In 1985, Robert Redford launched the Sundance Film Festival to promote original films, documentaries, shorts, performances, panel discussions, and more. In the 30 years since its inception, thousands of journalists, actors, film buffs, industry leaders, pop stars, corporations, and audiences have traveled to the luxurious resort of Park City, Utah, by trains, planes and automobiles.
And you might think given Redford’s climate activism that most were flying coach to save the world from invisible, odorless carbon dioxide. But there is world reality and Hollywood reality, and never the twain shall meet.
The Festival has become so garish that this past January everything from private jets to mega yachts were being sold up and down Park City’s Main Street. Not to fear, because Redford teaches these intrepid CO2-emitting travelers about sustainability when attending the mountaintop festival: Lower your thermostat and turn off your lights when you leave the room. Oh, and recycle and buy green. Right.
If those seem like meaningless gestures where the mark of success is how many private jets you own or how many yachts you’re able to buy, not to mention the “$12,000 curved, super hi-def” energy-sucking TV giveaways, you can always buy carbon credits so you can “pollute” on behalf of those who don’t.
Even more distressing is that the man behind this needless, narcissistic, back-patting Festival is the same person invited to speak at a “high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on climate change.” Why the United Nations would have the Sundance Kid speak at a ‘high-level meeting’ should be the first red flag:
The 78-year-old Oscar winner said he came to urge the world’s nations to take action now on climate change as the time for half measures and climate denial is over.
He said that world leaders must unite for a universal climate agreement this December in Paris. The landmark agreement would limit global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (two degrees Celsius) from pre-industrial revolution levels as of 2020.
Does that mean that all attendees going to his festival will be required to fly coach, or even better, drive to Utah using an all-electric vehicle that also doubles as a sewing machine and toaster? Or how about asking those private jet, limousine, and yacht merchants—who have the temerity to take part in our capitalist society—to pull up their tent pegs and take their business elsewhere? What about the ungreen corporate sponsors he proudly shows off on the Festival’s website?
Needless to say, fear sells. So you can almost hear the frightened whispers when Redford tells the UN Panel that “Everywhere we look, moderate weather is going extinct.” When did that happen? Did it coincide with the introduction of Apple’s iPhone in 2007 with its built-in movie camera and the subsequent clones that allowed anyone, everywhere, to record anything at anytime? Or maybe normal weather simply stopped happening when vast numbers of people started living in once-uninhabitable and/or high-risk areas.
Even climate scientists who are eager to jump on the alarmist bandwagon have said that you can’t attribute one particular event taken out of context to global warming. So why would Redford point to global warming as “fueling extreme weather such as the deadly heatwaves in India and Pakistan,” which have been occurring for thousands of years?
Fact: Heatwaves of this magnitude have been happening in both countries since recordkeeping began. Fact: During the last heatwave, much of the Pakistani population was fasting (not eating or drinking) in observance of their religious convictions. Fact: India’s population has exploded over the last 40 years and its infrastructure has not kept pace. Rolling blackouts led to many areas losing power and air conditioning. Fact: India is building more power plants to keep up with the increased demands on its power grid, as more and more people are pulled out of poverty. That last item is on the Pope’s to-do list so everyone should be happy. Right?
In the end, though, these pesky facts won’t get in the way of a melodramatic grissy (green + hissy) fit because, as Redford notes, “Nothing less than the fate of our planet will hang in the balance.” Which I think is a direct quote from the movie Armageddon.