The UK government is dedicating taxpayer funds to develop a For Planet Climate Change behavioral nudge app that promotes “small lifestyle changes,” which “positively impact carbon footprint and contribute towards the UK net zero target.” Those skeptical as to whether these suggestions will become mandates are justified. Those fearing that Covid restrictions would be recycled for climate change were called conspiracy theorists — until their vindication by India’s “pollution lockdown,” which saw Dehli officials repurpose Covid laws to halt travel to limit air pollution. However, recent revelations of parties at 10 Downing Street have awakened the UK to a disbelief in restrictions by those imposing them on us. Britain is not alone in its unilateral laws, what with the EU exempting its Commission members’ private jets from a fuel tax. We should mistrust anyone advocating systemic changes to “save the planet,” while enjoying a highfalutin-high-polluting lifestyle.
Tinseltown, too, has no net-zero policy on hypocrisy. With the recent release of Netflix’s star-studded climate alarmism film Don’t Look Up, about an impending meteor-based extinction event ignored by politicians, one would expect UN Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio to live up to his promise of being a “carbon neutral citizen.” But Oscars aren’t the only thing Leo lacks. With staggeringly little self-awareness, DiCaprio was spotted sailing the 315-foot, $150 million Vava II superyacht around Saint Barthélemy Island this month — its fuel tanks costing $340,000 to fill, and producing as much carbon as a standard family car does annually every seven miles. The irony is that the island is surrounded by marine reserves for endangered species, and its narrow roads and lone airport make the population’s transport habits more environmentally friendly than the hypocrite holidaying off its shores.
Such waste dwarfs the irony of the actor’s flying from Calais, France, to New York and back again on the same day to collect a clean-water advocacy environmental award. Last November, DiCaprio flew 8,000 miles on a private jet roundtrip from Calais, France, to New York and back after speaking at COP26 in Scotland. So much for CO2 being “the most urgent threat facing our entire species.”
This arrogance evokes the latest film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (2013), in which DiCaprio played the eponymous tragic figure. Like Tom and Daisy, DiCaprio belongs to a group of celebrities who are “careless people” and who by their own sky-is-falling admissions have “smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”
Speaking of unimaginable wealth, DiCaprio’s New Year’s party partner, Jeff Bezos, occupied one of the over 400 private jets landing in Glasgow for the UN’s climate conference. Bezos’ climate philanthropy could be criticized for its inefficacy, given that his Earth Fund has donated $43 million to the Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund and $43 million to the Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice. The first group funds “Black and Indigenous people bearing the brunt of climate change” to “advance racial, economic, and environmental justice.” The second organization states, “White supremacy, misogyny, and economic systems that make pollution profitable are intimately intertwined,” and thus promotes “organizations led by Black women, Indigenous women, women of color working to address intersecting climate, gender, and racial justice crises.” In short, Bezos is moving money to race and gender slush funds that promote a climate emergency as a Trojan Horse to promote their identity-obsessed activists to positions of power.
Bezos’ ex-wife recently committed $125 million to addressing climate change. She has also donated $586.7 million to “advance racial equity,” $46 million for “LGBTQ+ equity,” $133 million for “gender equity,” and $72 million to create a “functional democracy.” Again, woke concerns devouring a larger share of wealth than the apparent eco-apocalypse insinuates environmentalism isn’t the former Mrs. Bezos’ chief concern.
The worst offender? DiCaprio’s fellow synthetic meat investor, Bill Gates. The other newly divorced tech billionaire wrote a book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, advocating we drink recycled feces water and go vegan. But Gates imports petrol sports cars, owns a fleet of private jets, and spent his 66th birthday with Bezos on a $2 million-a-week superyacht. (Though I suppose it’s better than flying on the Lolita Express.) He imports Caribbean sand via freight ship to his private beach at his $127 million house. He is America’s largest farmland owner, producing cattle feed for that high-methane agriculture he hates so much. Of the 10 frequent-flying celebrities studied by Lund University in Sweden, Gates had the largest carbon footprint. Gates’ climate record has more errors than Windows 7.
We are ruled by a jet-setting class of climate-catastrophizing hypocrites. Actresses like Joanna Lumley and Emma Thompson advocate subjecting us to life-altering restrictions that they don’t intend to abide by. Their cognitively dissonant behaviors are revelations that, even for prophets of the end times, sacrificing lavish parties is too high a price to pay for the supposed fate of the planet. To appropriate a Rick Gervais’ Golden Globes speech: most of these artists and entrepreneurs have spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg, and are in no position to lecture the public about the real world. Accept your self-aggrandising awards over Zoom and leave conservation strategies to the innovators and industrialists.
Connor Tomlinson is the Head of Research at the British Conservation Alliance, and a political commentator with Young Voices UK. He features regularly in C3 Magazine, on GB News and talkRadio. Follow him on Twitter @Con_Tomlinson