That Prince Charles is a staunch defender of the environment is not news. Although his lifestyle (with certain flights in polluting private jets, for example) is not always exemplary, he tries to get closer and closer to an ecological ideal, with low emissions, avoiding leaving a carbon footprint or consuming local food. For years he has applied this way of living to himself and his residences, especially to Highgrove, his favorite, where he has planted, for example, different types of native apples, turning his orchard into a “gene bank”. However, in recent times his conscience and his way of acting have been on the rise.
Now, it has been he himself who has revealed even more information about his commitment, about the importance that everything related to the environment has for him in an interview (something unusual on the part of the British heir) for the BBC. The 73-year-old prince spoke to British public television during a stay at Scottish Balmoral Castle and in the wake of the upcoming climate summit, COP26, to be held in Glasgow in November with his presence, as well as the of his wife Camila and that of his eldest son, William of England, and his daughter-in-law, Kate Middleton.
In the talk with the BBC’s environmental officer, Justin Rowlatt, the eldest son of Elizabeth II of England talks about how he has modified his diet or his houses to get closer to the ideal of sustainability. But one of the most surprising things is that the way you move around has also changed. The prince says that he has used electric vehicles on occasions, but that they do not convince him. “Not everything can be done with electric cars”, he acknowledges, also explaining, in a surprising connection with reality, that “they are not cheap”, and concerned about the difficult obtaining of materials for their batteries and their subsequent recycling, “a worrying amount of waste ”.
For this reason, he has decided to convert his Aston Martin from 1970 into a car powered largely by fuels of natural origin, specifically with wine and cheese. “My old Aston Martin, which I have had for 51 years, works, can you believe it? Thanks to surpluses of English white wine and whey from cheese making,” the Prince of Wales categorically stated during the interview.
What the vehicle uses, therefore, is a fuel called E85 (not yet available in Spanish pumps), made up of 15% normal gasoline, and 85% – hence its name – synthetic fuel, not fossil fuel. “E85 is a normal gasoline in which 85% is not gasoline, therefore, there is 85% less that is burning,” explains Marcos Baeza, editor of Motor in EL PAÍS for more than two decades, despite to his experience in the industry he is surprised by the ingredients that make up the new recipe to feed the real Aston Martin. “With surplus wine and cheese residues … Yes, alcohol can be extracted from wine, and with certain treatments that can be the main component of that E85. But the cheese … I have never heard that it has been used for fuel, “he acknowledges.
Baeza explains that there are “fuels of synthetic, recycled or vegetable origin” that are used in these cases. “Like used cooking oils; or the decomposition of the garbage itself, which generates gases. But the connection with cheese … I understand that the fermentation process is similar to that of alcohol and that something can be removed ”, he speculates. For example, in Brazil sugar cane is used as fuel, due to the immense plantations of this plant in the American country, something not viable to do in Spain with any other material.
In addition, Baeza raises another question because is it logical that a car with five decades of service continues to be active, carries the fuel it carries and no matter how much modification has been made to its engine? “Aston Martin is a British brand, there is national pride and the Prince will be very happy to go in that car, but he throws toads and snakes,” acknowledges the expert on the immense pollution it generates. “100 cars from now pollute the same as one from the seventies. So no matter how much it sells, it is very environmentally friendly, there is a certain contradiction ”.
In addition to cars supported by wine and cheese what a good gourmet, the heir has also explained that his own diet is different in recent years, and that he does not eat meat or fish twice a week, and that one out of every seven days he avoids dairy. “It is a way of doing it. If you do it, if more people do it, the pressure will be greatly reduced, ”he says. The journalist replies about other habits: “It takes a lot of fuel to heat a palace …” “But for a long time I have tried to make heating in the most sustainable way possible,” he replies. So I have put biomass boilers [en Balmoral], and solar panels at Clarence House [el palacio de Londres] and in Highgrove, in some buildings ”, in addition to a hydroelectric turbine on the nearby Birkhall River.
“The leaders speak and the problem is to take all that action to the field,” explains Carlos about the difficulty of putting politics into action. For the prince, the protests carried out by groups such as Extinction Rebellion, which fill the streets with striking scenes and rebel actions (demonstrations, supply cuts and calls for civil disobedience) or Insulate Britain, which blocks roads and rebellions, are understandable. ports. However, he does not share their form of protest. “Of course I understand them, but what they do is not very helpful, I don’t believe in a way to do it where people are aligned. But I totally understand the frustration; the difficulty is in how you address that frustration in a way that is more constructive than destructive. People should be aware of how desperate a lot of young people are. ” In fact, he claims to sympathize with Greta Thumberg: “Yes, of course I do. All these young people feel like nothing is wrong, so they get frustrated. I understand it completely because nobody listens to them and they see their future totally destroyed ”.
As he has been doing for years, he makes a call to action, to activism, explaining that if he does not take that path “the risks are very great” “If the correct movements are not made it will be catastrophic; in fact, it is starting to be catastrophic, because nothing in nature can survive the stress created by this extreme weather, “he says. “Is our government doing enough to make all this happen?” Asks the interviewer. “I cannot comment on that,” laughs the prince, whose institutional role does not allow him to judge government decisions. But, even if he does not say a word, the rest of his speech and actions have already given the answer.