Meghan Markle and Harry: Experts discuss ‘life-altering’ move
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are free to focus on their passion projects now they have officially left the royal frontline and no longer represent the Queen. It’s clear that both intend to continue with their previous work — for Meghan, this is likely to be female empowerment and political engagement, while for Harry, this will be looking into veterans’ lives, mental health and tackling climate change. But now, they will not have to worry about stepping into political spheres during their activism work which could enable the couple’s voices to travel even further.
Yet, some of their work so far has been condemned by furious royal fans, such as their decision to move to Meghan’s home state of California, and could undermine their activism.
Science and technology company Molekule ranked all of the US states by pollution according to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2019 report.
Its report explained: “California consistently ranks as the most polluted state in the country.
“Six of the top 10 most polluted cities (for year-round particle pollution) are in California, with the Fresno-Madera area ranking as the most polluted city in the country.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle often present themselves as environmentalists
Harry and Meghan now live in California, the most polluting state in the US
It’s worth noting that Meghan and Harry’s new home is in Montecito, which is approximately 250 miles away from Fresno-Madera.
The report also claimed that Bakersfield, California, is the worst for short-term particle pollution, which is still a long distance from the Sussexes’ new abode.
But it’s Los Angeles’ pollution which is particularly worrying.
The report states it has the worst ozone pollution in the whole of the US — and is just 90 miles from Meghan and Harry’s home.
The couple also set up camp in LA temporarily when looking for a new permanent home last year, shortly after first landing in the US.
Molekule’s report continued: “The Golden State is the most highly populated state in the US with the fifth largest economy in the world.
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Harry launched Travalyst, a sustainable travel initiative, in 2019
“Its most significant sources of air pollution come from automobile traffic, as well as industrial pollution.
“The local topography in the state, especially in farming regions, along with its warm weather, lends itself to trapping pollution within valley walls, increasing the levels of ozone.”
The state of California also drew worldwide attention last year when wildfires ran rampant.
This contributes to the poor air quality, and as the climate conditions worsen the likelihood of such fires occurring again has only increased.
The Sussexes’ recent move is the latest development in a growing list of occasions environmentalists have turned on the couple.
Their new £11million property is in Montecito, Santa Barbara, an area renowned for its privacy and elite residents — from Ellen DeGeneres to Oprah Winfrey.
The extensive mansion is expected to run up high costs for heating, air conditioning and maintenance.
While Harry may have forked out for some ecological alternatives, owning a sprawling property will still enlarge his carbon footprint.
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Harry and Meghan often promote a message of sustainability, but live an extravagant lifestyle
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were criticised for taking many private jets
Meghan and Harry were photographed driving in a gas-guzzling Cadillac car during their first few months in the States, too.
This came just a year after the Sussexes were found to have taken four private jets in 11 days to go on holiday.
In his defence, the Duke said: “I spend 99 percent of my life travelling the Earth commercial, but occasionally I have to make a decision not to, to ensure my family is safe.”
Around the same time, they posted on their now defunct Instagram page, @sussexroyal, about the need to protect the environment.
The couple wrote: “With nearly 7.7 billion people inhabiting this Earth, every choice, every footprint, every action makes a difference.”
Such reports appeared especially ironic as Harry launched a sustainable travel initiative Travalyst in September 2019.
In partnership with Booking.com, Skyscanner, TripAdvisor, Visa and Trip.com, it aims to protect the environment, reduce the impact of global travel on the climate and provide sustainability frameworks.
When he launched it, he said: “I’ve learned that we cannot dismiss the idea of trying to do something, just because we can’t do everything.
Harry, in particular, has championed action on climate change
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“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.”
However, it remains to be seen what the initiative will achieve in practice.
Harry is also expected to promote climate activism through Archewell Productions, the branch of the Sussexes’ new venture which will be creating programmes for Netflix in the next few years.
Just last month, Harry spoke out in favour of “doers” who will act in response to the climate crisis, while supporting a new streaming platform which would focus on environmental documentaries.
He said: “There’s a lot of people that ‘say’, but this is about action.”
Meghan has previously championed sustainable fashion brands and they are reported to own an electric car, too.
Yet, Save on Energy’s survey from October found the Sussexes “had the third worst carbon footprint of all royals studied”.