Han Solo, Cheeseburgers, and Hypocrisy

Source: ABC News


In yet another irony among many that surround the environmental movement, Hollywood A-Lister, pilot, owner of a personal fleet of carbon chugging aircraft, and vocal climate change activist Harrison Ford has walked away from what could have been a fatal plane crash.

Ford had just taken off in his WWII vintage Ryan PT-22 Recruit when he experienced an engine failure. As he attempted to return to Santa Monica Regional Airport, his plane gave out and crashed on the nearby Penmar Golf Course.

Ford’s most recent airborne brush with death thankfully won’t result in enslavement and banishment to the salt mines, as happened to his alter ego Han Solo when he crash landed the Millennium Falcon on the planet Kessel. Instead, he is resting comfortably in the hospital where we hope he will make a speedy recovery and return to the pilot’s seat soon.

An experienced pilot for nearly two decades, Ford owns multiple personal aircraft. With all this flying, Ford is no stranger to airborne drama. In fact, this is the third serious incident of his piloting career. In 1999 he crashed his helicopter during a training flight in Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles. In 2000 gusty winds pushed his six-seater plane off the runway as he tried to land in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Environmental Hypocrisy

Over the years, Ford has donated his flying skills to myriad humanitarian causes such as Operation Smile, the Special Olympics, and post-earthquake recovery operations in Haiti. He served as chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program and has used his helicopter to help Search and Rescue crews locate missing hikers.

Indeed, it could be argued that Ford’s piloting skills provided an invaluable contribution to the success of all these missions.

Flying enthusiasts are routinely the target of scorn by climate change activists, who make sport out of pillorying their passion due to the carbon footprint they make. Ford is no exception.

Despite his undisputable environmental bona fides, in 2010 Carbon Footprint Ltd branded Ford a traitor to the environmental cause for making “unnecessary” trips, including jaunting up the California coast to buy a cheeseburger.

But people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. While this may sound trite, the adage can be applied directly to the granddaddy of all environmental NGOs: Greenpeace.

Last summer, to its supreme humiliation, Greenpeace was outed as being a carbon chugger when its International Program Director Pascal Husting admitted he was regularly taking the plane from his home Luxembourg to work in Amsterdam. Husting was shamed into promising to take the more eco-friendly train.

“No Permanent Friends”

The backstabbing of Harrison Ford is indicative of the environmental movement’s fair weathered friend policy. This is particularly true of Greenpeace, whose Political Director Daniel Mittler proudly acknowledged the group’s policy of “no permanent friends.”

Time and again, corporations who make deals with Greenpeace and its cousins find themselves back in the crosshairs after the slightest misstep.

This was most recently proven true by the misfortunes of Asia Pulp and Paper, which this week was disowned by Greenpeace, WWF, and others after a rogue security guard apparently overreacted to an attempt at trespass. The tragic incident resulted in the death of an Indonesian farmer.

APP’s commitment to deforestation and alliance with Greenpeace had served as a model of corporate/NGO cooperation. However, when the going got just a bit rough for APP Greenpeace turned its back and left its erstwhile partner holding the proverbial bag.

Hollywood is full of celebrities who have attached themselves to the “green” movement. And the “green” movement is glad to have them. It’s great publicity for both parties.

But as Harrison Ford and APP found out, any alliance with the “greens” is tenuous.   One false step and the “greens” will stab you in the back.

Not forever, though. After a public display of contrition, penance, and perhaps more concessions, the “greens” will take you back into their fold. On their terms.

And so the circle continues. Harrison Ford, despite the cheeseburger debacle, is at this moment an environmental darling. And as such, his hospital room is surely filled with flowers from his environmental cronies.

Ford will stay on the environmental A-List – as long as he doesn’t make another misstep.

By: Joy Baird

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