David Roberts engages in some more tasty articulation over at Gristmill. Conservative hacks like to try to make Gore look hypocritical, pointing out that he doesn’t do everything he could to reduce his environmental footprint. Well, first, for a semi-cheap shot, I doubt Sean Hannity is doing nearly as much as Al Gore to reduce his footprint. But, as Roberts points out, that’s not even the point.
Being a high-profile advocate makes it very difficult to be anything but bad for the environment, directly. Even as a normal citizen of a Western country, it’s very difficult. To have a non-existent carbon footprint, one basically needs to grow all of one’s own food, live off the electric grid, only use self-powered transportation, and not buy anything that’s not local and completely zero-footprint itself. In other words, it’s impossible to be a normally functioning citizen and be perfect with regard to the environment.
What Gore and others of like minds are on about is that the system needs to change. Living as environmentally as possible needs to become the unthinking default lifestyle. There are numerous things we can do, changing the way we think, to fix our currently fetid and broken system. Not until a critic is themselves actively working toward such systemic change, I think, do they have the moral justification to throw punches at the consistency of those who already do.