Celebrity environmentalists

The publication of Marina Hyde’s book Celebrity on the impact of celebrities on the political sphere set me thinking about the impact some of them have had on the environmental movement. Are celebrities good for the planet?
Mostly the answer has to be a resounding NO, with a few exceptions. Generally the pattern of living espoused by celebrities is one of conspicuous consumption, this inevitably carries with it a burden of a colossal carbon footprint. This coupled with a lifestyle spread across many countries, which we are expected to admire and covet, is generally damaging to the environment and damaging to any attempt to persuade the general population that changing their lifestyle will be neccessary to save the planet.
When celebrities decide that the environment matters to them and publicly espouse some technology such as electric cars or biofuel, we should be suspicious, not admiring. When the Governor of California decides to fuel his Hummer with biofuel, does he or his representatives really expect us to follow suit? Which of those two mixed messages would they like us to espouse?
The words greenwash and eco-bling have been coined to cover this type of behaviour, but hypocrisy, which has been around for much longer will do the job just as well.


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