May 13, 2011 • Current Events, Sustainability

Royal Footprints

by Katie Schultz

The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton brought out the romantic in me, and I waited in eager anticipation to see the big moments unfold on my TV screen. It was exciting to see the wedding dress, to hear the vows, and to watch as a country closed down to honor the nuptials of its new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

I was just as surprised as anyone to see Prince William and his bride come driving out of the gates of Buckingham Palace in his father’s 1969 Aston Martin DB6. What brought me out of my teary-eyed stupor was the mention of how “green” that vintage blue car actually was.

In 2008 Prince Charles had his sleek ride converted to run on 100 percent bio-ethanol fuel — that was distilled from British wine! This was one of several changes Prince Charles made in an effort to reduce his carbon footprint. He also converted several other of his personal cars (an Audi and several Jaguars) to run on bio-diesel fuel made from used cooking oil. Reports show that from 2007 to 2008, Prince Charles’ household was able to reduce its carbon footprint by about 18%.

It’s good to know that Prince Charles and his family care enough about the environment to go to these lengths. Critics, however, are already estimating how much carbon dioxide his son’s wedding has produced. One estimate is that the event generated 6,765 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. The bulk of those CO2 emissions can be attributed to the thousands of travelers who found their way to London for the festivities. So how will the couple work to reduce that carbon footprint? Although every aspect of the occasion wasn’t green, the royal couple and their family made many efforts to see that the environment was considered. Besides using locally grown produce and flowers, Prince William and Kate also requested that their guests plant trees in their honor or make charitable donations in lieu of gifts. As they begin their life together, many will be watching to see what environmentally-friendly actions they take. If William is anything like his father, I don’t think we’ll be disappointed.

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