by Rebecca Carter
Categories: Internet, People.

Let’s take a look at how “the media” treats famous faces on their quest to be eco.

  1. Celebrity does something environmentally friendly.
  2. Media outlets ’round the world try to find something said celebrity does that is not eco-friendly.
  3. Celebrity called a hypocrite.
  4. World becomes cynical towards any celebrity (or anyone) trying to do the right thing.

Is this model working for us? As John Mayer said at the Live Earth press conference, “Can somebody explain to me when cynicism wins in this case?”

Jeff Bercovici over at Radar is looking at this issue in his latest piece, Green Fakers – Why Eco-Hypocrisy Matters. Not sure I agree with him on all counts.

Now, I believe research is important in any field. But why are we always looking for bad news? Ecorazzi slams bad-for-the-planet actions, too…but I hope that we are also helping spread a good message – a message that some celebs are trying to use to get some extra attention through their spot in the public eye.

And here is the age old question: Is flying in a private jet ever really “necessary”? I believe there are occasions in which the answer is yes. One instance is when you are someone like Prince Charles. I think it’s ridiculous to think that someone with such security concerns would even consider flying commercial. Of course, there are not many people that fall into this class.

Then, we have to consider how there are certain people in this world that have a crazy schedule, and a private plane will help keep them on track. For instance, if you are Bobby Kennedy, Al Gore, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or yes, even Leonardo DiCaprio, you have so many speaking arrangements and meetings, that you are constantly on the go. Let’s say that any one of these people has a speech in California one night and a speech in Texas the next day. Both are to sold out audiences. The speech will be used to inspire and motivate thousands of people towards making their local environment a better one. But, oops, your American Airlines flight is delayed a few hours. All other flights are booked. Sorry, you won’t be able to make it to your speaking engagement. Those thousands of people are now NOT motivated, and in fact, extremely disappointed.

Does this mean that a private jet would be acceptable for times when many others are depending on your arrival, and you absolutely can not plan to arrive with hours or a day early? Or does it mean that you should take more care in planning your schedule so that you will have plenty of time to travel from one location to another? Or should you simply stay home, like our friend Ed Begley, Jr.?

And does the fact that none of us are perfect or can live completely emissions free mean that we are not doing something good in this world, and something worth talking about? Does it change your opinion of me to know that I can not recycle from my home, and therefore often do not have a way to recycle much of my household waste? Does that make me a hypocrite? Even though I spend most of my waking hours compiling and writing “green stories” to educate, entertain, and hopefully inspire others to take a step in the green direction?

Would love your thoughts on the opinions stated above, as well as those stated in Radar’s Green Fakers article.

About Rebecca Carter

Rebecca Carter is the Co-Founder of Ecorazzi. Rebecca was recently featured in the book Hot, Rich, and Green. She is one of 70 eco-achievers featured in Glamour magazine in April 2009, named Best of Green 2010 by Miami Magazine and Best Environmentalist by Miami New Times Best of 2008. She's raising a couple of little boys in Miami and speaks English & Spanish. Find out more at Follow Rebecca on Twitter: @rebeccacarter

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  • Stephanie

    It’s great that John Mayer stood up for the message. The green movement needs some serious positive encouragement. I do not care if the messenger is hypocritical, I’m objective enough to hear the message. One doesn’t have to be perfect to spread the good word. Good for people spreading the news about how to live sustainably!

  • anonymous

    You’re getting deep here, Ecorazzi!

    I think that the people holding these eco-celebs up to impossible standards are, if you will, the choir that you’re already preaching to. The fact is, the rich and famous are a very small percent of the population. Barbra Streisand’s eco-footprint may be huge, but even huger is the footprint of the millions of other people living in this country doing day-to-day things. I think that most people read the gossip, cluck their tongues, shake their heads, and get on with the show, knowing that their life is nothing like Barbra’s. They can’t follow her example, even if they WANT to. They can’t take a private jet, nor donate millions of dollars to charities. So any hypocrisy on her part or any of the celebs featured in these articles doesn’t resonate in a practical way.

    You know what does? Good systems that make it easy and affordable for people to make changes. If compact fluorescent bulbs were cheaper, people would buy them. If recycling bins were available on every street corner, people would use them. Unfortunately, city council meetings aren’t as much fun to attend as organic soirees in the Hamptons!

  • freggo

    “the rich and famous are a very small percent of the population”

    true — but the more important question is whether they creat a very small percentage of carbon emissions. i don’t have data on hand to back up the assertion, but i’m pretty sure the answer there is “no”. would be interesting to find an answer on that.

  • Rose

    It annoys me when the media call out hypocricy about the celebrities who are trying to do good or making a differance. All humans are hypocrites one way or another, there isn’t one who is 100% perfect. Do they expect for environmentalist to live in caves, make fire out of sticks, or row a boat across the atlantic ocean? There a good number of celebrities who are doing their best to get the word across, and making changes within their own environment. Great examples are Robert Redford, Leonardo Dicaprio, Edward Norton, Esai Morales, Cameron Diaz, Orlando Bloom, Pierce Brosnan and some others I can’t think of right now.
    I do my own share for the environment, I recycle as much as I can, I have already changed my bulbs at home, I buy many things in IKEA – (the company has a good environmental record). I am careful about products I buy (whom I am endorsing)..I do my bit but I don’t own a Prius ..but I do own a TOYOTA Yaris, its better than those gas guzzlers cars..
    Its a start in the right direction, we all can do our share. Just irks me when those irresponsible idiots go off and mouthing off to people who are doing their best, by either educating us, spreading the word, making changes. Good for the celebrities who try make a differance, instead of hearing other celebrities who do nothing by getting drunk, driving recklessly, selfish and arrogant who basically contribute nothing to society. The media should slam those!