Are Climate Change Activists Hypocrites?


Courtesy of BusinessLIVE

Climate change activist protest for change in the streets.

Fiona Salisbury, Photojournalist

Climate change activists are often very passionate about protecting the environment, but it appears that many do not practice what they preach. Because many of the actions that are associated with climate change are heavily linked to daily life, it is difficult to avoid contributing to the environmental crisis, even for avid climate activists.

People around the world protest on the streets, blocking traffic in an attempt to bring awareness to climate change. While the intention is meant to help the environment, these protests create trash around cities due to their signs and banners. Protesters against petroleum painted their posters with petroleum based paint while using shoes, beauty products, and cell phones, all items that contain petroleum or fossil-fuels. Greenpeace activists against the oil industry arrived wearing plastic rimmed glasses, a plastic hardhat, and a plastic vest.

In addition, Al Gore, an American politician and environmentalist, supports climate change activists and works to address the climate crisis. However, he flies around the world on his private jet, drives around in SUVs, lives in a house that consumes large amounts of electricity, and even sold his television network, Current TV, to a company that purchased the network with money made in the oil industry. Gore claims that fossil fuels are the leading cause of climate change, but he has indirectly profited off of fossil fuels.

Former President Barack Obama is another example of hypocritical behavior when it comes to climate change. Obama has been supportive of teen climate change activist, Greta Thunberg. Obama is concerned about the rising sea levels due to climate change, but the Obamas are purchasing a waterfront mansion which has a high energy consumption rate. This purchase places doubts about how sincere Obama is on climate change.

According to Megan Chou (9), “climate change activists are hypocrites because they’re telling us to not do stuff that they are doing.” While avoiding the usage of clothing, toothbrushes, lightbulbs, and other basic necessities that contain petroleum or fossil fuels is difficult for most people, well known activists like Al Gore and Barack Obama could have avoided the actions that make people consider them climate change hypocrites. Climate change activists do want to bring change, but they also fail to avoid many items that contribute to the destruction of the environment.

Gore and Obama are two individuals contributing to the climate change problem by using their wealth in ways that are ignorant of the climate crisis. If climate change activists want to avoid being labeled hypocrites, wealthy activists should find alternatives to their not so environmentally conscious actions. It is clear that many climate change activists are extremely hypocritical, but by changing their lifestyle to be more eco-friendly, they can be better leaders of the environmental sustainability movement.