Wall Street Journal

Every Day Is Earth Day for These Celebrity Hypocrites

For reasons ranging from hypocrisy to needling self-righteousness, we love to hate these high-profile environmentalists.

Imagine the planet's love-hate relationship with humans: we're like the teenage stepchildren who moved into its mansion and stunk up the place with our unwashed clothes, moldy dishes, and refusal to clean the bathroom.

But since 1970, Earth Day has been the one day a year we dedicate to caring about the environment's well-being and its ability to support our disgusting habits. With climate change expected to kill at least 5 million people by 2050, it hasn't done us any good, but, sure, happy Earth Day 2019, everybody!

But for many high-profile figures, from Elon Musk to Leonardo DiCaprio, their reputations are entangled in pushing environmental activism at every opportunity. And for reasons ranging from hypocrisy to needling self-righteousness, we love to hate their enthusiasm. Here are seven celebrities whose love of the environment is only rivaled by their love of publicizing it.

Elon Musk

The Tesla founder is an outspoken proponent of reducing carbon emissions, often lecturing on environmental issues and accepting awards for his green approaches to technology. That said, the mogul travels to speaking engagements via his private jet that uses 490 gallons of fuel every hour.

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Leonardo DiCaprio

As Hollywood's top climate change activist, the incredibly self-satisfied actor has been recognized with the United Nations Messenger of Peace and the Clinton Global Citizen Award. He also owns the 11th largest yacht in the world, a private jet, and multiple gas-guzzling vehicles.

Despite having a carbon footprint that dwarfs most Americans, DiCaprio posted, "To solve climate change and biodiversity loss, we need a #GlobalDealForNature. Sign the petition calling on world leaders to come together to protect and restore half of nature. globaldealfornature.org #EarthDay"

Arnold Schwarzenegger

The former governor of California has promoted initiatives to fight climate change since his time in office. He recently gave an interview on "terminating pollution" (because he was the Terminator; get it?) to the Political Climate podcast. Yet, when it comes to his own lifestyle, his military-grade Hummer and private jet also raise eyebrows.


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Al Gore

Ever since his unsuccessful 2001 presidential bid and heavily promoted documentary An Inconvenient Truth, we've loved to watch this man try to save the world. After infamously congratulating himself for inventing the Internet, he went on to join Apple's board of directors and become a senior advisor to Google, despite their reputations of being distinctly non-green. Yet in 2017, he produced An Inconvenient Truth Sequel: Truth to Power to further the message of lowering carbon emissions. Today, he posted, "What we should remember today and every day: We share Mother Earth as our only home. There is no Planet B. Happy #EarthDay everyone!"

Gwyneth Paltrow

The founder of Goop, a "modern lifestyle brand" based on bogus science and price gouging, says her company's mission is eco-centric. She's outspoken about green lifestyle changes, from buying hybrid cars to lowering thermostats, but her high-end tastes and penchant for traveling on private jets undermine her loud messaging to go green.

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Matt Damon

As founder of Water.org, a nonprofit dedicated to making clean water accessible in developing nations, Damon's desire to save the planet might be genuine. But when he's not hosting PBS documentaries or accepting an Environmental Media Award, he's working with film companies that have distinctly non-green associations. Specifically, he wrote and produced 2012's Promised Land to depict the peril of the natural gas industry, but the film was produced "in association" with Image Media Abu Dhabi, a company supported by the export of crude oil.

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Hillary Clinton

Like plenty of politicians, Hilary has a history of going quiet about climate change whenever advocating for the issue might lose her votes. Regardless, she posted, "This #EarthDay," I'm thankful for the millions of young people around the world who have marched and gone on strike to demand action on climate change."



Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher, and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.


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