Elitist Environmental Hypocrisy vs. Daily Reality

This topic ignites an old fire that last burned so hot when Jesse Jackson failed to host Haitian refugees in his own home, after he loudly criticized Bill Clinton’s decision to send some back to Haiti in the early 90s. Some folks clearly need to look in the mirror before telling others how to live.

Simply, I wish to see a halt to the personal hypocrisy of celebrity environmentalists.

This argument isn’t about environmental protection itself. The problem here is not the idea of reducing the degrading aspects of human impact on our environment. That’s a noble cause in principle. The problem is in the actions of many who most loudly champion the need for drastic changes in the behavior of others without performing such changes upon themselves, to the utmost and fullest.

Their hypocrisy, however, should have no effect on the merits or demerits of environmental ideas. I’m not denigrating the idea because of the person; therefore, this is absolutely, positively not an ad hominem argument.

Indeed, I neither will nor should preach one way or another about the causes of greenhouse gases, their effects on climate, or any effect of various forms of possible action on the economy and on poverty. I am not qualified! Climate change and economics is not my expertise, and as an atmospheric scientist, I can assure that neither I nor >99% of those who read this have the deep credentials and intricate understanding of both climate science and economics to satisfactorily explain how the two interests can be best balanced. If you think you do…well, I’ve lived in Missouri, so show me.

Let this be clear: I don’t support pollution and I don’t agree with everything the Competitive Enterprise Institute advocates. But this video about Al Gore’s own “carbon footprint” is a gas (no pun intended): high-bandwidth Windows Media video or QuickTime media.

As for the publicity seeking, holier than thou, self-righteous, limousine-liberal, egomaniacal Eco-Puritans, among them Albert Gore: Let them walk the walk (quite literally) after talking the talk.
No cars. No planes. No buses. No trains. No electric power.

No modern conveniences! [That, by the way, includes microphones — the very objects that most powerfully attract these people, as flies flock to a turd pile.]

Walk or ride a bike everywhere…wait, bicycle grease is made from petroleum, and the steel was cooked with petroleum derived energy! Ixnay on the cyclebay. Use your feet or a horse. Hey, if Gene Glasscock (whom I’ve had the privilege to meet) can ride across 48 states for four years in his late 60s and 70s, so can a younger man like Mr. Gore. Saddle up, Al.

Who is using a computer, TV, telephone, microwave oven, refrigerator, washing machine, electric alarm clock, or anything else that plugs into a wall socket that’s attached to a corporate electric grid? Stop that! Electricity still is mainly coal- and oil-generated, wind power can hurt migratory birds, big hydro thwarts some salmon, and nuclear power generates nuclear waste. Generate your own power off-grid to full reliance or quit-cher-bitchin’! I know an atmospheric scientist who has done exactly that, and I admire his resourcefulness and dedication immensely.

Who has battery powered cars, electronics or lights? Halt, in the name of Mother Earth! Don’t you know what energizes the Energizers? Power from…you guessed it: coal, nuclear, wind and of course oil.

Who among the eco-whiners has a house made of wood that wasn’t hand cut by the owner or someone he/she knows? Ah ha…waltzing with Weyerhauser, eh? Tsk, tsk… Oh, look up there — asphalt shingles too. Horrors! I wonder how many “tree huggers” live in houses constructed of machine-cut lumber which contain plastic or synthetic rubber of some sort. Or how many live in apartments built with oil powered machinery. To them I say: Step to the rear of the complaint line and shut the hell up.

Maybe Ol’ Al can live in a tent instead. Whoops, make that a buffalo skin tepee…most tents are made from or with…petroleum! No nylon or polyester is allowed in the clothes, either, nor is electrically powered production. Hand-sheared wool and hand-ginned cotton only!

Organic farming is a good thing, but where did that steel come from and what powers the machinery? Get a mule and plow instead of that tractor or roto-tiller. Mow the lawn with no gasoline or electricity. Better yet, don’t mow. Be wild and free. Celebrate the company of our fellow living beings, the ticks and chiggers and West Nile infected mosquitoes.

I wonder: Does Al Gore have the folks at his speaking venues turn off the air conditioning or heating before he arrives by saddleback?

Some of my fellow storm observers can plead guilty too. Personally, I won’t give up driving thousands of miles across the Great Plains each year in search of stormy skies. If that leaves a “carbon footprint,” so be it. At least I admit that. But those who do chase storms while advocating huge reductions in “greenhouse gases” do perplex me a little. Every hour spent chasing storms (wondrous pursuit, but a resource-consuming hobby if there ever was one) yields CO2, no matter the vehicle driven. I know a few storm chasers who vociferously advocate the Kyoto Protocol, or who gripe about CO2 emissions, and I hereby call their bluff.

Walk the talk, folks. Either shut off the flow of CO2 and stop storm chasing, or shut off the flow of environmental rhetoric. Which way are you going to have it?

Otherwise, something has to give. We do have a responsibility here, but we also have our individual limits beyond which the pursuit of happiness, convenience or vocation takes over. I freely admit this, in my case. Admit this yourself, state your threshold of sacrifice openly and honestly, and we’ll get along just swimmingly.

I didn’t see Jesse taking in Haitians, I don’t see Al riding that mule, and I don’t see environmentalist storm chasers abandoning their hobby. So, realistically speaking, what can be done?

The bottom line is this: All we can do is our little part to clean up this stinkin’ cesspool of a world, and to expose those who deliberately pollute it on scales that no individual can handle.

Everyday individuals easily can recycle many plastics, glass, steel cans, aluminum and paper. We common folks can reuse containers instead of tossing them after one use, and we can reach in the wastebasket to retrieve and recycle that Dr Pepper can that someone else threw away. It’s easy to mulch waste food. Each individual can kill as many rats, ticks, chiggers, roaches and garden pests as possible without harsh chemicals, and drop less or no fertilizer on the lawn. Turning lights off when leaving rooms is a quick habit to learn. Multiple errands can be combined into one drive. A hot summer day is a good time to dry clothes outside on a line, instead of running the dryer. The thermostat can be turned up in summer, down in winter. A good dishwasher can be packed full before being used. These things I can advocate because I’ve done them.

There’s a lot more than that, too, which I won’t mention. It’s common sense. It ain’t hard, and it doesn’t make us famous. In fact, it’s the things we do when nobody’s looking which truly define us, no matter what is spoken into any microphone.

The gas guzzling, carbon-spewing, celebrity environmentalists, by contrast, seem to have other, unspoken agendas. Maybe the rise in global mean surface temperature is being accelerated by their own generation of hot air!


One Response to “Elitist Environmental Hypocrisy vs. Daily Reality”

  1. lucky on May 26th, 2006 10:07 am

    Great post. Apparently Laurie David, the woman behind a lot of this global warming nonsense, doesn’t mind using gas-guzzling jets to fly to her events. On a lighter note, check out this funny clip about the movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZSqXUSwHRI

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