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Wealthy Business Man

How Rich People Can Single-Handedly Save The Planet

When we look at the wealthiest individuals in the world, we can’t help but feel jealous of them and their excess of money and assets. However, with great wealth, comes great responsibility, and an even greater carbon footprint.

It’s really quite simple, the more stuff you own and the more you travel, the larger your carbon footprint will be. For example, Prince Harry and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle recently made headlines for their controversial use of private jets due to the massive amounts of fossil fuel they burn. However, as individuals in political power, and with a newborn baby, their private travel needs are more safety based, but it’s important that we use the same energy we put onto them onto every other celebrity that uses their excess for individual gain.

According to CNN, “the average carbon footprint of someone in the world’s richest 1% could be 175 times that of someone in the poorest 10%. Studies also show that the poor suffer the most from climate change.”

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It’s no surprise that something beneficial for the 1% is completely detrimental for the lowest 10%, however, on the opposite end, it means that people in fiscal power have the greatest ability to make an environmental impact that could actually change the course of climate change for the better.

The spending habits of rich celebrities globally impacts everyone, so it’s important that those with excess of wealth are self aware of the greater impact their spending has on the planet. Ilona Otto and her colleagues at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research wrote an investigative article on this very issue.

Otto and her colleagues estimated “that the typical ‘super-rich’ household of two people (having net assets of more than $1 million, excluding their main home) has a carbon footprint of 129 tons of CO2 a year. That’s around 65 tons of CO2 a year per person, which is over 10 times the global average. Clearly, the rich can change a lot, for instance, putting solar panels on the roofs of their houses. They can also afford electric cars and the best would be if they avoided flying.”

The wealthy have access to things that will greatly benefit the environment and reduce their massive carbon footprint. If one rich individual has the global impact of 10 average individuals, they themselves can reduce their carbon footprint ten times the amount an average person could, and they could afford it.

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The rich not only have the choice of choosing more climate friendly assets, but also have the ability to invest in companies, businesses, charities, etc. that work to help reverse the damages inflicted by climate change.

As of the past year, businesses have created something called divestment, which is the process in which wealthy investors sell their shares of businesses that are known for harming the environment through their excessive use of fossil fuels.

“Over 1,100 organizations and 59,000 individuals, with combined assets totaling $8.8 trillion, have pledged to divest from fossil fuels through the online movement DivestInvest.”

In the same way that wealthy people have fiscal power that allows them to invest in things that either contribute to climate change, or do the exact opposite, they have political power as well. Rich individuals have the ability to fund certain political parties, campaigns, and lawmakers. By funding specific political groups/individuals/policies that positively impact the environment and have specific plans on how to combat climate change, the rich can start a ripple effect.

Many wealthy individuals are generally famous, meaning the spotlight is on them constantly. The social impact that celebrities have on the general public is not something to be taken lightly. They can use their wealth and power to actually make significant change in terms of investments, but can also inspire lower class individuals who look up to them to aspire to live green lives the best way that they can. Even if someone in the poorest 10% can’t afford any sort of major life change that would benefit their carbon footprint, if they’re seeing a celebrity they admire supporting a specific politician or policy, they too may feel inclined to not only support it themselves, but spread the word as well! It’s not all about the money when it comes to effectively changing climate change on a local level. However, for those with an excess amount of wealth it is 100% about their money, as it should be.