Prince Harry and Megan Markle have found themselves in hot water after chartering a private jet following their climate change speech.
Harry and Megan were returning home after a three-day tour around New York City, attending the Global Citizen Live concert. The event aimed to raise awareness on climate change, vaccine equality, and famine – demanding new eco laws to halve US emissions by 2030.
However, a flight via private jet from New York to California produces roughly 17 tonnes of carbon emissions. Seems kind of counter-intuitive, right?
“I do not understand why they are behaving as if they are superstars. His father has been known to take scheduled flights. His brother takes scheduled flights.”
Royal author Penny Junor told The Sun.
She added: “This totally muddies the waters of their climate message. They are shooting themselves in the foot by taking private flights.”
Action on climate change is a serious matter, as the recent IPCC global climate report indicates that global warming will likely reach 1.5 degrees between 2030 and 2052 if action is not taken immediately.
Whilst David Attenborough urged people to take action on climate change at the Davos summit in 2019 experts predicted up to 1,500 individual private jets flew in just for the event.
Will you be attending the 2019 #WorldEconomicForum @wef? Utilise our private jet charter services and arrive @Davos in prompt time and style. #yourmission #ourpassion https://t.co/R0YHPtHLGu pic.twitter.com/OnT0nKslOM
— Gama Aviation (@GamaAviation) December 20, 2018
Alex Dewaal says that there are “fundamental pillars of activism which should always be followed, most of all, the act of responding to and collaborating with local people, rather than imposing outside agendas”
Prince Harry is no stranger to activism. His work in the founding of the Invictus Games was crucial in raising awareness and support for returned veterans. As a veteran himself, he was able to acutely address issues he knew and was familiar with.
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Whilst raising awareness is the first step to addressing a problem, there seems to be a paradox when it comes to social justice trends and celebrity activism.
Many took to Twitter to voice their concerns and frustration.
“They lecture us on our carbon footprint while taking private jets to polo matches. Hypocrites don’t unite people.”
“Just ‘do as I say not as I do’” another said.
“How many plastic straws do we need to substitute with paper straws to make up for that flight’s emissions?”
This is not to say that the cause is wrong but the celebrity factor takes the spotlight away from grassroots activists and people who have worked towards change for years.