Saturday, August 18, 2007

Does DiCaprio’s Lifestyle Matter?

Most humans don’t fly. Among those who do most do not fly in their own private jets. But Leonardo DiCaprio does fly in his own private jet and since he is a celebrity calling for action against global warming this really bothers some people. It really bothers Glenn Barry who runs the climate change and global warming portal Climate Ark. It bothers Barry so much that he has issued an action alert to :

Let Leo know that the battle to stop the growth in aviation's greenhouse gas emission is one the most important environmental battles ever that requires his personal example. To be a credible messenger of global ecological sustainability Leonardo must both walk the walk and talk the talk. Let him know you will see his movie if he swears off private jets.

On other extreme, David Roberts blogging on Huffington Post has a simple reaction to all this agitation over how DiCaprio travels. Roberts says “eh.” Roberts explains his “who cares” attitude by saying:

I care about global warming. I don't think celebrity behavior is going to affect the issue one way or the other…

Whether or not celebrities matter in the fight against global warming it is a sure bet that we are going to keep hearing from celebrities on this issue. Celebrities are so much part of the media that is it almost impossible to imagine the media without them. Probably the mayor of Seattle, Greg Nickels, who originated the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement which has now been signed by over 600 mayors and town supervisors has done more to combat global warming than all of the celebrities combined if you leave out Al Gore but outside of the Seattle area you are unlikely to see him show up in the media. The value of the media to the fight against global warming is largely to show pictures of the effects of climate change such as melting glaciers, stranded polar bears, etc. When it comes to taking action against global warming the media will focus on celebrities which is not where the action is.


Anonymous said...

please check your facts. I did. DiCaprio DOES not own his own private jet. He flies commercial unless for time commitment to work he has to take a private jet. He walks to talk and does a lot more than a lot of people who seem to do nothing but criticize others who take the time to bring attention to an important global issue.

Bob Liebman said...

Thanks for the correction. It should be "use of private jets" not ownership which is the issue. I agree what DiCaprio does is important. However, in the media what celebrities are doing to combat global warming seems to be blown way out of proportion compared to all the actions being taken all over the country by local, county, and state officials as well as grass roots environmentalists. The great majority of efforts that are reducing greenhouse gas emissions are not celebrity driven. Of course we are a long, long way from doing enough to make a difference with regard to actually limiting the rise in global temperature to no more than 2 C from preindustrial levels.