Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton has been criticised for saying the only way to save the planet is by going vegan, while continuing to make a career out of a ‘gas-guzzling sport’.
The 34-year-old, who is on the verge of winning a sixth Formula One world title, took to Instagram to share his concerns about the planet.
Of course, it’s always good to raise awareness and share advice about how to help the environment but the driver’s comments had the unfortunate side-effect of making him look rather hypocritical.
In a lengthy plea to his followers, Hamilton wrote in part:
Extinction of our race becoming more and more likely as we over use our resources. The world is a messed up place. World leaders [are] either uneducated or don’t care about the environment at all.
I urge you to do some research, find the compassion I know you have within you to recognise what you are contributing to in terms of what you eat which keeps the meat and dairy industry flourishing and therefore deforestation, animal cruelty, our seas and climate decaying on a daily basis.
Go vegan, it is the only way to truly save our planet today. It can be done so quickly, all you have to do is put your mind to it.
Honestly I feel like giving up on everything. Shut down completely. Why bother when the world is such a mess and people don’t seem to care. I’m going to take a moment away to gather my thoughts. Thank you to those of you who do give a damn about the world.
Now, Hamilton’s statements about going vegan are actually valid. Earlier this year the UN warned humans must move towards veganism to stop climate change, and it can be done if you put your mind to it. I won’t dispute him on that and commend him for encouraging others to adopt a more environmentally friendly diet.
His heart is undoubtedly in the right place, but Hamilton’s passionate comments about giving up because ‘the world is such a mess’ are difficult to take seriously when he continues to take part in an environmentally un-friendly sport.
As an F1 driver, Hamilton can use up to 110kg of fuel in one race, according to the F1 rules and regulations, an amount which allows competitors to not ‘have to worry so much about conserving fuel’.
Twitter users were quick to point out Hamilton’s flawed logic, with one writing:
Its [sic] hard to be taken serious [sic] about the climate when your job is to race aimlessly around in circles in a gas guzzling land rocket. With an entourage replacing the plastic and rubber bits when you crash. And all flying around the world weekly.
If Lewis Hamilton really did care about climate change, he would've left Formula 1 and joined Formula E years ago. https://t.co/brtbXsmBwL
— MickeyMoTiOnZ (@MickeyMoTiOnZ) October 16, 2019
Its hard to be taken serious about the climate when your job is to race aimlessly around in circles in a gas guzzling land rocket. With an entourage replacing the plastic and rubber bits when you crash. And all flying around the world weekly.
— Dave❌ (@ProudPatriotUK) October 16, 2019
The 34-year-old driver reportedly switched to a plant-based diet in 2017 before helping to launch a vegan burger restaurant in London this September. He is also said to have sold his red private jet earlier this year.
According to the United Nations, vehicle emissions are partly responsible for fuelling climate change as the transport sector is responsible for 27 per cent of energy-related CO2 emissions globally.
Today we announce the launch of Neat Burger, a plant-based restaurant chain with a commitment to ethical practices and being kinder to our world. I’m so excited to be part of this company, which aims to revolutionize the way we view meat-free food. @NeatBurger_ 🌱🍔 pic.twitter.com/Ngj27avBfe
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) August 29, 2019
On Instagram, Hamilton went on to say he was ‘figuring out daily what [he] can do to play a better part’ and ‘striving to do better’, so it may be that he eventually does come to admit his career isn’t really one which will benefit the future of the planet.
Because obviously we need a rational take on here.
Lewis Hamilton using his platform, a gigantic one at that, to start conversation about climate change while attempting to better himself wherever he can isn't a bad thing, even if his focus isn't bullet-sharp.
— Conrad 🎃'Keefe (@okeefe_92) October 15, 2019
While going vegan is certainly recommended, climate change is the result of a combination of factors and change is required across the board in order to help the environment.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.