Just west of the Pacific Coast Highway in the Paradise Cove area of Malibu, a major construction project is underway. Every day, at least 20 pickup trucks full of workers, earthmovers and multiple cranes belching black smoke crowd onto the lot, power up and get to work building Laurene Powell Jobs’ dream beach compound.
To date, Steve Jobs’ widow has spent more than $80 million on three oceanfront lots — tearing down the existing houses and, according to one person in the know, now building a “massive 20,000-square-foot home for her and her two grown daughters and two smaller ‘cottages’ that are around 4,000 square feet a piece for guests.”
Powell Jobs’ compound is par for the course in that ’hood, but she also just made international headlines with the announcement of her $3.5 billion investment with the Emerson Collective, an organization she founded in 2004 focusing on education, immigration reform and environmental causes.
A rep for Powell Jobs said her latest round of cash is slated for the Collective’s Waverley Street Foundation, which targets “initiatives and ideas to help underserved communities most impacted by climate change . . . Efforts will focus on housing, transportation, food security, and health.”
It’s a noble aim, except for the fact Powell Jobs seems to be blithely abetting the climate change crisis by traveling to and from her multiple homes (three more in Silicon Valley, a $25 million horse ranch in Florida, another in San Francisco) on one of the two Gulfstream jets she owns. (She also has a Philippe Starck-designed mega yacht.)
She is not alone in her hypocrisy. Private jet travel has surged so much during the pandemic, according to The New York Times, there’s a shortage of pilots, and wait times to book a jet have tripled. Yet it’s hard to catch eco-warriors Bill Gates (who wrote a book on climate change, yet owns four private planes — a collection he calls his “guilty pleasure”), Richard Branson (who once created a Global Warming Prize for the first person to figure out how to extract greenhouse gases from the atmosphere), Jeff Bezos (who has his own climate change philanthropy) and Elon Musk on anything but their own jets — or even their own rocket. Branson, Bezos and Musk are so cavalier about fossil fuels they’re guzzling them like camels at the last oasis to blast into space, filling our sky with satellites and polluting the atmosphere with space junk along the way.
Musk, who has made his billions on (among other things) electric cars, has even offered a $100 million prize for anyone who can solve the problem of carbon removal. But as the Institute for Policy Studies notes: “Musk owes his billions [partly to] the billions more in taxpayer-funded research into rocket technology and other high-tech fields of knowledge.”
Meanwhile, the electric cars made by Musk’s Tesla are not emissions free. According to The Wall Street Journal, building one of his cars actually generates more emissions because of the metals needed for its lithium-ion batteries. These nifty batteries, which are often not recycled by most car producers, are made of rare earth metals like lithium, copper and nickel, create radioactive and toxic waste, and rely on fossil fuels to be created in the first place.
Ignoring all this, the eco-frauds will pull up in their electric fleets, ramble on about their pet cause of the day using popular buzzwords like “carbon-neutral,” “eco-friendly” and “green.” Prince Harry went so far as to brag about his pro-environmental family planning (just two kids maximum!) and then chartered a private jet after giving a speech about climate change at Global Citizen Live. When all else fails, the eco-hypocrites adamantly claim their right to fly private, use gas-belching yachts and generally do whatever they feel like by arguing they’ve paid a carbon tax — so therefore their folly is forgivable, laudable, even.
Why don’t these hyper-aware eco-gazillionaires, many of whom have claimed they will give all their money away before they die, simply go for broke and use their own cash to plug holes, build reefs, fill rivers and lakes, and refreeze the glaciers right now?
Because it doesn’t work like that. Things like the carbon tax, electric-based anything and the majority of environmental charities are, for the most part, simply a way for these megalomaniacs to justify doing whatever the hell they want to do.
I am not advocating that we go back to gas-guzzling mega-pickup trucks, air-choking coal plants or one-room, wood-burning fireplace-heated cabins. Instead, maybe, just maybe, try and find a middle ground while proselytizing to the minions. Fly commercial with the hoi polloi where one tank of gas is used to transport many people at once. Downsize that mega mansion compound into a house where you use all the rooms daily. Get rid of the multiple vacation homes you visit maybe once a year (and are loath to rent out as you don’t like people in your space) and opt for a hotel instead. Take a page from everyone’s financial guru, Warren Buffett, and live in the same house and drive the same car for decades, thereby lessening waste and the pesky question of what to do with that toxic lithium ion battery.
But above all, please: Knock off the hypocrisy. The climate crisis (and most all other ecological crises) is caused by the human race, of which you happen to be a member. Stop acting as if you and your elite group of friends are personally saving the planet while educating the rest of us knuckle draggers.