ASPEN, Colo. – The practices of many evangelists are very different from what they preach, and the same can be said for some environmentalists. Take climate crusader Al Gore, his 10,000-square-foot home, and galloping electrical consumption.
Gore was in Aspen this summer to talk about climate change, and so was Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist famous for his fearless war reporting, three Pulitzer Prizes, and his most recent book, “The Earth Is Flat.”
Friedman has also written frequently about climate change and energy in recent years, and has been sharply critical of the Bush administration.
But The Aspen Times columnist Paul Andersen notes that Friedman’s walk is very different from the green talk. For his engagement in Aspen, for example, he arrived by private jet. Also, Friedman lives in an 11,400-square-foot home located along a golf course near Washington D.C.
“For Thomas Friedman to pontificate on going green is like an overweight physician telling his equally obese patients to go on a diet,” says Andersen.
“There are plenty of affluent people who share Friedman’s and Gore’s desire for guilt-free conspicuous consumption,” he says. “They buy carbon offsets the way sinners bought indulgences during the Middle Ages.”
In a 2006 article, Washingtonian Magazine said that Friedman’s annual income easily surpasses $1 million a year. In addition, he married into one of America’s richest families, the Bucksbaums, who were pioneers in the development of shopping malls. The family has a home in Aspen.
Is Hayduke at work?
WINTER PARK, Colo. – A couple of decades ago, the view between Winter Park and Fraser was one of the most appealing in Colorado. In summer, the meadow was emerald green, with conifers in the middle ground and the white-fingered cone of Byers Peak in the background.
But this land along Highway 40 is also of prime commercial value, and the two towns have taken turns allowing development. Of late, four new billboards have been erected along the highway advertising a real-estate project called “Grand Park.” The Winter Park Manifest reports a good many phone calls, letters and raspy comments; meanwhile, police are trying to track down the person or persons who applied a chainsaw to one of the billboards.
Such vandalism came to be called “monkeywrenching” after a 1975 novel by Edward Abbey called The Monkey Wrench Gang. Among the characters was a Vietnam War vet called George Washington Hayduke, which caused some wags to produce bumper stickers that say, “Hayduke Lives.” That is also became the title for another book by Abbey.