Charles faced a number of controversies during his time on the throne – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Ben Stansall
Britain’s new King Charles III is a committed environmentalist with a long history of campaigning for better environmental stewardship, organic farming and combating climate change that more environmentally conscious young Britons are likely to enjoy.
On his Instagram account, as Prince of Wales, between photos of official meetings and other royal duties, photos were usually posted showing that he contributes to the protection of the environment in the UK and beyond.
They included planting trees, displaying organic fruits and vegetables from his residence at Clarence House and vibrant flowers growing in the garden of his beloved Highgrove home in Gloucestershire, western England.
One photo even shows Charles, who has now passed on the title of Prince of Wales to his son and heir, William, while visiting threatened mangrove swamps in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean.
When the UK hosted the COP26 climate summit in Scotland last year, he delivered the opening speech, calling on world leaders sitting before him to redouble their efforts to combat global warming and warning: “Time is literally up.”
Since his first major public appearance on the subject in 1970, Charles “has been raising awareness of all aspects of the environment for a very long time,” said Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute for Climate Change and the Environment.
“In many ways, he was ahead of the public and political consciousness on this issue,” he told AFP.
– Sustainability –
In Highgrove, Charles has grown a garden open to the public as well as a fully organic farm.
This initially caused skepticism from some neighboring farmers, but has gradually grown into a successful business and sells its products under the “Duchy Organic” brand at the high-end supermarket chain Waitrose.
“His Royal Highness has personally taken many steps to live more sustainably,” his official website states during his tenure as Prince of Wales.
He noted that about 90 percent of energy for office and residential use now comes from renewable sources, with about half of that generated from on-site renewable sources such as solar panels, biomass boilers and heat pumps, and the remainder from renewable sources. from electricity and gas purchased from renewable sources. .
For several years, Charles has published his annual carbon footprint, including unofficial travel, which was 445 tons per year through March 2022.
His car, an Aston Martin, which he owned for over 50 years, was modified to run on excess English white wine and whey from the cheese-making process.
It runs on a mixture of 85% bioethanol and 15% unleaded gasoline.
The monarch has been president of the UK charity WWF since 2011, emulating his late father Prince Philip, who served in the same role from 1981 to 1996.
He is also a patron of several other associations such as Surfers Against Wastewater and has repeatedly given speeches warning of biodiversity loss.
Most recently, in April, he wrote an article for Newsweek magazine, which also graced its cover, titled “Our Children Judge Us.”
– Sensitive –
His active stance on issues, including environmental issues, has attracted some criticism for departing from constitutional norms that the royal family always remains politically neutral.
Charles has repeatedly sworn to remain true to constitutional practice, most recently this week when he ascended the throne.
But he may not see environmental and conservation goals as overtly political.
“As head of state, he will be very sensitive,” Ward predicted.
“He has to be very careful not to be seen in actions that could be seen as putting pressure on the government. But I don’t expect him to not speak at all.”
Ruby Wright, a 42-year-old illustrator who traveled to Buckingham Palace to pay her respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II, said on Friday that she hoped “he will stick to his mind.”
“I think he needs to be more humble and really push the environmental agenda and make that his legacy,” she told AFP.
“I know that he should not be involved in politics at all, but this is not politics. This is the future of humanity.”
Laura Byrne, a 30-year-old fashion designer, agreed. “I think it’s positive that he’s supporting the environment. I think it’s important for my generation.”
As a king, he will have less time for his passions for gardening and farming. In a 1986 interview, he admitted to talking to plants, which drew ridicule.
But the baton has already been passed on to his son William, who shares his commitment to protecting the environment.
Last year, William launched the Earthshot Award, which recognizes projects that offer solutions to the climate crisis.