Leonardo DiCaprio is part of the “green” green crowd.
They’re folks with boatloads of money lecturing the rest of us about our wanton destruction of Mother Earth through excessive carbon footprints.
DiCaprio is on the National Resources Defense Council board.
DiCaprio uses his platform as a celebrity to warn the world — particularly Americans — that we will trigger an environmental catastrophe unless we significantly shrink our carbon footprint.
Consider his words when he gave his acceptance speech for receiving the Big Green Help Award at the Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards a few years back: “Right now, our mother — our mother — all of our mothers, Mother Earth is hurting. And she needs a generation of thoughtful, caring and active kids like all of you to protect her for the future. You can help us win the battle to clean up our air, or water, our land, to protect our forests, our oceans, and our wildlife.”
A few years prior in 2008, he made a pronouncement on the national stage that, “We are the number one leading consumers, the biggest producers of waste around the world.”
He was among the first to buy a Toyota Prius. His foray into electric vehicles includes ownership of a Tesla Roadster and the sleek Fisker Karma hybrid sports car that gets an impressive 100 mile per gallon.
He also has retrofitted many of the digs he owns or has owned to minimize carbon-based power by installing solar panels. His latest home is an eco-friendly apartment unit in New York. He’s so green that he’s going to convert a small, previously untouched island off the coast of Belize into an eco-friendly resort.
So you could say the actor who rocketed to fame as the star of the “Titanic” practices what he preaches, right?
That isn’t exactly the case.
Rich celebrities tend to jet around the world burning fossil fuel and own homes with enough combined square footage equivalent to the housing space used by 191 families in a Third World Country.
But even among the super rich DiCaprio will soon stick out for his opulent, carbon-based footprint consumption.
The world is about to find out DiCaprio isn’t as pure as his words. And while very few of us are, we probably won’t reach the same height of hypocrisy that DiCaprio is shooting to reach.
That’s because DiCaprio has booked a $200,000 ticket aboard the maiden flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip. DiCaprio and five others will rocket up 68 miles above earth, roughly 6.2 miles beyond the line that separates the atmosphere from space.
The little sight-seeing trip will generate 30 tons of carbon dioxide based on the Federal Aviation Administration’s environmental assessment of Richard Branson’s planned space excursion.
The inaugural trip expected later this year means DiCaprio will leave a carbon footprint of five tons for a two-hour flight catering to the jet set with cash to burn.
Based on examples of carbon footprint equivalents found on the carbonfund.org site, DiCaprio will be creating the carbon footprint equivalent of driving 2,700 Chevy Suburbans 12,000 miles a year during his two-hour excursion.
So Mr. Help-Me-Protect-Mother Earth will do the same environmental damage in 120 seconds that it takes the owners of 2,700 full-sized SUV an entire year to do.
And unlike DiCaprio most of their damage is being done going to and from work and ferrying their families round and not on an ego-stroking sightseeing excursion.
Granted, Branson’s SpaceShip is a bit more efficient than some of its NASA counterparts mainly because its payload isn’t as big. But the real damage here is that Branson along with environmental activists such as DiCaprio are helping launch a new industry of blasting rich tourists into space.
So it is quite plausible the day will soon come when other rich folks like DiCaprio can plunk down $200,000 apiece for weekly novelty flights.
Given that each flight has six passengers, it will be the equivalent carbon footprint of 16,200 Chevy SUVs driving 12,000 miles a year all in one two-hour period each week. After 52 weeks that’s the equivalent of 842,400 Chevy SUVs being driven 12,000 miles a year.
To put that in perspective, Ford sells 763,000 F-150 pickups a year. The new 2015 F-150 version that is 700 pounds lighter due to the cutting edge use of aluminum that will save 3.4 gallons of gas for every 1,000 miles driven. Since F-150s and Chevy Suburbans have roughly the same gas mileage there is a loose comparison that can be made.
Ford, if all goes well, will reduce fuel consumption by 31.3 million gallons during the course of a year if they sell 763,000 F-150s annually and they’re driven 12,000 miles each.
In one fell swoop, DiCaprio and his prominent environmentalist-in-arms Richard Branson will wipe out all carbon footprint gains that Detroit is making possible for the masses to accomplish.
Don’t fault DiCaprio for his hypocrisy. He’s just following a long tradition of the rich and famous lecturing the rest of us about our wanton consumption and then doing the opposite because they can afford to do so.
Remember, do as they say and not as they do.