By Jasper P Miller
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is one of the many celebrity faces 'seen' to be fighting the war on climate change. Zuckerberg has been supportive of green energy solutions, in 2015, joining a clean energy movement known as Breakthrough Energy Coalition (BEC), alongside Bill Gates, Richard Branson and several other high-net-worth individuals from around the world. BEC's mission is to change the devastating impact of climate change. Mark stated, "Solving the clean energy problem is an essential part of building a better world." The question remains, is this all just another green-washing charade to pull the wool over the public's eyes? Has climate change curbed this billionaire's appetite for luxury? It all sounds terrific; the notion of a 'Breakthrough Energy Coalition' but does the day to day living of Facebook's CEO reflect his deep concern for the environment? In this article, we will explore the 'real' Zuckerberg and get the bottom of where he stands in regards to the climate crisis.
The Billionaire Lifestyle
Zuckerberg is a member of a revolutionary clean energy initiative which states, "The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is committed to building new technologies that change the way we live, eat, work, travel and make things so we can stop the devastating impacts of climate change." Ironically a report put together by CNN Business states, "Facebook paid its CEO an additional $13 million for his personal security and travel costs in 2018." Yes, Zuckerberg needs to travel, but does he need to use a private jet for approximately $2.6 million a year? Any billionaire with a serious concern for the environment, marching alongside a clean energy coalition, may need to reconsider such a luxury? Is it just me, or is all of this sounding somewhat hypocritical? I hope Zuckerberg has at least stopped using plastic straws while flying around the world in his private jet - that will make a world of difference as humanity continues to battle the intoxicating effects of CO2 emissions.
"We won't be able to make meaningful progress on other challenges—like educating or connecting the world—without secure energy and a stable climate," says Zuckerberg. Mark's words are touching, so in 2019 Facebook decided to join the San Francisco Airport and ban single-use plastics water bottles, choosing instead to fill the new Facebook offices with water-filling stations. With Facebook's director of local policy and community engagement, Juan Salazar supporting the new initiative, states, 'It's really about us thinking about our sustainability goals ... and being a good corporate steward." I'm not entirely sure if stopping the use of single-use plastic water bottles in the new Facebook offices is going to make a world of difference, but it's a start.
It's up to you whether or not you buy into Mark Zuckerberg's climate change efforts. It takes a certain amount of discernment when decoding the messages put out by the media. To some degree we are all guilty of hurting our environment in some way shape or form; however, problems arise when celebrities preach about the issues we face with our climate, all the while spending millions of dollars being transported via private jet. Whether you're a billionaire or a kindergarten teacher, the environment should be a priority for everyone.