The Prince of Wales and the Environment 50 Years On
…I’ve always…I’ve always felt it. I think intuitively.
We’re faced at this moment with the horrifying effects of pollution in all its cancerous forms.
There is the growing menace of oil pollution at sea, which almost destroys beaches and certainly destroys tens of thousands of seabirds.
There is chemical pollution discharged into rivers from factories and chemical plants, which clogs up the rivers with toxic substances and adds to the filth in the seas.
There is air pollution from smoke and fumes discharged by factories and from gases pumped out by endless cars and aeroplanes.
There are 55 million of us on this island using non-returnable bottles and indestructible plastic containers. It is not difficult to imagine the mountains of refuse that we shall have to deal with somehow.
I remember years ago, in the 60s, when I was a teenager, minding so much about all things that were going on: the destruction of everything, you know, the uprooting of trees and hedgerows and draining of wet places, and destruction of all the sort of interesting habitats. The destruction of so much of the center of our towns and cities and this sort of white heat of progress and technology, to the exclusion of…of nature and even our surroundings and also this…this complete determination somehow to defeat nature and to suppress everything to do with it. And I seem…I don’t know, I seem to remember minding an awful lot about it.
There is an amazing amount that could be done. It’s a combined responsibility of all of us – public sector, private sector and civil society. What we’re trying to do is, through the Sustainable Markets Council, which has been set up with the help of the World Economic Forum, is to try and build the bridge that’s necessary between the investors and the projects.
There are some very interesting technologies out there – in fact, many more than we think – that are under-capitalised, which could be applied with the right kind of investment, having created the right kind of investment model, and require a lot more people to come together, which is what we’re trying desperately to do.
Global warming, climate change and the devastating loss of biodiversity are the greatest threats humanity has ever faced. What good is all the extra wealth in the world, gained from “business as usual”, if you couldn’t [could] do nothing with it except watch it burn in catastrophic conditions? The only limit…the only limit is our willingness to act, and the time to act is now. Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen.