In a seemingly rare triumph of forward-thinking environmentalism over the raw power of celebrity clout, a famous musician’s 14-year legal battle to build a series of mansions overlooking Malibu has been definitively thwarted by the California Supreme Court. For more than a decade, The Edge from U2 (real name David Evans) apparently fought to make his ultramodern “earth tone” compound a reality, but the state’s most staunch defenders of the countryside (specifically, the 151 acres of scenic land Evans bought) simply weren’t having it. To the average person, it seems obvious that no single individual has any need for multiple homes right next to each other, let alone a bombastic quasi-kingdom carved into a hillside.
But when you contemplate just how far celebrities are able to take their whims under the umbrella of late capitalism, and think about how that terrible ability clashes against the immediate-emergency status of climate change, it becomes very clear that just because you can build a $100 million fantasy world for yourself doesn’t mean you necessarily should.
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For the record, you shouldn’t: a Malibu mansion owned by Anthony Hopkins may have survived the wildfires that ripped down the California coast last year, but that hasn’t saved the house from coming dangerously close to sliding down a rapidly eroding cliff in recent months. Apartment buildings in Pacifica, California were the subject of news reports in 2016 as they teetered over their coastal precipice in the wake of El Niño.
This isn’t all necessarily to say that if The Edge had been allowed to build his tacky monstrosity it would have inevitably fallen into the ocean, but the rapid erosion of America’s coasts is truly nothing to sneeze at. And besides, one less mansion close to the Pacific is a step in the right direction. According to The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles developers are dealing with an unprecedented problem: so many mega-mansions have been built on spec in the city, there literally aren’t enough super-wealthy buyers to occupy them all.