Off With His Crown

Hey Hot Cakes,

We know: It’s been a while.

We didn’t intend to take so many weeks in a row off with no explanation. We’re sorry we didn’t mean to leave you hanging, and we’re in the process of issuing refunds. The reality is, we’re burned out! We initially started this newsletter as a way to keep talking about climate and keep contact with our community even when the podcast was on hiatus. We also felt like it was hard to find great climate coverage and we wanted to help by curating it. Now, all of that has changed.

As we made the transition into weekly podcast episodes, it quickly became too much to keep up with a weekly newsletter too, on top of the full-time work we each do to actually pay our bills, plus various family responsibilities.

At the same time, there’s been an enormous shift in the media landscape in the three years since we started the newsletter. It’s no longer tough to find the week’s climate stories, or even to find them all in one place. When we started, there wasn’t even a climate section in apps like Apple News and many outlets had extremely understaffed or nonexistent climate desks. Now, many outlets not only have climate sections, several of them have them at the top of their homepages. As much as we criticize the media here, that’s progress we’re really happy to see. So, you’ll notice there is no digest at the bottom of this newsletter. We don’t think the need is there anymore.

We’ve also had a lot of fun with this newsletter writing out our rants and raves and experimenting with different kinds of formats like Q&As and listiciles. Honestly, it’s been fun to cuss in print, which we don’t get to do as much when we write for other publications. But with an hour-plus podcast and, sorry to belabor the point, all of our other commitments, we simply can’t keep this up.

So, we’ve decided to wind this newsletter down by the end of the year. In the meantime, we’re going to transition away from a weekly burst of short posts to give you longer, more thoughtful pieces, like the one Mary’s written below about the new Climate King. We’ll be trading off week by week with those. While we have you, we’ll occasionally draw your attention to media that we think has done a remarkable job of telling a climate story.

After the end of the year we’ll hang it up, at least for a while. Let’s call it a semi-permanent hiatus? You might still hear from us occasionally, but it won’t be weekly. We’ll make sure to set any renewing paid subscriptions to end automatically at the end of the year. You’ll still be able to find us every week on the podcast, and of course on Twitter (more often than we probably should be), and various other endeavors .

Thank you so much for all of your support, this community is always what has kept us going.

With love,

Amy + Mary

Off With His Crown

By Mary Annaise Heglar

Earlier this month, after 96 years on this earth and an astounding seven decades on her throne, Queen Elizabeth II passed away. If you’ve been anywhere near the internet, though, you already know that. You also know that not everyone was sad to see her go. From Black Twitter to Irish Twitter to all the formerly  colonized peoples of the world, there was an almost celebratory atmosphere. And who can blame them?

Look, this is a newsletter, so I can’t get into all the crimes of the British monarchy or of the British Empire—for which the royal family is the figurehead. That would take an encyclopedia. Let me just say briefly that it is impossible to hyperbolize their role in the proliferation of colonialism and slavery, which are horrific enough on their own as crimes of the past and present. However, as anyone who knows anything about climate justice will tell you, the climate crisis is rooted in those two crimes against humanity, which makes them crimes of the past, present, AND future.

Oftentimes, when we talk about the biggest historical contributors to climate change, the rankings are broken out by country. (Sometimes, you’ll see Europe’s footprint calculated as a combination of all its countries.) As such, it allows countries like England—or the UK, if that’s how you want to look at it—to dodge responsibility for their real contribution to the crisis. If you take into account the environmental destruction of slavery and colonialism? England has a carbon footprint for that ass!

If we do this math, India’s carbon footprint is not its own. They weren’t digging up coal like that before the Brits dragged their pale asses across the ocean looking for “spices.” Even the United States wouldn’t be, well, the United States. There’s a world in which this land would still be under the tender loving care of its Indigenous people. And then think about all the trees cut down to build slave ships and plantations, and how the sugar and cotton from those plantations financed the Industrial Revolution.

Oh, and if you thought I wasn’t going to remind you of the time the Queen had prospectors come in to look for oil underneath Windsor Castle, you have no idea how deep my petty is.

I can find no sympathy in me to mourn the Queen, but at the same time I cannot find the energy in me to celebrate her death because now we have… King Charles. His messy divorce from Princess Diana and tampon aspirations aside, the new King fancies himself a bit of an environmentalist, and much of the press this month has let that title go unchallenged.

Sure, he’s been giving speeches on climate change since the 1990s and is super into organic farming, but King Charles is not your Climate King. He’s not even an “environmentalist,” I would argue. He is a classic conservationist.

As Shannon Osaka lays out in The Washington Post, the former Prince of Wales sees population growth in the Global South (much of his former Empire) as a grave threat to the future of the environment and has fought wind farms on his own property. Classic NIMBY behavior. Plus, he does all this while flying around the world on his private jet!

Look, I’m not big into shaming people for their personal carbon footprints, but I take exception for the King of England. Not only does the private jet make him a hypocrite as a climate voice, it was paid for by the blood and tears of so, so many people.

Which brings me to my final point: the only climate-woke monarchy is No Monarchy. If the Royal Family wants to be part of the climate solution, their role has to start with putting things back where they belong. The wealth of the monarchy should be refashioned into reparations. The crown jewels should go back to the countries they came from. That private jet needs to come out of the sky.

If King Charles really wants to be climate woke, he simply cannot do it with that crown on his head. The sun must finally set on the British Empire.


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