Another call-to-arms to rescue the planet has appeared.  An “open letter” this week from about 200 self-important signatories warned the world’s inhabitants that we face “a global ecological collapse” worse than the pandemic, and that “massive extinction of life on Earth is no longer in doubt.”

This vacuous letter, published in the French media outlet Le Monde, reads almost as parody. It demands a “profound overhaul of our goals, values and economies.” The signatories include Nobel laureates for medicine, chemistry and physics and—unsurprisingly—entertainers.

This letter is pure hysteria and nonsensical.  Are we are supposed to give it credence because some signatories are Nobel Prize winners?

Those from the entertainment industry include: Cate Blanchett, Monica Bellucci, Jane Fonda, Robert De Niro, and Madonna – all of whom are highly successful in their professional careers and exactly the wrong messengers.

“We believe it is unthinkable to go back to normal,” they wrote. If any of these do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do mega-rich entertainers—who have lived opulent lifestyles for decades—now practice a smidgen of what they are demanding of everyone else, please someone inform me.  How many homes do they have (and how large?), or how many frequent-flyer miles do they accumulate in a single month (pre-pandemic)?  How big are their carbon footprints, and what have they relinquished? Carbon credits, electric cars and solar-powered gadgets showcased by elites count for nothing as climate virtue, as their fellow alarmist, Michael Moore, inconveniently reminded everyone.

There is more to discredit them. Ms. Fonda has never adequately apologized for mocking our POWs in Vietnam or calling American soldiers “war criminals.”  Mr. De Niro has become sadly unhinged in his twilight years as evidenced by his frequent foul-mouthed tirades.  Madonna has her own challenges with the aging process based on her inability to eschew clothing worthy of a college Halloween keg party.

Successful entertainers have vastly more recognizable names than scientists, and thus draw worldwide attention to this letter. But, they simultaneously serve to discredit its message as a specious diatribe.  I do not begrudge entertainers becoming wealthy by performing their craft since millions of people willingly pay to watch and listen. Rather, it is their ongoing flagrant hypocrisy that makes a mockery of their ecological message, even without refuting the dubious science it claims.

Seriously, are Madonna, De Niro and Fonda the best spokespersons to tell us in this letter, “the pursuit of consumerism and the obsession with productivity have led us to deny the value of life itself; that of plants, that of animals, and that of a great number of human beings”?

It is human “productivity” and “pursuit of consumerism” that enabled millions of people worldwide to purchase Madonna CDs, Jane Fonda exercise videos, and movie theater tickets and DVDs to watch De Niro, Blanchett,  Will they now give refunds?

It is long become tiresome to reiterate that such people are impervious to self-awareness.

What of these Malthusian-like scientists? This letter they also signed claims “pollution, climate change, and the destruction of our natural zones has brought the world to a breaking point.” Really? This sensationalism retreads Paul Ehrlich’s, The Population Bomb, circa 1968.

The planet is quite resilient and is getting cleaner and more livable by greater environmental awareness, technological advances and freer economies. A true environmentalist should take credit for laws that reduced pollution, cleaned up waterways, and so much else. Energy development itself is getting cleaner and more efficient, in particular, hydro fracturing for natural gas, which emits less carbon than coal and crude oil.

This is not “an ongoing ecological catastrophe” or “a meta-crisis.” As the letter says, we should “examine what is essential.”

Poverty in the developing world has been reduced dramatically in the last 30 years. As economic growth and prosperity spread globally, health improves, life expectancy increases, and the environment gets cleaner. “Climate change” of maybe one-half degree warmer in the last four decades is no threat and hardly noticeable. Arctic ice remains; polar bears are flourishing.  Humans inhabited a much warmer planet in centuries past.

Yes, the world has plenty of environmental problems remaining, including plastic litter in the oceans, and still millions of people globally without electricity and running water. The drivel in this letter does not address their needs, and solutions from such planet alarmists would make their condition worse.

The open letter in Le Monde has it exactly backwards. It is a screed, bereft of substance or sound ideas, worthy of Hollywood actors wishing—and failing—to be seen as serious people on the environment.


  • CFACT Ed

    CFACT -- We're freedom people.

  • Peter Murphy

    Peter Murphy is Senior Fellow at CFACT. He has researched and advocated for a variety of policy issues, including education reform and fiscal policy, both in the non-profit sector and in government in the administration of former New York Governor George Pataki. He previously wrote and edited The Chalkboard weblog for the NY Charter Schools Association, and has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Hill, New York Post, Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal. Twitter: @PeterMurphy26 Website: