Help stop global warming! (Republicans need not apply)

Why does the environmental movement fête celebs who go around spouting do-gooder environmental rhetoric even as they travel in gas guzzling private jets and suck up endless watts of energy air-conditioning their L.A. McMansions? Apparently, it’s because they’re Democrats. That’s what Jeff Bercovici over at Radar recently discovered. When he sent an article highlighting the inconvenient truth that folks like Leo DiCaprio and Al Gore too often live environmentally ...

600108_070806_woolsey2_05.jpg
600108_070806_woolsey2_05.jpg

Why does the environmental movement fête celebs who go around spouting do-gooder environmental rhetoric even as they travel in gas guzzling private jets and suck up endless watts of energy air-conditioning their L.A. McMansions? Apparently, it's because they're Democrats.

Why does the environmental movement fête celebs who go around spouting do-gooder environmental rhetoric even as they travel in gas guzzling private jets and suck up endless watts of energy air-conditioning their L.A. McMansions? Apparently, it’s because they’re Democrats.

That’s what Jeff Bercovici over at Radar recently discovered. When he sent an article highlighting the inconvenient truth that folks like Leo DiCaprio and Al Gore too often live environmentally unfriendly lifestyles over to the editors at the influential enviro-site Grist,  they dismissed him for “carrying right-wing water.” What a bizarre response. Why would they assume Bercovici was motivated by politics? Could it be that, within the environmental movement, what matters most is not whether Al Gore, Leo DiCaprio, or Barbara Streisand actually live the virtues they extol, but simply that they’re not “right wing”?

MARK WILSON/Getty Images News

I decided to conduct an unscientific test of the theory on Grist‘s own Web site. As a case study, I picked former CIA Director Jim Woolsey, who is not just right wing in his politics but decidedly hawkish when it comes to foreign-policy matters. He also happens to be a self-described “tree-hugger” who lives in a solar-powered farmhouse (complete with solar-thermal panels for hot water) and drives a Toyota Prius and hybrid Lexus SUV, which he uses to haul farm supplies.

A Google search for “Jim Woolsey” on Grist.org returned six articles; “James Woolsey” gets 16. A search for “Al Gore” returned 4,200. A search for “Leonardo DiCaprio” returned 286 articles (“Leo DiCaprio” adds another 38).

Woolsey lives a green lifestyle. So why isn’t Grist giving him as much ink as Gore or DiCaprio? Perhaps because his primary motivation for calling on Americans to go green is to increase national security, decreasing dependence on foreign oil while increasing pressure on repressive regimes in the Middle East. That’s not necessarily environmentalism for environmentalism’s sake.

It shouldn’t make a difference, Woolsey tells Rolling Stone. “It doesn’t matter what the principal motivation is,” he says. “It’s just two different sets of reasons for wanting the same thing.” Sorry, Jim, but the environmental movement doesn’t seem to agree. Besides, you don’t look as pretty as Leo on the cover of Vanity Fair.

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