Limousine liberals saving the world

Limousine liberals saving the world

Yesterday was Earth Day, if you care, or as I like to think of it, the commemoration of Vladimir Lenin’s birthday. (According to Kathy, the first Earth Day was intentionally planned to coincide with the birthday of one of history’s most notorious villains.)

And what’s Earth Day without
limousine liberals convincing themselves how earth-conscious they are as they engage in typical slacktivism. (Although I must say I’m amused by the New York Times’s snarky tone throughout the article, subtly slamming the socialites for their cluelessness and elitism.)

One of New York’s glittering socialites is married to an owner of an eco-product company so she’s engaging in a little upscale Tupperware party activism, bringing in her multimillionaire friends to discuss earth-friendly cleaning products and low-carbon-footprint lightbulbs.

Yet, amidst all the moralizing about the ozone layer and CFCs and the environment, we come to the conclusion that, like Al Gore, the rich can afford to buy their eco-indulgences in the form of carbon offsets and good deeds while the poor must make do with buying the more expensive eco-friendly goods they can’t afford.

Following paragraph after paragraph from the eco-Amway saleswoman, we get the nub of the matter.

Still, she has no plans to reduce the family’s significant carbon footprint by, say, selling the Manhattan second home. “I’m not a perfect person,” she said. “I’m not the greenest woman in America.” And there was scant indication that other guests, most of whom, presumably, knew their way up the steps of a private jet, were contemplating major lifestyle cutbacks. Glancing about the room, Ms. Barnett said, “We aren’t all going to move to one-bedroom apartments.”

She would do what she could, she said, pointing to the correlation between commercial cleaners and the toxic residue that sometimes lurks in the tub, forming that grimy bathtub ring. “Basically your kids are bathing in the Love Canal,” she warned, her comments drawing a shudder. [It’s not “the” Love Canal; it’s just
“Love Canal”, as in the name of a location in the town of Niagara Falls, New York. And she’s a journalist!


In total, Ms. Barnett’s informal consciousness-raising resulted in 65 orders for Shaklee’s $140 Get Clean kits, a showing that might make any one of the company’s 750,000 distributors proud.

Ms. Rockefeller wanted four kits, one as a gift to her housekeeper. “I want to spread the word,” she said.

She plans to practice conservation, to a point. Energy-saving light bulbs are fine — for the utility closet, perhaps. In other rooms, “they don’t give a very pretty light,” she said.

Taking in such reservations, Ms. Barnett remained sanguine. “This is the grass-roots way to help save the world,” she said.

Yes, convincing millionaire New York socialites to change the bulbs in their utility closets and give eco-clean kits to their housekeepers is so grassroots. Just another example of slacktivism, this time Fifth Avenue style.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • Dom,

    Please be fair here.  Shaklee and Amway are different companies.  (Maybe I’m nit-picking, but the “eco-Amway” comment seemed to be a bit of a slam there.)  It’s not like these are evil companies, anyway.  I can’t speak about Shaklee with any knowledge, but I do know that Amway has tried for years (even before Al Gore started carping about carbon footprints) to make environmentally friendly products.  Amway has even dropped products (and popular ones, too) that were deemed to be too harmful to the environment.  And isn’t that what businesses are supposed to do?  Try to make stuff that does as little to harm the earth as possible? 

    I know, I know…your main point is people who talk a good game but don’t actually do anything about it – they pay lip service to being “green.”  But why the slam on Amway (which wasn’t even mentioned in the article)? 

    *thinking to self* …maybe I’m being too sensitive about the Amway thing…

  • “Eco-friendly” is a dumb term and one I heard recently to describe hybrid cars.

    What, are they growing these vehicles from trees? Geez, the vehicles consumed energy and are made from natural resources.

    With “green-chic” the important thing is to feel good about yourself for doing something, even though that something may be nothing.

  • It will be a better day when those energy efficient bulbs cast a light that doesn’t make everything look sickly.  They are great for hard to reach places (that fixture at the top of the stairs…above the kitchen sink…) But I find them very disturbing to the eyes…and not just in a Blanche duBois I Don’t Look Very Good in This Light sort of way.  We have one in our laundry room and I can’t quite judge the success of stain removal etc.

    No conservation measures my family takes makes up for the fact that we’ve more than done our share to destroy the planet through having six children wink  Or do breastfeeding, cloth diapers and homeschooling merit some sort of “eco-indulgences?”

  • What’s the source for the claim that Earth Day was chosen to coincide with Lenin’s birthday?  I have heard this asserted many times but have had a hard time finding documentation.  Wikipedia (not that I always trust them) seems skeptical of the idea.

  • Dom,

    I have experience with Amway, too.  Not all of it is good, but the people there are greatly responsible for my husband returning to his Christian faith, and that led to his eventual reception into the Church.  The weekend functions (seminars, for those who don’t know the lingo) are also greatly responsible for introducing me to a great many resources that helped me to see my worth as a person.  Greater self-esteem and all that. 

    I realize now that there are unhealthy things in the system that builds Amway, but the company, overall, is not some awful thing. 

    Anyway, that’s about all I have to say about it.  I know the Amway thing wasn’t the main thrust of the post.  But since I am still an IBO with Quixtar (Amway online), though not particularly active, it still stings.  Some of the nicest people I’ve met, I met through Amway.  And I can’t say that the end result of our being heavily involved for all those years is a negative net.  Like I said to someone years ago when we were actvie, the difference in Hubby and my attitudes and his return to Christianity after years of atheism and doubt were worth it, even if nothing else ever came of it.

    Besides, their laundry stuff really does rock.  Seriously.  It’s why I keep renewing.  wink

  • Ellyn,

    I’m with you on the “save the world through homeschooling” idea! The mind boggles to think of the total resources my kids aren’t consuming by not going to school.

    On Dom’s main point, I had a twilight-zone conversation not long ago with a well-off (and well-meaning) friend who was genuinely upset that the car we’ll buy next year (too many kids now for our old car) is likely to be a used station wagon rather than a “green” hybrid. They have a hybrid—and two other cars. We have only the one car—dh commutes on his bike, the kids and I walk to a lot of places—for the same reason we won’t have a hybrid: not enough money. I’m not convinced an occasionally used old wagon is more of a threat to the earth than a 3-car family in a larger house, even if one of the cars is “green.”