Hands up anyone who isn't a hypocrite. Come on, own up. Who out there actually lives by every one of the principles they profess to uphold? And why has it suddenly gone so quiet? When it comes to ourselves, we are quick to realise that life is full of grey areas and being pure and virtuous is never as easy - nor even as desirable - as it might appear. That does not stop us sitting in judgment of others, however, particularly those whose message we are unwilling to hear, and who, deep down, we would dearly love to see exposed as two-faced and, well, hypocritical.
In other words accountability is important, but if we're going to wait for the return of Christ himself to flawlessly lead every cause we face, it's going to be a long, sorry road ahead. More the to the point....
The charge of hypocrisy against environmentalists may also be illegitimate as well as irrelevant. In my view, Gore was right to rack up thousands of air miles in his campaign to raise awareness of climate change: the political shift he has helped to engineer, particularly in America, has been truly profound, and is one of the few real causes for optimism on climate change today. If he had stayed at home in Tennessee with the lights and heating off, wearing organic woolly jumpers and feeling generally good about himself, we would have a lot further to travel in terms of awareness-raising than we do now. Being a purist may be comforting, but it is unlikely to change the world.
But even that gives too much credit to the the allegations Gore faced. To date, the most succinct response printed is from a discussion thread at MNSpeak:
I mean, the other side of this is that it's a classic straw man argument, pretending the Al Gore is arguing for one thing, when, in fact, he is arguing for another, and then calling him a hypocrite for not living up to the argument he is not making. Gore has always said that our objective should be to individually reduce our carbon fingerprint to zero, which he has done. He's never said that rich people who own ranches shouldn't use more power than poor people who don't. Maybe you think they shouldn't, and it's a fair criticism, but it doesn't make him a hypocrite.
Al Gore's motivation is to push leaders and political will towards a global warming solution. The media that picked up on the Tennessee Center for Policy Research press release is motivated to derail that issue and discredit those who would solve it. For anyone genuinely concerned about the fate of the planet, the choice as to who to listen to is a simple one.
And with that, this so called issue can be put to bed.