Climate change stresses Kim Kardashian out—and she wants everyone to know that no one, even megastars who take 10-minute trips on private jets, can be “100% perfect” when it comes to climate activism.
In a cover interview with Interview Magazine that hit newsstands Wednesday, the megastar talks about her plant-based diet, her activism on behalf of the unjustly convicted, and Pete Davidson; she also gets asked about climate change. Let’s take a look at what Kim thinks about the rapid heat death of our planet.
INTERVIEW: Global warming. It is actually insane. There are fires in the south of France, the tarmac is melting in England. Do you feel like you do anything to combat and prevent that? I don’t think I do that much, to be honest, and I’m curious what your thoughts are?
KARDASHIAN: I believe in climate change, and I believe that anything can help. But I also believe in being realistic and I think sometimes there’s so much to worry about on this planet, and it can be really scary to live your life with anxiety. I have super climate change-involved friends, and I love learning from them. I do what I can, but you have to pick and choose what really works for you in your life.
KARDASHIAN: No one’s going to be 100 percent perfect.
Whew! Let’s unpack that.
On the surface, Kim’s words are very true. No one is going to be 100% perfect about climate change. Like the man in the Mister Gotcha comic, those of us who are concerned about climate change are trapped in a system created and perpetuated by capitalism, where our individual choices mean next to nothing compared to the big fixes we need. It is pointless to live a life dominated by climate anxiety; we’re all faced with the monumental task of figuring out how to balance our trepidation about impending disasters and our drive for change with the realities that we must continue to exist in.
But hearing one of the most famous women in the world, who has a net worth of $1.8 billion, complain that worrying about climate change simply does not “work” in her life is pretty infuriating. As I wrote last month when Taylor Swift was getting dragged for her private jet use, there’s a fine line between acknowledging that climate change is a systemic problem that requires systemic solutions and excusing incredibly wasteful individual behaviors. The habits of ultra-rich people like Kim Kardashian aren’t normal and aren’t compatible with a climate-safe future with equality and justice for everyone. We don’t need to apply a forgiving, mental-health-adjacent framework to someone who is able to hire private firefighters when wildfires threaten her neighborhood.
And the Kardashians have plenty of climate crimes to be feeling guilty about. Kim and sister Kylie have both shown off new private jets over the past few months. In July, Kim’s jet took a 10-minute trip between two suburbs of Los Angeles—a trip that emitted a full ton of CO2. According to the US EPA emissions calculator, that’s the equivalent of driving a passenger car for more than 2,250 miles, nearly the same distance as a cross-country trip from South Carolina to California.
Kim and the rest of her family were recently dinged for excessive water use during a drought by Los Angeles water regulators: in June, Kim’s house used 232,000 gallons more than its limit, while her sister Kourtney’s property went over by 101,000 gallons. Kim’s excess water use works out to more than 7,700 gallons per day; the normal American household uses around 300 gallons of water per day. Given California’s extreme, ongoing, climate change-fueled drought, there are definitely better uses for all that water than whatever Kim is choosing to spray it on.
All these wasteful behaviors may seem like normal life to the ultra-rich, but they’re gobbling up an outsize amount of the world’s resources. The systemic changes we need will never work if individual behaviors don’t also change, and easy fixes like dialing back the excessive waste of the super wealthy are some of the lowest-hanging fruit we can find.
Kim, if you’re reading this: You should be more anxious.