“You can’t change world by wearing sandals”


“You can’t change world by wearing sandals”

True enough.

The quote is from Michael O’Leary, Chief Executive Officer of the Irish airline Ryanair.

He has quite a lot to say about climate change, whether it is real and what we should and shouldn’t do about it.  Is he representative of superrich business executives, AKA white men in suits?  Just a crackpot irishman?

Most the quotes are from a Daily Telegraph interview by Alice Thomson.  Thanks to George Marshall at Climate Denial who writes great essays about why we just don’t believe.

“I listen to all this drivel about turning down the central heating, going back to candles, returning to the dark ages. You do that if you want to. But none of it will make any difference. It just panders to your middle-class, middle-aged angst and guilt.”

I don’t think the advice of a bunch of UN scientists should be taken as gospel truth. Human breathing is one of the biggest problems as far as I can see, so why don’t the environmentalists just shoot all the humans.”

“These hairy environmentalists go to the health store to buy their organic strawberries flown in from South Africa. Why aren’t they whacking a huge tax on bananas and grapes from half way round the world?  Why don’t they eat British turnips all winter if they want to save air flights. Because they can’t live without their scallops from Chile.”

I do share Michael’s loathing of lefty hypocrisy.  And Environ Hero Bill McKibbon (and many others) make the same point, arguing that we all need to start consuming locally grown foods.

“They [CND “nutters” in the 1970s] banged on about being against nuclear war, well we all were. But the point is you can’t change the world by putting on a pair of dungarees or sandals. You need to look at the real culprits and begin negotiations with them.”

“We will go from 40 to 80 million passengers in the next few years. We will take them off British Airways and the other old carriers who are flying gas-guzzling, ancient aircraft and pack them into fuel-efficient planes. So Ryanair will be saving the environment — not that we care much.”

Fine with me.  Just do the right thing, even if it is for the wrong reasons.   But seriously, reducing fossil fuel use usually makes sense for business.  Right?

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