Do as I Say, Not as I Do: Unmasking the Hypocrisy of Eco-Warriors

Climate change is real, said reality star / fashion designer / influencer Kim Kardashian during one of her most recent, many weekly interviews. What environmentalist Greta Thunberg is doing is brave and admirable, because we need people like that to fight for the sake of our planet. Then, Kim jumped on her private plane and headed back to L.A.
Environmentalists often fly private, despite their pleas for the rest of the world to ditch commercial flights 6 photos
Photo: EvoJets for
Model Daisy Lowe has joined the Rebellion Extinction protests, but also flies privateOscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprioReality star Kim KardashianPrince Harry, aka the Duke of SussexTesla CEO Elon Musk flies private for work on a weekly basis
Such is the hypocrisy of many public figures, and Kardashian is just the tip of the iceberg. Or the bottom, if you really do think that lowly of her. It’s like one of us, a regular Joe or Jane who actually has to work 9 hours a day for a living, pay rent, cook food, run errands and what-not, would complain about the garbage lining the streets of our city and then threw the sandwich wrapping on the ground, 2 feet away from the trash can.

Model Daisy Lowe, most famous for being the daughter of Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale than for her actual modeling work, actress Emma Thompson, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, the Duke of Sussex, and even the man behind the electric revolution, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, have all been accused, at some point in time, of being hypocrites. And that’s just this past year, because the examples would pile sky-high if we looked further back.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk flies private for work on a weekly basis
Photo: Instagram / Elon Musk
All these people claim to be fervent environmentalists, so-called eco-warriors who lend their voices, their name and face, their platforms to good causes, meant to raise awareness on the fact that – simply put – we’re sitting on a time bomb.

They’re telling us that we need to do something to cut down emissions, and that we must do it now, or our children’s children won’t stand a chance at a good life on this planet. Occasionally, they fly to remote regions to offer aid with hunger relief, to plant trees and, even more rarely, they will donate money to the same causes.

Their work is admirable because they lead by example. People tend to follow those they perceive as in a position of authority or whom they idolize; it’s just the way the human brain works. But when it comes down to putting what they preach into practice, these very eco-warriors fail. They urge us to stop flying and try alternative means of transport, but they can’t be bothered to at least board a plane that carries more than their small entourage and the cabin crew.

Sure, they worked hard for their money, all of them. And maybe the matters they attend to are more pressing than, say, our needing to be at work on time, so they can’t afford to waste a single minute. But when you want the rest of the world to ditch commercial flying because it’s bad for the environment, jet-setting really does make you look bad.

Oscar\-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio
Photo: Instagram / Leonardo DiCaprio
Take Daisy Lowe for example. She’s often with the Extinction Rebellion protesters, urging them on and helping them paralyze London traffic as a means of protest against gas-guzzling cars and planes. But scroll through her social media and you will find the occasional picture of her posing in front of a private jet, right before take-off.

Or Leonardo DiCaprio, or as The Hollywood Reporter dubbed him in the summer of 2019, Hollywood’s “last movie star.” DiCaprio doesn’t do press all that much, not even when he has a movie to promote, but when he makes an exception for his environmental work. His foundation is deeply involved in several causes around the world, he’s made considerable donations himself and, for the most part, he seems to live up to his reputation as an eco-warrior.

And then, he hops on a private jet to fly from one party to another in Cannes, because he can’t be bothered to take a boat like everyone else.

We can find Prince Harry  in the same league. His discourses are passionate arguments for the need to act, for more responsibility and a cleaner lifestyle. His actions are planned ahead and beautifully displayed to the public, as is the case with any other high-profile member of a royal fam. But he also takes several private jets within a fortnight, to go holidaying.

No one is saying that rich people, regardless of whether they’re actors, public figures or CEOs, should give up the lifestyle they’ve worked for. No one is asking them to return to the dark ages and travel by horse-drawn cart, and no one is expecting them to give their fortunes away, just to show that they’re “worthy.”

At the same time, though, it feels hypocritical for them to ask us to give up flying, when we only do it ever so often for pleasure or because our livelihood depends on it. Because, if they do – and they do – we might start thinking that being an environmentalist is the latest woke thing to do, another notch on their belt they can show off at parties.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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