Whether it’s celebrities or former politicians, nearly every “A-lister” lends their status to one cause or another. One of the most popular causes, made famous by people like former Vice President Al Gore, relates to supporting issues geared toward protecting the environment.
In spite of celebrities and former politicians publicly stating the importance of combating global warming and other proclaimed “threats” against the globe, it has not stopped many people from raising the question: Are these celebrities and elites practicing what they preach? It appears, in many cases, they are not.
Al Gore — former vice president, former Democratic nominee for president, and Al Gore, who produced “An Inconvenient Truth,” a documentary that highlights his beliefs as it relates to the importance of fighting climate change — has been caught leading a life of hypocrisy with respect to protecting the environment. According to a report released by the National Center for Public Policy Research, Mr. Gore’s home in Tennessee uses “more electricity in one year than the average American family uses in 21 years.”
While many former public servants, celebrities and others talk about the importance of protecting the environment on the global stage, far too many of these elites are ignoring environmental threats taking shape in their own backyards.
The controversial extension of L.A. Metro’s Purple Line, known as Section 2, that is currently under construction and will run from downtown Los Angeles to Century City in California is a solid example of this. In fact, Section 2 will tunnel underneath Beverly Hills High School through an unmapped oil field with approximately 80 improperly capped oil wells, dating back to the wildcat days of the 1920s and ‘30s, that are filled with large pockets of methane gas — a contributor to climate change. Furthermore, the pollution and construction involved in building Section 2 at the fence line of this iconic school, presents a toxic brew of deafening noise and vibration, dust and soot and dirty diesel pollution from 300 diesel truck trips a day right where students and staff are attending classes.
Several L.A. County council members, supervisors and other elected officials, along with Eric Garcetti, who is the Democratic mayor of Los Angeles and 2nd vice chair of the Metro Board, sent a letter in 2016 endorsing the Purple Line extension to a federal judge who still is presiding over the line’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) litigation. Asking a judge to continue the Purple Line extension project despite environmental concerns is a blatant disregard for the negative environmental impact this project will have on California and Beverly Hills students and creates the optics of undue influence by political forces in L.A.
Furthermore, the letter underlines the hypocrisy of L.A.’s liberal political base. For example, on one hand, L.A. politicians like Mr. Garcetti champion L.A.’s Green New Deal, while at the same time promoting projects like Section 2 of the Purple Line, which will force people and vulnerable children into breathing what one watchdog group recently flagged as toxins and pollution. This is not only harmful to the environment but could certainly be detrimental to the health of L.A.’s citizens.
This is not to say all of the people and leaders in California are hypocritical, or even supportive of this project. California conservatives, such as Lisa Korbatov, who is the former Beverly Hills High School Board president, recognized the dangers of the Purple Line and founded a campaign called “Stop the Purple Threat.”
Should we be all that surprised by the hypocritical actions of the California liberal elite? As discussed in a recent segment on Fox News, this is the same state that has, in spite of experiencing an increase in poverty rates, constructed bathrooms that cost $57 million.
All of this is not to say that we should not admire those who are working to contribute to making the world a better place. However, if many of these so-called environmentalists in California and nationwide really care about our future, they would start by practicing what they preach.
• Ron Paul is a former Republican congressman from Texas.
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