Hollywood celebrities have long warned us about warmer weather and melting ice caps. “Climate change is real, it is happening right now,” Leonardo DiCaprio proclaimed in his 2016 Oscar acceptance speech. “It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”
But that’s exactly what he’s doing. This month, DiCaprio proudly picked up an environmental award at the Riverkeeper Fishermen’s Ball in New York City. How did he get there? The actor used his private jet to fly from the Cannes Film Festival to New York and back again to France for a glitzy fundraiser one night later. DiCaprio’s trip accrued 8,000 miles in just a few days’ time, leaving quite the carbon footprint.
It’s nothing new: The “Catch Me if You Can” star routinely flies around the world and travels aboard luxury yachts. In 2014, he spent his World Cup vacation on the fifth largest yacht in the world—owned by Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a billionaire oil tycoon.
And Leo’s certainly not alone. Actor-turned-environmental-activist Mark Ruffalo is reportedly exploiting the contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan to promote his colleague’s sponge business. Ruffalo’s green charity, Water Defense, employs someone named Scott Smith as its “chief scientist,” who claims his sponge product “Aquaflex” is the only way to detect ongoing contamination in Flint. There’s just one problem: Smith isn’t a scientist. He claims to have a bachelor’s degree in economics and a business degree, but neither points to any scientific expertise whatsoever. So Smith is essentially using his connection to Ruffalo to promote a money-making scheme. And Ruffalo is gladly appearing on cable news networks spreading inaccuracies about the Flint water crisis—which even liberal outlets have acknowledged.
One thing is clear: Big Green Hollywood doesn’t do itself any favors.