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Green-talking columnist attacked as hypocritical

Brief by Allen Best

Environment – September 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

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 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.