Child in Tree

A Fond Farewell for our Green Queen (first published in West Sussex County Times)

children and natureAs one of her final decisions, the Queen chose to mark her Platinum Jubilee this year with the Queen’s Green Canopy, a unique tree planting initiative which invited people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.  The first wave of planting took place in the spring, and as we mourn her passing, how fitting it seems that the second planting season will be taking place, from October until the end of the year, creating a living memorial to a wonderful monarch who embodied dignity and wisdom, and who stayed up to date and informed in her serious passion to serve, right up until mere days before her passing.

As well as inviting the planting of new trees, the Queen’s Green Canopy dedicates a network of 70 Ancient Woodlands to be preserved across the United Kingdom and has identified 70 specific Ancient Trees for protection to honour each of Her Majesty’s 70 years of service; protecting the old going hand in hand with creating the new.

The Queen’s passion stretched well beyond our small island shores and The Green Planet was a 2018 ITV film about the Queen’s dream of creating the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, a lasting legacy of a network of national forest parks from each of the 53 Commonwealth nations, encouraging villages, cities, countries and corporates to play their part to enhance their environments around the whole world which will be of benefit to all future generations. As Sir David Attenborough said,

“It’s a little-known fact that Her Majesty loves trees.”

Her son, Charles, our new king, also shares this love and we wish him well in taking up the many duties which lie ahead.  Less than a year ago, at COP26 in Glasgow, he spoke to the assembled leaders of the world, saying, “Nature is our best teacher.”

Accelerating nature-based solutions and leveraging the circular bio-economy will be vital to our efforts.  The scale of the threat we face calls for radically transforming our current fossil fuel economy and we will need to marshal the strength of the global private sector which offers the only real prospect of economic transition.  We know from the pandemic that the private sector can speed up time lines dramatically when everyone agrees on the urgency and direction.

The cost of inaction is far greater than the cost of prevention, so I can only urge you to find practical ways of overcoming differences so we can all get down to work together to rescue this precious planet.

“Climate change and biodiversity loss pose an even greater existential threat than the devastating global cross-border threat of Covid 19 pandemic.”

King Charles III will need all of our help, and we will need his.

An online book of condolence has been opened on Buckingham Palace’s website: