After the sad passing of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, many reflected on the commitment, made on her 21st birthday, that her “whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.” This was a promise she made good on, every day for the following 75 years.
As our longest reigning monarch, working with 15 different Prime Ministers, the changes during her sovereignty were considerable, totally transforming the way that the world works and plays. And whilst views on the monarchy will surely vary, the Queen was a point of reference, a constant, in our changing world.
That did not mean that the Queen was unchanging: she was adaptable and responded readily to change throughout her life, swapping to virtual meetings during Covid alongside the rest of us. However, her ability to notice change, interpret its meaning and respond purposefully, was undoubtedly significant for the Royal Family’s ongoing relevance.
Reflecting during a recent early morning run, on the Queen’s remarkable service and leadership, I was suddenly struck by the similarities between her professionalism and ours. The overlap between the principles of public life (selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, leadership), and CIEEM’s own Code of Professional Conduct is considerable.
Integrity, objectivity, openness and honesty are at the heart of our responsibilities as ecologists and environmental managers. Working within our competence requires us to become lifelong learners, much as Queen Elizabeth II was – we must understand changing evidence, law and policy, and adapt both our methods and working practices accordingly.
Many of us have chosen to work in this sector because we are personally committed to protecting and enhancing the environment despite all the challenges that come our way. Whilst we may not end our service with all the pomp and ceremony of a state funeral, I do hope we have as much success in achieving our vision as Her Late Majesty did in fulfilling hers.
By Allison Potts MCIEEM
Allison Potts is Joint Chair of CIEEM’s Professional Standards Committee and Area Manager for Natural England’s Thames Solent Area Team. Allison has previously worked in local government policy and for several Wildlife Trusts and her primary interests are collaborative environmental leadership and securing sustainable development, including net gain, through the planning and licensing systems.
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