The Paris Hilton-ization of the Green Movement

I’ve been following Paris Hilton’s remaking as an environmentalist recently, and it’s been fun to watch.

Recently she made an appearance at the premier of the movie the 11th hour, and was given a brand new hybrid car by Ford:

“I’m getting a car from Ford, a hybrid one. They gave me one. So, I think driving hybrid cars is the new way to go, and recycling.”

“I just want this world to be a better place for my grandchildren. I’m scared with what’s going on in the environment, so I hope people will help and make a difference. Everyone can.”

It’s gotten to the point where it’s news now if Paris is even seen riding in a hybrid car.

To many thinking people who are truly concerned about the environment, this may seem like a sham — it’s clear she has a brilliant publicist who has arranged for all the pictures, the appearance at the screening for the 11th hour, the discussions on the new hybrid car and everything else. Her image needed a makeover after her jail sentence, and waving the environmental flag has proven pretty effective for her.

But the flip side of this is that environmental awareness has clearly benefited from her association. Environmental issues have been in the news as a result of her talking about them. More importantly, these issues have been brought to an audience that hasn’t been focussed on them up to now.

It’s a symbiotic relationship — environmental issues help her by ‘recycling’ her image. She helps environmental issues by getting them into the papers and on TV. Not everyone will agree, but I think this has been fantastic — at least as a beginning.

Like many relationships, it’s clear from the beginning that this one will have trouble lasting. In time, she’ll face questioning about her energy-extravagant lifestyle of flying all over the world. She’ll face questions about the enormous size (and energy requirements) of her homes. There are so many aspects to her lifestyle that are so far beyond being environmentally sound that inevitably even the celebrity press will probably notice.

And if the press doesn’t notice, then we should push them to. We should push them to ask her about her energy wasting lifestyle. Bloggers should research and publish the facts behind the size of her homes and the energy they require. We should push back and bring the real issues out.

After all, every relationship has two sides — and the relationship between Paris Hilton and the Environment is no different. Those who speak for the environment should start making their voices heard as well.

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4 thoughts on “The Paris Hilton-ization of the Green Movement

  1. I find it amazing the number of celebs that have a hybrid car and then openly admit to having gas-guzzling 4x4s etc. I think it’s better to have just one car for as long as possible than to be buying a brand new “eco” car.

    Just think of all the resources that go into making these hybrid cars, the running of the factories, staff travelling to and from work, transportation of the cars around the country etc.

  2. I have a friend who at one time worked in a car factory. Even though the employees wore full body outfits and respirators, he said they would come home reeking of plastic fumes. Each time we buy an item made of plastic, we create not only long term waste but toxins into the atmosphere and workers’ lungs.

    I feel that using what you already have as consciously possible or buying used is a better option than buying something new that is supposed to be more sustainable. A lot of smaller, older cars get great gas mileage (some better than hybrids). These include rabbits, golfs, hondas, and small trucks. Why pay the car companies? Pay someone for a used car. We have too many cars already!!!!

    Or you can just bike, carpool, and get rides. I don’t have a car but travel all over the country, because I do internships with scientists. You don’t need that much experience, you learn from experts and are helping good causes, and you sometimes get reimbursed! They need the help on wildlife refuges, state parks, etc. Sometimes they’ll give you free boarding in bunkhouses.

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