Cop26 is an opportunity for Prince Charles to highlight his commitment to the planet
Prince Charles would be forgiven for congratulating himself on taking the stage at the Cop26 global climate rally next month, but no matter how vindicated he is, Prince Charles is unlikely to allow himself even a glimmer. of personal satisfaction.
An early follower – and often derided – of environmentalism, he won’t automatically console himself with the fact that a summons of powerful guests meets in Glasgow, with his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, also in attendance.
Prince Charles believes the stakes are high for the planet. He has always been ahead of the crowd when it comes to environmental awareness. For decades, he warned the world about climate change long before it was the widely known concept it is today. In doing so, he passed on his passion to his sons, Princes William and Harry, encouraging them to care for nature from an early age.
Whether teaching his children to pick up litter or letting red squirrels roam his country home, the future King of Great Britain has always viewed environmentalism as one of his pluses. big priorities.
In an interview in 1986, he said that plants “react” when you talk to them and that it is “very important” to engage with them. The comment sparked marked skepticism and a proliferation of cartoons in the UK press showing the prince talking to his plants. He has been ridiculed for his sensitivity to nature and labeled as something of an eccentric. Yet, it was justified even in this case in 2007 when South Korean scientist Mi-Jeong Jeong claimed that playing music helped speed the growth and flowering of rice plants.
He has certainly tried to practice what he preaches. Purchased in 1980, Highgrove, her home in Gloucestershire, embodies the environmental philosophy that it’s better to work with nature than against it. The prince insisted from the start that it should be a fully organic garden and farm, although there was no sign of a garden then. Thirteen years later in the book Highgrove: Portrait of an estate, the prince wrote: “It was difficult to know where to start and I didn’t know anything about the practicalities of gardening.
The beautiful Georgian house can be decorated with wisteria but is also equipped with solar panels, which makes it energy efficient and economical to heat. Rainwater is collected to minimize the use of other water to keep all plants well hydrated. Systems have been installed so that everything is irrigated with rainwater. There is also a reed bed sewage system, so that all waste is handled naturally and the cleaned water is returned to the garden.
Kitchen and garden waste is carefully composted to get the most out of leftovers, weeds and cuttings, and the compost is used to enhance growth and also as mulch. Everything at Highgrove is organically grown – flowers, fruits and vegetables. Prince Charles is determined not to use chemicals and instead the garden relies on the use of natural fertilizers. Over 100 wheelbarrows full of manure from his herds of cattle are used in the garden each year. This approach extends to vegetables grown on the estate’s Family Farm.
The prince will also not tolerate the use of pest control chemicals. He prefers to rely on local fauna: insects to eliminate aphids, birds to eradicate slugs and snails, and even local stoats to control the rabbit population. He does not allow the use of chemicals for weed control, preferring instead to rely on organic methods that protect the soil and leave no residue on fruits and vegetables.
Wildflower meadows are in serious decline in the UK. In 1982, the prince created his own, including species such as daisies, buttercups, dandelions, poppies, jagged blackbirds, yellow rattles, loaned lilies, and ice cream follies. It is managed like a traditional hay meadow and is also home to wild orchids, providing a natural habitat for bees, butterflies and more. Sheep graze on the meadow in the fall to put the seeds back in the soil.
Prince Charles has also joined the organic food movement and has even created his own brand of organic food – Duchy Originals – which are mainly sold in Waitrose stores in the UK. His support for these efforts, as well as limiting his carbon footprint and that of his household, is such that in 2007 he was honored by Harvard Medical School with the 10th Annual Global Environmental Citizen Award and was named the UK’s most influential conservationist by BBC Wildlife magazine.
Speaking at the Saving the Ozone Layer World Conference in 1989, he said: “Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have upset this balance. [of nature], constantly choosing short-term options and to hell with the long-term repercussions.
When the prince spoke at the Copenhagen climate change conference in 2009, he asked the audience to think about what they can do to make the world more livable. “Take a moment to consider the opportunities if we are successful,” he said. “Imagine a healthier, safer and more sustainable world, economically robust. Because if we share this vision, we can share the will to act that is now required. The conclusion I draw from this is that the future of humanity can only be assured if we rediscover ways of living as part of nature, and not outside of it.
At the Paris Cop summit in December 2011, Prince Charles said there was no plan B for climate change without forests. “It’s very simple: we have to save our forests,” he said, stressing that humanity faces “critical challenges… without them”.
At the Our Ocean conference with the European Union in 2017, Prince Charles called catastrophic hurricanes a direct consequence of climate change. “If the unprecedented ferocity of recent catastrophic hurricanes is not the ultimate wake-up call it needs to be, to address the vast and growing threat of climate change and warming oceans, then we – not to mention the global insurance and finance sectors – surely we can no longer see ourselves as part of a rational and sane civilization, ”he said.
At this conference, it was announced that the EU would spend more than $ 820 million to protect the oceans through more than 30 initiatives. “While we should be relieved that the health of the ocean is now understood, alongside tropical forests, as one of the essential preconditions for our physical and economic survival, I wonder if the fragility of the ocean is. still really understood and how sensitive it is to the impacts of our economic activities, ”he said. “You should never be wrong [the oceans] for a new frontier for endless economic exploitation.
He praised the young people for fighting for environmental change while he and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, were in the Caribbean in March 2020. On his last day of the royal tour, he said the young people deserved action to help them emerge from a “appalling crisis” caused by “potentially catastrophic global warming”.
“We demand that the world’s decision-makers take responsibility and resolve this crisis,” he said.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2020, Prince Charles met with climate activist Greta Thunberg, then 17, and gave an impassioned speech on climate change. “Do we want to make history as people who did nothing to bring the world back from the brink in time to restore balance when we could have?” I don’t want to, ”he said. He also used the conference to announce his new sustainable markets initiative, which urges companies to put Earth first in their operations.
In January, Prince Charles launched his most ambitious environmental project to date after 50 years of campaigning, creating a £ 7.5 billion ($ 10.34 billion) fund to save the planet from destruction. He announced the program as part of the revolutionary “Terra Carta” agreement, aimed at convincing the world’s largest companies to make ethical investments.
In a speech at the One Planet Summit in Paris, he appeared by video link to reveal a plan for global organizations to put “nature, people and the planet” at the heart of their business while contributing to the economy. . The goal is to raise $ 10 billion this year for a fund to invest in sustainable projects, which will directly benefit the environment, known as Natural Capital.
Prince Charles has spent months putting together a “coalition of the willing” which he hopes will encourage others to join us. He believes this will provide a base for the world’s largest companies to support environmental projects, such as reforestation and biodiversity projects, while realizing profits and helping to solve the climate crisis.
Exceptionally, in a rare moment of public frankness, barely two weeks before the opening of the Cop26 convention, the queen expressed her “irritation” against those who “talk” about climate change but “don’t”. Queen Elizabeth II – who may be the ultimate global influencer – and Prince Charles – who has resisted all the first ridicule – along with her children, are now a three-generation royal hat-trick who spoke out against the urgent need to fight against climate change.
Updated: October 21, 2021, 13:13