By Jim Poling Sr.
From Shaman’s Rock
Suddenly, the Royal family no longer bores me to tears.
I’ve yawned through years of watching the Queen deliver stultifying television addresses with her cut-glass upper-class accent.
And, one time I spoke very briefly with her husband Prince Philip at a media event, and that conversation had me running to the free bar for a double vodka.
Then, of course, there have been the long-running Royal soap operas of Charles and Diana and Camilla, and more recently the breakaway couple Harry and Meghan. Plus, Prince Andrew’s troubling connection to sex trafficker Jeffery Epstein.
I suppose watching and listening to the Royals has made for entertaining television. But the ongoing domestic or political situations of the Royals, or other members of the rich and famous world, are of little interest to me and have little impact in my working-class world.
However, my disinterest in Royal family happenings vanished quickly last Wednesday.
I was reading an awesome, and totally frightening, story on how climate change could destroy our planet. When I finished digesting the story, I flipped the digital pages and saw a short piece on Prince William interviewed on climate change.
When Royals speak on controversial issues, they hedge their words to avoid clear and direct statements. They don’t say exactly what they are thinking.
Well, William certainly said what he was thinking during the BBC interview. He criticized the space race and space tourism, saying the world’s greatest minds should focus on saving Earth instead.
“We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live,” he said.
His comments were aired the day after actor William Shatner and three other ‘space tourists’ took a short ride into space on a rocket built by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.
It’s not known if Bezos and other space toy billionaires heard the remarks, but Shatner certainly did.
Shatner shot back the next day saying the prince is missing the point. Space tourism, he said, is a baby step t o getting polluting industries, like those that produce electricity, off Earth and into space where they produce power that can be sent down to Earth.
Interesting, but I don’t think Prince William missed the point at all. The point is that trillions of dollars are being spent by the phenomenally wealthy on multi-million-dollar mansions and billion-dollar ego toys. That money could help to solve the climate crisis and other critical problems such as world hunger and disease. Not to mention poverty and the need for more education.
So, I say: Good on you, William!
It’s time for William, other Royals and other members of the world’s rich and famous to become effective influencers on change with firm and clear messaging and direct actions.
“We can’t have more clever speak,” the prince said in the interview.
News coverage of William’s criticism and Shatner’s response lacked context and made it appear the two are on opposite sides of a fence barking at each other.
The prince, however, is well aware that billionaire entrepreneurs like Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson are concerned about climate change and other problems and are donating money to help fix them. However, he feels that the huge amounts of money and effort being spent on space tourism would be better directed to climate change, which is an immediate critical problem.
Shatner believes that climate change is a serious problem that needs to be fixed, but that space tourism is a step towards finding ways of reducing emissions that are creating global warming.
So, they are not on different sides of the fence. They have different views on how to save the world but at least they are talking about it in public.
Speaking of context, it’s unfair for me or others to disparage the Queen and other Royals. The Royals have lived in a different world, but there is evidence that they are trying to change and become important parts of the real world that the rest of us inhabit.
Will’s comments on spending less on space exploration and more on our problems, is evidence of that.