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Saturday, October 09, 2021

Will the royal family step up to the plate in tackling climate change?

According to the Guardian, bpth the Queen and Prince Charles are due to attend the Cop26 climate summit, which starts on 31 October. It seems apt therefore that the conservationist and broadcaster Chris Packham has used this moment to call on the royal family to “step up” by committing to rewilding their estates before Cop26:

The royal family is the UK’s biggest landowning family with an estate that includes lands held by the duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall and the Queen. According to calculations by the rewilding campaign group Wild Card, the family owns more than 323,748 hectares (800,000 acres) of land, including the crown estate, which is equivalent to double the area of Greater London or 1.4% of the UK.

“That’s a very large amount of land,” said Packham, 60. “And quite a lot of it is not in what I would call good ecological condition.”

Citing Balmoral as an example, he said ideally the 20,234-hectare estate should be covered in temperate rainforest. But instead it is largely managed for grouse shooting and deer stalking. “So that land is not working to its greatest advantage to us at this critical point.” He also said that overall, royal land had less forest cover than the national average.

Balmoral estate in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, is largely managed for grouse shooting and deer stalking.

“With 1.4% of the land surface they could do enormous good. Leading by example is the best way to lead and a lot of people follow their example,” he added.

The benefits of rewilding include carbon capture, biodiversity and flood prevention. The UN has said the world must rewild and restore an area the size of China by 2030 in order to meet climate and nature commitments.

Given that such a drastic move would mean that the royals would have to stop hunting the wildlife for sport, I am not holding my breath, but surely it is time for leadership by example, not just words.
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