing to lead a
humbler, cleaner, more sustainable existence. It's as though they
believe their well-intentioned words are the equivalent of carbon
offsets (though, to be sure, many of them are buying the real thing
Take Laurie David, soon-to-be-ex-wife of Seinfeld co-creator Larry,
and producer of An Inconvenient Truth and other save-the-earth
extravaganzas. Though she boasts about using recycled toilet paper
and compact fluorescent lightbulbs, David has been pilloried for,
among other excesses, flying on private jets. Here's what she has
said in defense of her travel habits: "I'm not perfect. This is not
about perfection. I don't expect anybody else to be perfect either.
That's what hurts the environmental movement—holding people to a
standard they cannot meet."
Apparently, when you're worth a few hundred million dollars, being
asked to refrain from the most carbon-intensive indulgence known to
man qualifies as "holding people to a standard they cannot meet."
Note, too, her use of emotional jujitsu: the ones who are really
hurting the environment are the ones who are so impolite as to point
out her bad behavior.