This past weekend, Leonardo DiCaprio won an Oscar for his role in The Revenant, and we’re all talking about his speech on climate change. Some applaud Leo because this is the first time ever an actor has spoken about our changing climate and it’s potential to devastate our species during an awards show. Others also respect that this is one of the few times that an international celebrity has used national television as a platform to speak about environmental policy. However, there are those who believe it to be ludicrous and hypocritical that someone who has taken six private jets in one year from California to New York feels that he has the right to tell us how to better protect out planet. While I understand the initial pushback these folks may have to Leo’s message, I don’t think that his personal lifestyle should detract from the urgency of his call-to-action.
For those of you who want to discredit what Leo said because of his lifestyle and his potentially large carbon footprint (I say potentially because none of us actually know what he does everyday), let me ask you a few questions: Do you think you give good advice? Not in every situation, but do you think you’ve got a few gems of wisdom to offer every now and then? Now, do you always follow your own advice? If you’re like me, the answer to that is a strong and definite no. Finally, and most importantly, does the fact that you don’t follow your own advice detract in any way from how sound or how beneficial your advice is? No, it doesn’t. I’ve written numerous posts for SUFB about the dangers of plastic pollution and the benefits of cutting down on our consumption of single-use plastics. I’ve also returned from the grocery store at least once this past month with a couple more plastic bags. I’m not perfect, and as much as I try I don’t always follow my own advice. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that we as a society need to cut down on our plastic usage. The messenger may not be perfect, but that shouldn’t distort your opinion of the message.
And while I understand that a message of sustainability might be better received from someone who lives every day as a perfect steward of our environment, but we’re not in a position to wait for that person. Our planet is like that couple on house hunters who wants a four bedroom, three bathroom turnkey house with character and a modern, renovated kitchen that sits on three acres close to the center of a city and expects to find it with a $100,000 budget. Sooner or later we’ll have to accept the fact that what we want isn’t realistic, and that in order to find a livable space we’ll have to compromise. Though he may not be perfect, Leo is that under-budget newly renovated townhome within walking distance to a park and a short drive away from the city that just needs new hardwood flooring. Let’s stop focusing on the flaws and start appreciating what it/he has to offer.
Full disclosure: I chose to spend my Sunday night having my own personal House Hunters marathon rather than watching the Oscars. It may have affected my ability to incorporate sound analogies into my writing.
Enjoy the Podcast!