Some of the brightest stars in the pop culture galaxy want to ride Greta Thunberg’s teen coattails.
The Swedish activist generated media cheers this month for her fight against climate change. She’s not a scientist, nor does she have access to data that other people lack. She’s merely a distraught girl telling us the world will end soon if we don’t drastically change our lifestyles.
Greta’s cry coaxed Jane Fonda to get arrested on a regular basis to wake up the world, even if the Oscar winner’s own lifestyle is far from Greta approved.
Now, a gaggle of fellow stars are joining the fray. Only they have a confession to make in the process. Yes, we’re eco-hypocrites, but we have no other choice thanks to our fossil fuel culture.
A new open letter, signed by such luminaries as Thom Yorke, David Byrne, Jude Law, Mel B of Spice Girls fame, Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”) and Benedict Cumberbatch, insist we shouldn’t judge them on their actions.
Led by the group Extinction Rebellion, the stars want to weaponize their collective clout to counter climate change. And, thanks mostly to new media outlets (like conservative news sites, Twitter, and Facebook), they know they’re viewed by many as pure, unadulterated hypocrites.
The mainstream press doesn’t call them that, of course. A few British papers do, now and then, but most stateside reporters are loathe to admit it to their readers. Instead, they regurgitate celebrity talking points without skepticism, even when stars like Fonda suggest we’ll have to coerce any government unwilling to take the climate change pledge.
In short, these stars don’t want their inconvenient lifestyle choices to be held against them.
“We live high carbon lives and the industries that we are part of have huge carbon footprints. Like you – and everyone else – we are stuck in this fossil-fuel economy and without systemic change, our lifestyles will keep on causing climate and ecological harm.”
If the world is truly on fire, as they claim, shouldn’t they skip their next tour or movie project to do their fair share? Couldn’t “Avengers” star Mark Ruffalo commit to a cyber-press tour rather than jetting across the globe? Did anyone fear “Avengers: Endgame” wouldn’t make a gazillion dollars, with or without a killer Ruffalo quote?
Haven’t they all made enough money, to paraphrase a former Commander in Chief?
The signatories won’t let criticism or labels stop them. “The stories that you write calling us climate hypocrites will not silence us,” they warn.
They’re also imploring the media to do more to back their efforts, as if reporters need any more urging to do just that.
But will it force these eco-warriors to change their lifestyles? It’s doubtful if it hasn’t happened yet. How many of those aforementioned celebrities live in the lap of proverbial luxury? How many travel hither and yon on private planes, sometimes just to scratch that cheeseburger itch? Just how large are their carbon footprints, anyway?
Leonardo DiCaprio, the most vocal star on the climate change issue, knows most reporters won’t scold him for his private planes or yacht adventures. They didn’t after he made a climate change plea following his Best Actor win for 2015’s “The Revenant.”
What these stars really want is carte blanche to keep on wagging their fingers at us sans complaint. Things are different now, though. Stories stifled by the American press have a way of wriggling free, no matter how many social media platforms crush dissent. And, in the wake of Lebron James’ catastrophically tone deaf defense of China’s dictatorial ways, we’re even less eager to be lectured by our celebrity betters.
No open letter will change that.