The Green Queen
We were very sad to hear of the passing of her majesty, Queen Elizabeth. It’s been said many times over the last few days how much she was a constant in our lives and it will feel strange her not being here anymore.
I lost my own mother a few months ago and still haven’t got used to not having her around, so I’m sure many will feel the same about The Queen.
The Queen meant many things to many people, but not everyone agrees with having a monarchy. I’m sure it can’t be easy being a Royal, being in the public eye all your life and not having a choice as to how you live, being expected to act a certain way. Yes, it is a privileged life but not everyone could live it.
The Royal family have their duties to carry out and Queen Elizabeth, as our longest reigning monarch, has probably done more than most people in history. This has included visiting over 100 countries, and has hosted many visits from foreign dignitaries.
Over the last 70 years, she has travelled in excess of 1 million miles, making her the most travelled monarch in history. In the early days of her reign, the impact of this amount of travel wasn’t a concern; but as the world became more aware of the damage travel can have on the planet, so did she. She became interested in trying to do what she could and to encourage others to think about the environment.
In 2004, she spoke to Tony Blair, Prime Minister at the time, urging him to speak with US President George W Bush about climate change. Becoming increasingly worried about the environment, she pressed the Heads of the Commonwealth in 2009 to do more to slow the impact of climate change.
She famously said last October about the Cop26 climate change conference “It’s really irritating when they talk, but don’t do”. She obviously felt the situation wasn’t being addressed quickly enough.
She was determined to raise awareness of the gravity of the situation and was probably conscious of the fact that people listened to her when she spoke. Many things she did or said in her lifetime had an effect on people and the world around her, so she probably hoped that adding her voice to the problem would inspire others to do their bit.
Her Majesty launched a tree planting scheme to mark her Platinum Jubilee earlier this year. Called the Queen’s Green Canopy, the idea was to plant as many trees as possible, whether it’s a single tree in a garden or an avenue of trees or a copse. Tree planting season is from October to March so work can begin soon on fulfilling her vision. Have a look at www.queensgreencanopy.org for help and guidance on the right tree for your location.
The Queen was famous for turning off lights in the palace to save money, but of course we all know now that this helps the environment. She always tried to eat produce local to where she was at the time to save food miles. Apparently she reused wrapping paper and, whenever she could, re-wore an outfit with minor alterations or additions. This probably stems back to her early years when the country was rationed and she led by example by being frugal herself.
King Charles has long been an advocate for sustainability, and has farmed organically for decades. He has pledged to carry on his late mother’s legacy and will no doubt also lead by example. He has already had solar panels installed at Clarence House and biomass boilers are in use at Highgrove.
In 2008 he asked Aston Martin if his 1971 DB6 could run on a more environmentally friendly fuel and after much research it has now been converted to run on wine wastage and a cheese by-product.
It was as far back as 1970 that he warned of the over-use of single use plastics so the Royals’ awareness of the need to protect the planet is not a new subject for them. It isn’t trying to be seen to be doing the right thing, they genuinely care about the world around them. They are aware they have an impact on the environment but also that they can make a difference and are in a position to influence many to join them in their determination to do something before it’s too late.
So The Queen has always been interested in conservation, Charles inherited her passion and we have seen Prince William launch the Earthshot programme to repair and regenerate the planet by encouraging anyone and any organisation to come up with initiatives to help with this goal.
With the backing and endorsement of the Royal family we can hopefully reverse the damage done to the planet.