It is time to boycott celebrities. The very existence of these unimaginably wealthy, privileged and overhyped individuals is accelerating global warming because of the exorbitant amount of energy and fuel they continuously use. Celebrity culture is enjoyable in many ways, especially in the age of social and visual media. It is also toxic in many ways, causing harm to body image and self-worth, disconnection from reality, and distraction from real, socio-political issues in the world. Moreover, celebrities’ lifestyles are highly unsustainable, overly indulgent, and exploitative. With their multiple million dollar mansions, private jets and yachts, and extravagant parties, baby showers and weddings, there is a constant abuse of human labor, electricity and natural resources to provide for them. Our love for their music, movies, brands, and overall personalities obfuscates the real impact they have on the environment and increasing inequality. 

For instance, Taylor Swift and her private jets have produced over 8,250 tons of carbon dioxide in 2023, almost 1,200 times the amount of an average person's total annual emissions, according to the Economic Times. Due to her budding relationship with Travis Kelce, tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, her travel has produced 138 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the past three months alone. Recently, Swift’s lawyers sent cease and desist letters to college student Jack Sweeney for tracking and posting her jets’ carbon emissions in real time, despite this information being public knowledge. Other celebrities who Sweeney is facing backlash from include Elon Musk, who is ironically upset that his data is being publicly released. The student created Instagram accounts in 2023 to track the carbon footprint of popular names like Floyd Mayweather, Jay-Z, Kim Kardashian, Bill Gates, and Donald Trump. However, the accounts were shut down, and now Taylor Swift is threatening to sue Sweeney for exposing her. 

It is important to acknowledge, however, that climate change is a result of the capitalist economic systems that govern our society. Large corporations such as Exxon, Shell and Chevron destroy the environment for profit, and coin terms like “carbon footprint” to blame us for their greed. An article in The Guardian states, “The revolution won’t happen by people staying home and being good. But the oil companies would like you to think that’s how it works.” The passing off of responsibility to individuals, whose “carbon footprint” is negligible compared to that of Big Oil, is one of the many ways that corporations continue to shift focus from their egregious exploitation of people and nature. Another is greenwashing, when the marketing of a product or firm falsely tries to convince us of its eco-friendliness. This is a common tactic that advertisement and branding employs, utilizing vague phrases like “ethically sourced,” “conscious,” and “100% recyclable” (when it probably isn’t, and won’t get recycled anyway). 

Capitalism has Western imperialist origins, and was founded on the dehumanization of people that also justified the commodification of nature. Viewing the environment and its fruits as a “resource” was a colonial mindset that legitimized the enslavement and destruction of entire nations in the past. Neocolonialism allows such exploitation to continue, like the horrific living conditions of people forced to mine cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or Israel’s genocide in Occupied Palestine in order to extract oil from its land. Celebrities are a part of these hierarchical systems, since their large platforms and following give them immense power and influence over many. A celebrity fanbase is no joke, as K-Pop band BTS’s “Army”, or Taylor’s “Swifties”, are representative of the die-hard idealization of popular figures. With the voices they have been given, celebrities have no excuse to stay silent and complicit during massacres of entire populations, lands and ecosystems. Granted, the few celebrities who do speak out face repercussions, but that is because they value humanity and the truth over their own personal fame and profit. 

Does it seem fair that Kylie Jenner has multiple million dollar mansions for herself and her two children when mothers in Palestine don’t have milk to feed their babies? No. But she’s okay with it. Does it seem fair that Taylor Swift is releasing and publicizing a new album when Palestinian artists and creators are mourning the loss of their craft, their culture and their voices? Or that she flies across the world multiple times a day in a private jet when there is an increasing number of deaths due to pollution? No. But she seems to have nothing to say about that. It is time we start holding celebrities accountable for their actions and imploring them to use their influence to make a change. Their fame, wealth and privilege is only as important as we make it, and it can never be more important than people's lives, and the life of our earth. It sounds like a novel idea, but having one house is perfectly fine, and football can be watched on TV. Crazy, but… think about it.