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The Fascinating Backstory of King Charles III and His (Sometimes Controversial) Environmental Crusading

Most people already know that King Charles III he really cares about the environment. It has been repeated often in the months since Queen Elizabeth II’s death, especially by people who admire it. What may be less well known among the general public is exactly how respected he really is among environmental advocates.

This year, Charles reportedly canceled plans to attend COP27 in Egypt last week due to advice from liz trussshort-lived, which was endorsed by the new prime minister, but hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace for more than 200 politicians and activists on their way to Egypt. For Charles, trips to the United Nations Climate Change Conferences are about more than just keeping up appearances: he really participates. At COP21 in Paris in 2015, where a landmark treaty was negotiated, Charles used his opening remarks to remind attendees to think about the world they were leaving behind for their grandchildren. On his last trip to COP26 in Glasgow, Charles delivered four separate speeches and presented a video message from his mother.

One obvious reason for his passion for the environment is that he was simply in the right place at the right time. Historians have cited 1970 as the year environmental threats broke into the mainstream, and as a 22-year-old finishing his undergraduate degree in anthropology and archeology and planning his own career, concern arose naturally. For a handful of baby boomers, caring for the environment became a countercultural lifestyle, and while Charles was never a committed member of the Back-to-the-Land movement, some of his beliefs and practices, from his organic farm in Highgrove until their concerns about GMOs weren’t too far off.

Still, Charles remained unusually committed to environmental concerns even after the ’70s ended, perhaps because it spoke to something deeper in him. Through discourses on the environment that span five decades, he has described his interest in the environment in elemental terms, speaking of beauty, consciousness, synthesis, and imagination. He’s also been remarkably astute when it comes to incorporating new information and following the movement’s buzzwords. But engaging with his story in the movement also helps to illustrate some of the pitfalls that have made climate action that much harder to achieve.

The future king made his initial forays into environmental concerns long before global warming was on the agenda. On a gray day in February 1970, Carlos followed his father, Prince Philip, into a room in the Strasbourg town hall to attend a conference on wildlife conservation. Wearing a dark suit, looking younger than his 22 years, Charles sat in the audience as his father delivered a speech about resource depletion, endangered wildlife and the need to set aside more land for farming. conservation. These were the issues that Philip spent most of his life engaged in, and they were pretty normal concerns for European royalty at the time. Charles and Philip joined four other European princes at the conference, which brought together government representatives and activists to launch the European Year of Conservation.

By 1970, Charles had already been involved in planning the European Year of Conservation for almost two years. Many of Charles’s decisions on education and employment were planned by Queen Elizabeth II and her advisers, and his initial forays into the world of environmental activism were motivated by Charles’s desire to establish closer ties in Wales. In 1968, Charles began to prepare for his responsibilities as heir apparent by spending more time in the nation. First, he chaired a committee tasked with planning the nation’s participation in the upcoming European Year of Conservation, the first time he has led a meeting. The following year he again took a summer course in Welsh before his lavish investiture at Caernarfon Castle in July 1969.

Charles’s trip to France in 1970 was part of a larger plan to launch his career in public life. His university studies would come to an end that spring, so for the year following his inauguration, he committed to a hectic travel schedule to serve as a royal apprentice before beginning his military training at the Royal Navy College. , Dartmouth. After leaving the conference in Strasbourg, Charles traveled to Paris to attend the state funeral of French leader Charles de Gaulle.

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