Prince Harry and Meghan Markle via Instagram
Two weeks after being criticised for their use of private jets, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have launched a new sustainable travel initiative
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have launched a new sustainable travel initiative, two weeks after their ‘private jet’ controversy.
Speaking at a press conference in Amsterdam, Prince Harry directly responded to accusations he and his wife “aren’t practising what they preach”.
The royal pair, who often promote sustainability and environmental causes, was found to have taken four private jets in the space of 11 days. They then faced huge backlash from the public, who highlighted the hypocrisy of this. How can they expect us to cut back on carbon emissions if they won’t do the same?
‘No one is perfect’
Now that the dust has settled, Prince Harry told the press “no one is perfect”.
“What is clear across this vast landscape is that our world faces environmental challenges of unprecedented scope and scale,” he said. “From deforestation and the loss of biodiversity, to ocean plastics and poaching, the problems can sometimes seem too big to fix.
“These human-caused challenges often need a giant system shift to make a significant enough impact. Sometimes the scale of the conservation crisis feels overwhelming, and that individual actions can’t make a difference… I’ve certainly felt that”.
“While no one is perfect, we are all responsible for our own individual impact…”
He went on, “But I’ve learned that we cannot dismiss the idea of trying to do something, just because we can’t do everything. We can all do better.
“And, while no one is perfect, we are all responsible for our own individual impact; the question is what we do to balance it out”.
Then, when Harry was asked about his and Meghan’s recent use of private jets, he said they use commercial flights 99% of the time, but that he does occasionally make other arrangements to “ensure that my family are safe”. He also explained how he offsets his carbon emissions by making sustainable choices in other parts of his life.
With that in mind, he and wife Meghan Markle have launched Travalyst – a global initiative striving to change the impact of travel, for good.
They have partnered with key travel industry giants, including Booking.com, Skyscanner, TripAdvisor and Visa, to spark a movement to transform the future of travel, “putting communities at the heart of the solution”.
Speaking in Amsterdam, the Duke of Sussex said, “We believe in the power and importance of travel. We also have a shared responsibility to our planet and to each other.
“I am one of those people fortunate enough to have a platform and I want to use it to tackle hard problems…”
“I want to start with a little bit of background as to specifically why I’m here today, because as you may know, I am not a tourism or business expert; but through my travels, I have observed the unique relationship between community and environment, and have noticed something alarming.
“There wasn’t the symbiosis or connection there needed to be and I wanted to understand why,” he said. “I am one of those people fortunate enough to have a platform and I want to use it to tackle hard problems, in the hope of finding solutions… and that’s how Travalyst was born”.
In a statement shared via their official Instagram page, the royals said, “The name ‘Travalyst’ comes from the Duke and partners viewing our role in sustainable travel as catalysts to accelerate positive changes in travel. Travel + catalyst = Travalyst”.
Their aim is to make travel more sustainable, to help protect destinations and benefit communities long into the future, and to enable consumers to make more environmentally friendly choices whilst travelling.
Prince Harry’s speech has received mixed reactions online. Writing beneath the Sussex Royal Instagram post, one person said, “I’m struggling with this when your personal choice is private jets? I think the initiative is good but can you explain your own choices?”
Another said, “I’m sorry, but in light of all the negative press regarding private jets… isn’t this a little condescending and tone-deaf?”
A third person commented, “Is this an attempt to fix your stuff up last week when you travelled on private jets while pretending to be environmentalists? How gullible do you think we are?”
That being said, thousands of others have applauded the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for taking steps in the right direction; with many agreeing it’s better to do something for the environment than nothing at all.
Photos: Sussex Royal via Instagram
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