Angelina Jolie and Her Children Are Working a Special Conservation Project
Remember when the Harper’s Bazaar issue with Angelina on the cover from when she visited Namibia last summer? This is a bit of a follow up article by Harper’s Bazaar and it gives us more details on the photoshoot, projects Angelina and her kids are working on as well as more information on the upcoming documentary The Queen’s Green Planet.
Angelina Jolie and Her Children Are Working with Queen Elizabeth on a Special Conservation Project
Jolie opens up about working alongside her children for the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.
They may be from two very different worlds, but it’s a shared passion for conservation that has Angelina Jolie joining forces with the Queen to help save one of the world’s most important natural habitats—forests.
One of Her Majesty’s most ambitious projects to date, the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) is a unique initiative to build a vast network of forest conservation projects around the world. It’s also the reason Jolie secretly travelled to Namibia last summer with her six children to open a plant nursery to provide local saplings to replace dying trees in the Namib desert.
“The [project] means so much and will mean so much to so many people,” Jolie says in new documentary The Queen’s Green Planet. “So, for us to come here and say to the children, ‘This is why it’s important to plant a tree,’ that’s the biggest message I can teach my kids and it’s something that they’ve certainly learned from Her Majesty and her message.”
So far, 37 Commonwealth nations, including Australia, Canada, Jamaica and the U.K., have signed up to the program, which aims to save indigenous forests spanning across 53 Commonwealth countries for future generations.
Jolie is an active campaigner on Namibia’s conservation scene and has been involved in numerous projects there since she first visited in 2003, so it was an instant “yes” when she was approached by the Namibian government on behalf of the Queen to help the initiative.
For the documentary, a small camera crew joined Jolie as she took to the pilot’s seat of a Cessna 210 plane to fly across the Namib desert. She explained the importance of working with the 91-year-old British monarch.
“[The children] ask me, ‘Why is it so important to her?’” she explains. “You know when you sit up at night in a tent with your kids and they say, ‘Why does the Queen of England care about planting trees in Africa?’ And to be able to explain that to them is a really nice way of being able to explain… the world at large and what should matter and why.”
She continues, “I think that’s what it comes down to is you say to the kids, ‘You know, really, you don’t know her, you can’t understand all that it means to be a queen and all that… You try to say, ‘You know, she’s just this really lovely lady who really cares about people around the world, and she really cares about the future, and she wants your grandkids and her grandkids to be able to be running around, enjoying nature and other cultures, and the importance of other cultures.’ She thinks that really matters and I agree with her.”
Namibia is the most sparsely populated country in the Commonwealth, with vast areas of desert that suffer greatly from drought and deforestation. As part of her visit, Jolie— who set up the nursery with the help of the local San people, one of Africa’s oldest tribes—enlisted children Shiloh, Maddox, Pax, Knox, Vivienne and Zahara to plant one of the first trees for the Canopy.
Producer and director Jane Treays, who traveled with Jolie on the trip, tells BAZAAR.com, “It’s was lovely to see [the children] all so involved in this project and how passionate Angelina is about the QCC. She made sure they all understood what it was they were part of.”
During the same trip to Namibia, where Jolie shot her November 2017 Harper’s BAZAAR cover, the filmmaker and actress also opened the Shiloh Wildlife Sanctuary in honor of her 11-year-old daughter, who was born in the country’s Swakopmund city in May 2006. The new facility is funded by the Jolie-Pitt Foundation and provides a home for animals like rhinos and elephants and safety from poachers.
Jolie—who sources confirm is currently based in London ahead of filming Maleficent 2 at Pinewood Studios later this month—first met the Queen in 2014 when she was made an honorary dame for her services to U.K. foreign policy and campaigning to end war zone sexual violence. She later returned to Buckingham Palace in March 2017, where she was accompanied by son Maddox for a private tour of the Queen’s main residence.
For her Majesty, the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy is an opportunity to create a lasting legacy of her leadership in the Commonwealth and, in her own words, a “chance to change the climate again.” But as she slows down on travel due to age, she is now relying on a younger generation of royals to help spread her unique vision to all corners of the globe.
From Prince William and Duchess Kate’s September 2016 trip to the Great Bear Rainforest in Canada to Prince Harry’s tree planting photo ops across the Caribbean during his November 2016 tour, her grandchildren are stepping up to finish the job.
“As a prince [you are] born at birth with a natural platform, to be able to try and make a difference,” Harry says in the hour-long documentary. “From that perspective, I’m very lucky to have a platform to be able to try and make change and the causes that mean a lot to me.”
He continues, “The QCC initiative provides an opportunity to unite us all, develop new approaches and reduce our impact on the environment. It is up to us to change our behaviour. So, we’re the generation who are going to have to fix it. And… the platform of the Commonwealth is the perfect place to start.”