by Michael dEstries
Categories: Transport.

greengas.jpgMichael’s View:

Celebrities and their private jets are all the rage to bash right now. So you’re Julia Roberts, you drive a Prius, and then you get on a private jet and fly 4,000 miles to your destination. Should you have maybe taken a regular carrier like US Airways and helped conserve fuel? Absolutely. Are you a hypocrite and a terrible person? No, but there’s room for improvement.

And right there is today’s green bipolar disease. It’s so easy for all of us to preach about eco this and that, but in reality we all still have vices; we all still have areas we can’t quite back up with our talk. For those of us in the spotlight, however, working to at least get a message across and demonstrate some level of committment is better than doing nothing at all. You drive a Prius, you represent a company working to change fuel economy, you promote alternative energy, whatever. Every now and then, you’re going to get bashed for not following through 100% on your message. TMZ is blindly smashing these celebs without looking at the big picture of change these people actively seek to cause on a massive scale. We’ll admit that private planes are a big problem — but how about the celebs that do absolutely jack for the environment and still break all the rules? Attention must be paid — but the energy should be directed at those doing nothing rather than the ones actually attempting.

Rebecca’s View:

First of all, I’m going to assume that the points presented in the TMZ post are accurate, which may or may not be true. I’ve been slamming celebs myself this week on the same topic, and I wondered what would it be like for J. Lo to ride commercial? A commenter on TMZ writes, “I flew business class from Ireland to Chicago, and sat just in front of a star of far greater magnitude than any mentioned in the article…Paul Newman. He was not only gracious to all who said hello to him, but was generally not bothered by anyone.” Now, I’m not sure that I agree that Paul Newman is a start of greater magnitude…perhaps in talent…but I don’t run across a lot of photos of Paul Newman walking his dog and taking out his trash.

I agree with Michael in the fact that it is tough to be 100% green. It’s no easy task, and what little things each person can do really does make a difference. But I wouldn’t go so far as to imply that flying around the world in private jets is a “vice”. Peanut butter is a vice, not a fuel-guzzling, carbon emissions creating monster.

As a “green” celebrity, I think it’s your responsibility to ride commercial whenever possible. Georgie boy, a private jet from LA to Tokyo, are you kidding me? With multiple flights from multiple airlines heading to every destination across the globe, I almost can’t think of an instance when it wouldn’t be possible to ride with the rest of us.
It’s time for celebs that walk the walk for the environment (and drive the hybrid) to fly commercial.

Michael’s Response:

I agree that Clooney’s choice was outlandish. His rep said that he had little control over some of his transportation options day-to-day. While that may be true, you’d think a private jet flight from LA to Tokyo might appear a little large in the upcoming datebook. I just do not agree with TMZ’s tone of the article. It’s almost a “shoot first, then dig a little deeper” type of attack. Once again, while ‘Razzi is here to slam those that are going against the green, we’re also attempting to show both sides of the argument. I just feel like TMZ is saying, “these people are hypocrites so don’t bother listening ever again to anything they say.”

Rebecca’s Response:

Oh Michael, I can’t stay mad at you! It’s possible what you say is true. The reference that TMZ uses for Julia Roberts‘ private flight goes all the way back to My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997). With Clooney there also is no mention of timing of that flight. J. Lo…well, I just reported on that this week, so I think that one is reasonable. (Though I have to admit, I didn’t know that J was a Prius driving treehugger, and have never heard her try to “preach” the green gospel.) Michael, I guess your point is that TMZ didn’t fabricate facts, but might have manipulated them to create a story…and through this story, they are discrediting people that, as far as ecorazzi is concerned, are do-gooders.

I’ll leave it at this: Julia, George, Brad, & Leo, you are still official ecorazziers, but if we see more of this private jet riding in the future, we’re going to need to have a talk. Jennifer, the jury is still out on you.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • michael

    I love how the current google adsense reference Private Jet Charter Sales…ugh. :)

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  • Pete

    I’m right there with you on the guzzlingness of private flights BUT, having worked for a celeb I can tell you that many times there is no choice but to fly private.

    The person I worked for had assistants doing all they could to make sure everything got done in a timely, efficient business manner. In my boss’s case, the apparent wastefulness on the front end was outweighed by economies of scale on the back end (example: they flew private, but sold and promoted eco products and practices that were adopted on a mass scale by fans and shoppers).

    You are right to give people the benefit of the doubt. TMZ is promoting incendiary practices that do no one any good in the end.

  • http://www.greenermiami.com rebecca

    Pete, thanks for your comment. Can you expand on why they often have no other choice but private? What are the reasons?

  • Lisa Williamson

    I’m not of Paul Newman’s generation (I’m 38), but I grew up with Paul Newman’s movies, and with the adulation he inspired in my parents’ and grandparents’ generation.

    Rebecca, I understand your point of view (in terms of current-time celebrity cachet), but how could you for even one second compare J-Lo’s ephemeral notoriety with Paul Newman’s lifelong reign? I doubt that she will be be working in four years, let alone another forty.

  • Pete

    Hi Rebecca,
    Im glad to expand on ‘no other choice’ for flying on private jets. Obviously, not all celebs need to fly private and are simply flexing their luxury muscles when doing so.

    My former boss is a recognized personality, who has turned fame into a vehicle for promoting many businesses aimed at making life better and more rewarding for others. Since the various businesses revolve around one person, there are many meetings, personal appearances, tv shows, product reviews, photo shoots, think-tanks, sponsorships, deadlines, etc. happinging in many places on extremely tight schedules. The staff works hard to make it as efficient as possible. Waiting around in airports and being late for engagements is not an option and could potentially damage the image, and in turn, the businesses, and hurt larger numbers of people down the line, from employees to factory workers to store clerks. And it did happen. Flying private is also an issue of safety: there were several active stalkers at the time. I believe, in the case of my former boss, the private flights can be justified as a means to an end that is much greater than the seeming wastefulness.

    Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.

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  • CassieST

    How many of the naysayers use only public transport or taxis to get around, and don’t own a private vehicle?

    I’m sure if the “eco celebs” could, they’d fly commercial/public, but most of the time, like the rest of us (on the ground), the schedules just aren’t convenient enough.

    These days, we all have to be somewhere (usually twenty minutes ago) and there just isn’t the leeway in the system to devote to hanging about, waiting for a ride unless that’s the only option.

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