The beginning of January brought much controversy to the new decade when online users began to seriously criticize the long term consequences of the luxurious lifestyles experienced by the top one percent. With devastating fires engulfing Australia, media outlets noted the halfhearted pity from A-list celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Jeff Bezos, who have seemingly perfected the art of donating just enough to meet a tax write-off and worldly validation.
Debate began on January 6 when Kylie Jenner’s Instagram page featured insensitive post after the next. The charade began with a photo of herself captioned “find ur [sic] fire”, and ended with an Instagram story duo of a weightless dedication to affected Australian wildlife followed by a braggy photo of her $1500 Louis Vuitton slippers made exclusively out of mink hair.
Immediately criticism began rolling in, calling Jenner out for her inappropriate caption and hypocrisy. “Bro pls [sic] just donate $300 billion to save the earth,” commented one Twitter user. “It’s literally just Stormi’s allowance for a month, she won’t mind.”
Another user Tweeted, “kylie [sic] Jenner posting on insta [sic] about how many animals have died in the bush fires and then immediately afterwards posting pics of her MINK FUR LV slides… that billion dollars didn’t buy taste clearly.”
Jenner ended up donating a million dollars to Australian relief efforts the following day and switched her controversial Instagram caption to “night out” instead, but her careless posting to social media exposed a larger truth about the celebrities we glorify and idolize: nothing, not even evident, impending climate change, is enough to make them give up their glamorous lifestyles.
Consider the number of celebrities that fly on private jets every day, releasing mass amounts of carbon emissions for their own personal endeavors. Consider the number of celebrities that own multiple cars, or mansions worth millions that have bathrooms numbered in the double digits.
There is a reason that the rich get richer, and it’s because one taste of ‘the good life’ is enough to ensure one won’t ever want to go back.
This reality is why innovations such as the Wealth Tax, among others, are so undeniably important now, merely 100 seconds to midnight on the Doomsday Clock. It has become clear that the wealthiest people will not and do not donate out of the kindness of their hearts. This lack of regard is evident in the still prevalent issues of global warming, homelessness, and other raging problems here in the United States and elsewhere.
Jeff Bezos donated an estimated five minutes worth of his time to Australian relief efforts, while Kylie Jenner donated less than she makes off one Instagram post. While technically both contributed close to two million dollars in relief funds, their donations remain stingy in the face of their immense wealth.
Billionaires should be obligated to disperse portions of their wealth in the face of world crises, especially considering that it is because of their massive carbon emissions that so many crises are arising. With climate change on the forefront, the world needs billionaires to make a tough choice: luxury or sustainability?
And if they can’t choose, we will have to make the decision for them.