William challenged to promote ‘different’ sustainability after ‘problematic statements’

The Duke of Cambridge arrives at the Tusk Awards

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William faced controversy for comments he made at the Tusk Conservation Awards in London in November 2021, when he said: “The increasing pressure on Africa’s wildlife and wild spaces as a result of human population presents a huge challenge for conservationists, as it does the world over.” But Dr Wangui Kimari, a junior research fellow at the Institute for Humanities in Africa at the University of Cape Town, hit out the comments, calling on the future king to consider the “bigger picture”. She told Express.co.uk: “I find it really problematic, those kinds of statements.

“No one is saying that the environment is not in danger. Everyone recognises that.

“But ultimately the same people who are being seen as the problem are the people who are suffering the most from climate change.

“And they are the people who are not making the bulk of these emissions.”

She added: “We all need to play a part, certainly, in taking care of our environment.

“But often the onus for change is on the people who are living the really grave effects of carbon emissions which have occurred elsewhere.

“And they’re the ones who are being told to make the changes.

“So when the onus is then put on Africans then there’s a much bigger picture that needs to be considered.

“Ultimately, I think what he should say is that we should consider all these different ways that people are working towards taking care of our planet. I think he should focus on that.

“It’s really problematic for someone of his standing and who has such influence.

But she acknowledged that William was not solely to blame, saying: “Prince William is not the only one perpetuating that kind of narrative, so the focus should be beyond him.”

The Prince, who is a patron of the Tusk Trust, faced a barrage of criticism on social media in the wake of the Conservation Awards, with many Twitter users accusing him of “misunderstanding” history.

One user said: “To blame African civilians is to totally misunderstand African history.”

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While another added: “He should spend his time reading good history books and raising his many children and spending time with his very huge family spread out across the world.”

Journalist Nadine Batchelor-Hunt also mocked the Prince, noting his own choice to have three children.

She wrote on Twitter: “Europe population density: 72.9 per square kilometre.

“Africa population density: 36.4 per square kilometre.

“Prince William, with two kids and another on the way: it is clear Africa are having too many children here.”

The 39-year-old royal made similar comments in 2017 when he said that Africa’s “rapidly growing human population” was putting its wildlife and habitats under “enormous pressure”.

He is a keen conservationist, having collaborated on a number of occasions with WildAid to issue campaigns promoting rhino, shark, and elephant conservation.

He has also embarked on a number of major environmental campaigns, including the Earthshot Prize, founded last year to “incentivise change and help to repair our planet”. 

Kensington Palace declined to comment. 

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