Keanu Reeves: The Environmental Hero We Need?

Michael Kern
4 min readMar 5, 2020

Generally speaking, being a celebrity means having an outsized carbon footprint. That means that by default, just getting rid of celebrities would help us fight against climate change. That goes for pretty much every major celebrity except … Keanu Reeves, the outlier who doesn’t even have an email account and has no clue what everyone’s saying about him on social media platforms such as Instagram.

Why do celebrities have outsized carbon footprints? They lead energy-intense lifestyles beyond the norm, and their carbon consumption is massively intense. And what they do, the masses do, like lemmings. Celebrities are the supreme cultural influencers.

For starters, they either use or cause the use of huge amounts of electricity in the internet, which is responsible for a huge chunk of our global greenhouse gas emissions.

In fact, by 2025, it could be responsible for a staggering 20 percent of global electricity consumption and up to 5.5 percent of all carbon emissions.

And you’re doing it right now, while we assure you Keanu Reeves is not.

In fact, he appeared to have no idea that he had been dubbed “the internet’s boyfriend”, an idea, when told in person, that he found “wacky”.

The Internet, the tsunami of data it must power, and the mass use of smart devices could increase global emissions by 3.5 percent by next year already — and by up to 14 percent by 2040, according to an update to a 2016 peer-reviewed study by Swedish researcher Anders Andrae. Yet we dare you environmentally conscious millennials to give up your smartphone.

The ICT industry’s power demand is likely to increase from 200–300 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity a year in 2017, to 1,200–3,000TWh by 2025. Data centers alone could emit 1.9 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon emissions, or 3.2 percent of the global total.

Yet only 3 percent of our planet’s electricity came from oil in 2018. So your Instagram obsession? It’s powered predominantly by coal, which supplied a whopping 38 percent of electricity in 2018.

Then there’s the private jets, frequent flying and even, in some cases, endorsing airlines.

Michael Kern

I am a journalist and financial copywriter. My work has been featured on CNN Money, Business Insider, The Guardian, and Nasdaq.