Yelling at Kylie Jenner won’t solve climate change

People also chased her on social media.

“Kylie Jenner is truly one of the worst celebs out there 😭 not her flexing her absolute disregard for the planet,” one person wrote on Twitter.

“Kylie Jenner takes 12 minutes by plane. idgaf how pretty you are, it’s ugly and so privileged 😂,” another one wrote.

This information sparked a multi-day news cycle — BuzzFeed News also covered it — that shows no signs of abating. But the pile-on followed a familiar pattern. As US news has grown increasingly dire, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to upend our lives, January 6 ratings and the fall of Roe vs. Wade, the general populace found plenty of public figures to rage against. People have criticized celebrities for being out of touch and flouting COVID restrictions, while influencers and creators are being stalked online for not sharing their opinions on issues like gun control, or not sharing them fast enough . People are leaving hateful comments on celebrities’ social media accounts as if they expect them to fix all of society’s problems.

It makes sense that people are angry. Jenner and her wealthy celebrity pals are showing off their wealth as the country could be hurtling towards a recession, and inflation means people are struggling to afford basic necessities. But the intensity and vitriol of the stacking that has descended on Jenner this week says more about how people feel in our time than about the star herself (after all, Jenner is far from the only rich person to fly away).

As the bad news keeps rolling in, I know I’ve started to feel completely helpless. When it comes to climate change, the future often seems beyond our control. Many people voted for the Democrats, believing the party’s promises to prioritize environmental issues. But last week, Senator Joe Manchin effectively condemned his party’s climate and energy bill, designed to tackle some of the effects of global warming, when he said he would not vote not for. The New York Times said Democrats had “nothing to show for” their months of trying to stem the crisis. It capped off a month of bad climate news; just a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court blocked the EPA’s ability to deal effectively with the crisis by imposing restrictions on its ability to control emissions from power plants, and in the past few days there has been had hundreds of headlines about the record heat wave in the UK.

For the average person who wants to make a difference, this kind of news can be devastating. News outlets even write about coping with “climate change anxiety,” with CNBC reporting, “If you feel hopeless every time you think or read about climate change, don’t worry. : there is a scientific explanation.” According to environmental psychologist Thomas Doherty, this anxiety can be managed by reducing your information intake and practicing stress reduction, and accepting that there isn’t much any individual can do to solve the problem on their own.