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Lifestyles of the rich and eco-sanctimonious

By Michelle Malkin  •  April 22, 2007 04:58 PM

Musician/celebutante Sheryl Crow proposes a one square of toilet paper-per-sitting quota to offset deforestation.

That’s going to be a tough rule to enforce–what with eco-Hollyweirdos so, you know, full of crap.

Meanwhile, in Manhattan, wealthy socialites help rescue the planet by plunking down a few pennies for Shaklee cleaning products and energy-saving bulbs for their closets. But don’t you dare ask them to give up their second homes, private jets, or blaring lights in their guest rooms:

THERE is nothing like the specter of a bathtub ring to mobilize even the most pedigreed homemaker. Sloan Barnett was counting on it when she invited some 40 friends to her five-story Georgian town house on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She meant to introduce them to her family-owned line of eco-friendly household cleansers, and to persuade them to do their part to save the planet.

Her guests, familiar fixtures in the party pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, were improbable grime fighters. They included young society stalwarts like Renée Rockefeller, Valesca Guerrand-Hermès, Melania Trump and Jessica Seinfeld. Given their designer wardrobes, their houses flung about the country, and an aggregate income the size of a small duchy, they were odd candidates for a sales pitch that urged looking beneath the kitchen sink and tossing out your toxic powders and sprays.

And yet, why not? Trend-sensitives as finely attuned to a cause as they are to the charms of Hermès paddock boots, Ms. Barnett’s guests seemed to share her conviction that in this day of fervent eco-consciousness, one can never be too green.

“We all want to make our homes the safest place in the world for our families,” she said to a roomful of women with cascading hair and bouclé jackets. “We get global warming, but we don’t think about what we are exposing ourselves to in our homes. We can all watch ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ But what can we actually do to make a difference on Earth Day besides buying a Prius?”

The answer, according to Ms. Barnett, is a line of natural health-care and housecleaning products made by Shaklee, a 47-year-old company based in San Francisco whose cleansers were beloved in the 1970s by the first Earth Day generation, the folks who installed composting toilets…

…These days Ms. Barnett, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan whom Women’s Wear Daily once profiled under the headline “Sloan Ranger,” is today a consumer reporter for KNTV, the NBC television affiliate in San Jose, Calif. She recycles and has tossed away her children’s plastic sippy cups. Concerned with carbon emissions, she is about to replace the Barnetts’ two family cars with hybrids. “I turn the water off when I’m brushing my teeth,” she said. “I’m always learning, I’m always trying to improve.”

Still, she has no plans to reduce the family’s significant carbon footprint by, say, selling the Manhattan second home. “I’m not a perfect person,” she said. “I’m not the greenest woman in America.” And there was scant indication that other guests, most of whom, presumably, knew their way up the steps of a private jet, were contemplating major lifestyle cutbacks. Glancing about the room, Ms. Barnett said, “We aren’t all going to move to one-bedroom apartments.”

Of course not.



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