King Charles’s climate activism cannot take a back seat to his coronation
– #King #Charless #climate #activism #seat #coronation
One of the most striking features of the past two weeks has been the degree to which, even among non-royals, the Queen is respected, admired and loved.
While that sentiment is certainly not universal, the country, in many ways, feels more united than it has in a while.
That ability to unite for what we share cannot be more critical at this juncture in our shared history.
The war in Ukraine is killing thousands of people and threatening the peace of the rest of Europe, which to most of us seems as durable as the queen, until suddenly it is not.
Energy bills are rising due to our destructive dependence on fossil fuels; and a lifestyle scandal that plunges millions of people into poverty.
All the while, there is a rapidly closing window to avert a climate catastrophe, the signs of which are becoming increasingly apparent.
From the deadly floods in Pakistan that killed 1,500 and displaced millions, to the 53,000 deaths in the EU in July after record-breaking heat, and one of the UK’s worst droughts in living memory. .
Addressing the climate emergency is a critical piece of the puzzle to solving other national crises — making our energy system vulnerable to volatile gas prices, keeping our homes insulated year-round, and to reduce our household bills.
It is also an opportunity to right some of the imperial and colonial wrongs of the British past – by putting climate justice and climate compensation front and center in the international response.
So to have a monarch in King Charles who has used his platform to highlight the dangers of the climate emergency to us all, for more than 50 years, is important even to those of us who fundamentally disagree with the principle of inheritance.
As far back as 1970, Charles spoke out at the age of 21, warning of the ‘horrendous effects of pollution on all forms of cancer.’
In 2013, he criticized the ‘confirmed skeptics’ and ‘corporate lobbyists’ who have resisted climate action and are sending us deeper into crisis.
And he met and spoke with the US climate envoy John Kerry.
That doesn’t make his environmental record by any means perfect – the call to block wind farms in his Duchy of Cornwall was unwarranted.
Nor does he excuse the fundamental wrongdoing attributed to the institution he represents. The history of the British Empire cannot be separated, that Britain was involved in slavery, robbery of people and natural resources in the name of Empire.
The royal family will increasingly risk undermining broad support if they do not apologize for slavery, as many are demanding, and take real action on past reparations.
The Empire can do more with early leadership – and we should welcome that possibility.
As his constitutional role changes, King Charles may not be as vocal as he used to be – but as we battle the climate emergency, there are certainly steps he can take. can carry the local king. to help make a difference.
First, let’s look at the land use of the kingdom.
The United Kingdom has become one of the worst countries in the world – yet there are also 850,000 acres of Crown land, owned by the monarchy, with vast potential to become rich in nature. .
If effectively reclaimed, these lands could make a difference in helping to tackle the natural emergency – and will send a message to all other UK landowners to join the national effort to reverse the destruction of biodiversity. and our wildlife.
And let’s open some of these places not only to nature, but also to the general public.
If it is true that King Charles wants to continue using Clarence House as his home, instead of Buckingham Palace, then it may be time to combine the private gardens of the palace with the nearby greenery. to create an extensive green space in London that provides significant public benefit.
There are many other examples that a dynamic empire can set.
All royal palaces can be carbon neutral; King Charles can confirm that the entire royal family will switch to electric cars; Travel within Britain can be done by train, rather than by plane or helicopter; Meat may be served less frequently during public events.
None of this will fully reduce the huge environmental footprint associated with the kingdom’s enormous wealth and privilege, but it will send a signal to the world that climate action concerns us all.
We are marking the end of an era, now, for better or for worse, we have an empire.
I can’t think of a better way to convey the soft power that the role enjoys than to make sure that Charles’s local words really count.
Queen Elizabeth has had seventy years to make history, King Charles will have very little. But uniting Britain and the world in a proportionate response to the climate emergency could be a more meaningful legacy.
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