Thousands of soldiers have stepped forward to take part in The Global Charge – an initiative to secure a better environment for future generations.
Some 8,000 personnel volunteered their time to participate in tasks such as cleaning riverbeds and beaches, building bridges and tree planting.
The Global Charge initiative focuses on people’s individual contribution, encouraging them to get involved in making changes to benefit the climate, conservation, and sustainability footprint. In essence, to focus on their personal legacy.
The military driving force behind the project, Major General Tom Bateman CBE, General Officer Commanding 1(UK) Division said: “There are plenty of people making substantive contributions to increase the resilience and sustainability of the planet. Their work is inspiring in its energy and impact.
“However, there are billions of people in the world who remain passive. They acknowledge the problem but fail to enter what Theodore Roosevelt termed ‘the arena’ or are stopped by the sheer enormity of the challenge and their inability to see a pathway to follow. And it is those people we want to encourage to get involved in The Global Charge.”
The Global Charge initiative is rooted in the sad death of Guardsman Mathew Talbot in 2019. The Coldstream Guardsman was tragically killed by an elephant; one of the very animals he was trying to protect.
At the time of his untimely death, Mathew was under command of Major General Bateman, then a Brigadier. He was deployed to Malawi as part of a joint operation between the British Army, the African Parks and the local conservation organisation.
Reflecting on Mathew’s legacy and the part he played in conservation efforts, Major General Bateman saw there was more to be done and so created the concept of The Global Charge.
During the past year, military personnel have completed 130 sustainability and conservation activities across the globe.
In one example, some 100 soldiers from 65 Engineer Squadron, 39 Engineer Regiment braved windy conditions to clean up the coastline to the rear of their camp in Kinloss, leaving it a safer and more beautiful place for wildlife and visitors.
Captain Alexandra Bidie, Officer Commanding 65 Engineer Squadron said: “The day highlighted the threats a remote location like ours can face whilst also giving service personnel the knowledge and experience of how to implement change.”
Army reservists from 158 Regiment RLC which has Squadrons based across the East Midlands and East Anglia, planted acorns, walnuts, conkers, and sweet chestnuts sourced from the Commanding Officer’s own farm and from the Army ranges at Ash Vale.
The seedlings were nurtured into saplings and will be planted later in an area chosen by each individual reservist.
The Adjutant of 158 Regiment RLC, Captain Jack Eddie, said: “The number of environmental problems we hear about and read in the media can seem daunting. From deforestation to pollution to global warming, it’s a long list. But we can all do something to help. Our Regiment really enjoyed planning and taking part in this Global Charge event.
“Like our tree planting, it doesn’t have to be a big gesture - just small everyday changes can make a big difference. It could be something as small as using less water, walking, or cycling on short journeys rather than taking the car.
“As a Regiment we are already thinking about our next Global Charge project with the QM taking the lead on Regimental green initiatives through his project named Green Tyre.”
The opportunity to take part in The Global Charge in the week of 19 June 2024 is available to all. To do so please follow the QR code to express interest and The Global Charge Team will reach out to discuss how.