Russell Brand has defended Lewis Hamilton against comments calling him a hypocrite.
In a recent Instagram Story, Hamilton wrote about the climate crisis. He said, “I’m sad right now with the thought about where this world is going,” and asked his friends and followers to give up meat and dairy to go vegan.
He said, “it is the only way to save our planet today.”
However, Hamilton drives racing cars for a living, and Formula One is an industry that, as a whole, is a while away from becoming carbon neutral.
Hamilton has said he plans to be carbon neutral himself by the end of the year, but the nature of his sport prompted many to speak up and label the athlete a hypocrite.
In Brand’s view, whether or not Hamilton is hypocritical is irrelevant — because most of us are. “He’s trying to communicate,” said Brand in a new YouTube video. “Why wouldn’t he communicate?”
“It really just highlights the impotence that we all share,” he continued. “Operating within systems and cultures that, in a sense, yield continually to the invisible power of commerce.” The comedian and podcast host added, “none of us can make a significant difference as individuals.”
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. It’s “great sentiment to do those things,” he adds. Brand himself follows a plant-based diet. He has been a vegetarian since he was 14 and an on-off vegan since 2011.
‘Lewis Hamilton’s Carbon Neutral Vegan Wonderland’
In Brand’s view, real change will only happen “at the level of global regulation.” Countries will have to pass laws against using single-use plastic or fuels that harm the planet.
He believes it’s the current system that makes people unable to see Hamilton’s point of view.
“We can all see armageddon, we can all see the apocalypse, but we can’t see Lewis Hamilton’s carbon-neutral, vegan, wonderland. Because it’s very difficult to envisage that when our current systems seem so immobile,” he said.
He added, “Lewis Hamilton is doing his best. He’s alright. I met him before a couple of times and he’s a nice bloke.”
In his view, accusations of hypocrisy are a way of trying to exclude a person from a conversation. He said, “if the price of entry to the public debate is personal perfection, then we’re [expletive].”
The price should be a “shared aspiration to improve the world,” he added. “To create a better collective, to create ideals for us to move towards … being forgiving towards one another when we inevitably slip.”
“Surely that’s what we should be doing instead of condemning individuals,” he continued.