August in London. Did you ever hear of such a thing? Mummy and Daddy are headed to our country house soon but it’s been the three of us while I’m here at my childhood home in St John’s Wood. Back in California I have my own house. And my Tesla, and my Tesla grid, but I haven’t been terribly motivated to go back. And Britain’s fascination with American crime isn’t helping. Flash mobs looting a 7-11? Risking life and limb for a packet of cheese curls? Staggering really, so here I remain, working, and endeavouring to save our planet.
In an effort not to treat this house like a hotel, I always try to leave a note as to where I’m going but as we’re flying private I couldn’t leave the flight number, and ‘Off to Kyiv’ didn’t seem like the note one scrawls on the way out the door. So I simply wrote ‘Off with friends, will ring you from STN’. Stanstead, of course, being one of the three airports in London that can handle VIP jets larger than the 767.
Fortunately, (and unfortunately) Stanstead is only thirty miles from London so I couldn’t put off the call for too long, and I did need Daddy’s help. So ring him I did, and luckily he answered. ‘Good morning Jennifer’ he said, ‘Off to Amsterdam to block a mega soy ship from departing?’
UGH! He was awake, alright. ‘No Daddy, that happened in May! And as you very well know I have nothing to do with Greenpeace…’ I huffed.
‘Of course’. He said, ‘Hard to keep the good guys straight from the bad boys’.
‘Right’. I said, moving on. ‘I’m headed to Kyiv with Leo DiCaprio and…’
‘The chap who stiffed you at your last fundraiser?’ he interrupted.
‘Yes. I mean no. He didn’t exactly stiff me, he just couldn’t turn up’, I insisted. ‘ANYWAY, I’m headed over with Leo and Will Smith and…’
‘The boxer?’ he responded.
‘DADDY!’ I said, raising my voice to stop him, ‘I was just wondering if you could explain black money to me—and if it looks bad’.
‘Well I think you mean dark money and it apparently looks bad to the GAO but how did you feel about it when you attended that environmental bash in St Tropez? I thought you told me it netted over £40 million’.
‘But that wasn’t dark money…’ I insisted.
‘No, arguably that was green money but hey…£40 million here, £40M million…pretty soon you’re talking about real money. Listen sweetheart, if you’re asking me if funneling money to a law firm and spearheading climate-nuisance lawsuits is a bad thing, then yes. I would say it is a very bad thing. And if you asked me if I thought flying around in private jets is also its own climate nuisance, I would also say yes. But how do you feel about partying with the bad guy in what they are advertising as war?
‘I thought Putin was the bad guy’, I insisted.
Everybody's doin' it, doin' it, doin' it...
‘They’re both bad guys, Jennifer, no matter what the Bonos and the Sean Penns and the Angelina Jolies of this world have to say about it—it’s a very bad business. And the environmental aspect of it should be the least of anyone’s concern’.
‘Even the nuc…’ I interrupted.
‘Yes, even the nuclear plant!’ He said. ‘This is the equivalent of complaining about the destruction of historical buildings in Syria when they are putting Christian children’s heads on pikes. But I guess the world needs their Turkish apricots so—go. Do your work'.
I knew he was right. And he had a right to be upset. The whole green-push had affected his ability to safely and efficiently transport oil on his pipeline. And whenever I had a chance I did tell my clients that the absolute best environmental option for transporting oil is by pipeline. Trucks, and ships, and the Exxon Valdez, being obviously the worst.
Our call had taken the lovely edge off of a perfect flat white but I was determined to rally and to save this planet in some small way—today and every day. What I did know was I had to soldier on, and that world governments had failed citizens by not acting aggressively enough to curb global warming. I would use my seat at the table to do good.
Bro' time at the front.
When I got on the plane I was told Leo was already asleep, so I plopped down on a sofa near the front and asked for some water to take my vitamins. My phone rang. It was my neighbor from California whom I hadn’t spoken to since her pool skimmer made a loud sucking noise about three years ago.
‘Hello?’ I said.
She responded with a voice that was half porn-star, half I-might-just-be-fourteen, ’Jennifer? It’s your neighbor—Holly’.
‘Right. Hi Holly. What’s up? I’m on a plane--about to take off’.
‘Oh wow’, she said. ‘Where are you going?’
Wow?? Being on an airplane deserves a wow? ‘I’m headed to Minorca’, I lied. I wasn’t explaining the whole Kyiv/environment/war thing to her. DiCaprio and Will Smith wouldn’t faze an Angeleno, but Kyiv, might.
‘Oh wow’. She said again. Apparently, it deserved a wow.
‘So… what’s up?’ I said, ‘I’m actually on a plane’.
‘Yeah, well, this is way out of left field but we are all going down to Laguna because of the fires’.
‘There are fires? Are we being evacuated?’ I said, remembering the Thomas Fire when I chased a fleeing horse for nearly an hour before I got him off the freeway.
‘No, the fires are in Castaic. We are going because of the smoke. It’s not a lot- a lot—but the insurance will pay if the smoke is bothering us. And so we are all going down to the Monarch in Laguna’.
‘Is the smoke really that… oh, the Monarch with the spa… got it’. And they wonder why our insurance rates are so high. ‘So…Holly, as I said, I’m on a plane… wow, right? I know. So thank you for thinking of me but obviously the smoke isn’t bothering me’.
‘I get that, but isn’t this sort of what you do? Pollution and stuff?’
‘Not so much’.
‘Okay, but if your insurance asks can you say it bothered you too?’
‘I don’t think so… I’m in Spain!’ I said, drawing a look from the air hostess. ‘What I can do is say I’m not there and it has the added benefit of being true.’
The Grammys are weapons, too.
Luckily I saw a text come in and used it as an excuse to ring off. It was my father: ‘Be safe in Kyiv. See if you can get me one of those designer tee shirts Mr Z wears’.
Ha! Not a chance he’d wear one but it made me laugh. ‘Roger that. See you soon’ I texted back.
‘Are you coming back to London?’ he texted.
‘OMG yes! At the moment California is just a little too toxic’, I said, hanging up and gladly accepting something a little stronger than water from the flight attendant.