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The Royal Wedding captured the attention of billions, whether they were esteemed guests flying in or viewers watching from their homes. In an event so grandiose, its environmental impact often goes unnoticed as the attention is drawn toward the lavish fashions and ceremony. Indeed, the magnitude of the wedding’s carbon footprint remained somewhat of an afterthought.
Prince Charles is a known environmentalist, so every measure was taken to ensure a high level of “greenness” at the wedding. All of the flowers were seasonal and grown in the UK. Only local, organic food was served. All documents on were printed on recycled paper. William and Kate even asked that in lieu of gifts their guests make a donation to an environmental nonprofit. However, they still managed to release over 6,700 tons of carbon emissions.
However, one wonders how unavoidable it is to have such a large carbon footprint at a gathering of this size. Their guest list stretched to 1,900 VIPs worldwide, so the fuel from their round trip flights counted for much of the emissions. Add that to the millions of people watching it on television or perhaps listening to it the radio, plus the emissions from present media sources, and that is a hefty amount. Had the royal family not taken those steps to cut down their carbon footprint, it could have been much larger than 6,700 tons. Of course William and Kate could have chosen to have a simple wedding with a limited guest list, but they are royalty and as such their lives are surrounded by pomp and circumstance. And there’s nothing wrong with that, to be sure – but I think that the lesson everyone can learn from this is that the greater the event, the larger the environmental impact.