350.org middle-manager Clayton Thomas-Muller is one of Canada’s most jet-setting climate activists. Clayton’s recent journeys have included far-flung destinations like Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, New York, San Francisco, Paris, and the Mediterranean island of Malta. If he’s been smart enough to have always stuck to the same airline alliance, the indigenous activist’s status card is probably bordering on Super Elite.
Doubling down on hypocrisy of a being a high-flying climate activist, Clayton is also a brand loving anti-capitalist. He proudly wore his Boston Red Sox cap in his airplane selfie celebrating his employment at 350. In a recent Facebook discussion on notebook technology with Greenpeace’s Melina Laboucan Massimo Clayton expressed his love for Apple Macbooks. On his September 2015 trip to New York City Clayton washed-down his Boarshead sandwich with a plastic bottle of Fiji water.
One of the biggest items of discussion amongst frequent fliers this week was the introduction of Canada’s newest ultra-discount airline. Newleaf might not fly to places like Paris – Clayton will still have to schlep it on a top-tier carrier like Air Canada – but their low-cost fares will open up travel opportunities for less fortunate Canadian proletariat who’ve been pining to see long-lost friends & family. This makes Clayton Thomas-Muller unhappy, in his world, flying isn’t for the little people.
Demonstrating how his Super Elite status card might have gone to his head, Clayton responded with one of the most blatantly hypocritical finger waggings in the history of the climate change movement. “I can’t wait to save on discount flights to Abbotsford so my grandkids can pay for it by suffering from Climate Change!”, the anti-capitalist exclaimed disapprovingly.
Of course, a Super Elite globetrotter with a fist full of frequent flyer miles doesn’t have to go through the extra hassle of flying into Abbotsford- that’s for the little people, activistocrats like Clayton fly into YVR. This might be hard for someone flush with an ENGO paycheque to understand- but for many of Clayton’s indigenous brothers & sisters, this might mean that they can finally go home and see their family for Christmas.
Clayton’s gripe is the perfect example both of the hypocrisy of the climate change movement and how their brave new world is as classist as Victorian England. “Important” people like Clayton, Naomi Klein, and David Suzuki are free to fly as much and as often as they please- but the little people need to start checking their privilege.