By Reiko Smith
Recent media reports have enlightened the public on the carbon footprints of famous celebrities. Kim Kardashian, Travis Scott and Oprah Winfrey are all examples of celebrities with private jets. Taylor Swift is an outspoken eco-activist and private jet owner who produces the most carbon emissions out of any celebrity. According to a news article from Yard, a digital marketing agency, those who own private jets have produced at least 3,300 tons of carbon emissions this year while the average person only produces 7 tons.
The question is, are celebrities entitled to spend their money on private jets, or are they being selfish by damaging the environment? Also, can celebrities be environmental advocates while at the same time producing thousands of carbon emissions; they have a platform to make change, so shouldn’t they be careful about what they’re representing?
Interviews with Harbord students offered some insight.
When asked if they think celebrities should have private jets considering the impact on the climate, there seemed to be two different opinions on the topic. Some feel as though celebrities have a right to purchase what they want. “It's their responsibility, so they can do whatever they want with their money,” said Madison Cheung, a grade 9 student. Others feel it's bad for the environment and they celebrities shouldn't have them. “I think it’s really unnecessary for them to use private jets,” said Mac Chalmers, a grade 12 student.
When Harbord students were asked if they would purchase a private jet given they were a celebrity capable of buying one, most were conflicted. “Honestly I would,” said Anna Matkivska, a grade 9 student, even if before she felt as if it were negatively impacting the environment.
However, she did bring up an alternative to private jets, which is flying first class. According to the European Federation for Transport and the Environment, on a 500-kilometer trip, a private jet flight emits 4 to 14 times more carbon emissions than a flight by a commercial airliner.
One question that Harbord students were very clear about, was that it didn't make sense for celebrities to support the environment while at the same time owning private jets. “I do think it’s a little hypocritical for eco-activists to be using private jets,” said Madison Cheung.
In conclusion, Harbord students disagree about whether celebrities should or shouldn't have private jets but they are at least united on one thing when it comes to the environment - they don’t like hypocrites!