It is an “act of suicide on a grand scale” to flout nature’s limits and ignore environment issues, the Prince of Wales has said, as he warns we could condemn future generations to an “unbearably toxic and unstable existence”.
The Prince of Wales warned the current generation is “heading to the terrifying point of no return” when it comes to green issues, with humanity and the Earth soon to suffer some “very grim consequences”.
Saying he had been vindicated by science after being labelled a “crank” for his views years ago, he warned the human race was “pushing nature beyond her limits”.
“If we go on as we are the impact of these scarcities and declines on human societies worldwide will be of such a scale I can hardly bring myself to imagine it,” he said.
The Prince of Wales, speaking via a video as he accepted a Lifetime Achievement award from the 7th International Green Awards gala ceremony, said he was “more than flattered” to be recognised.
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In a pre-recorded message, he told the Royal Society of Arts- accredited ceremony it was “enormously encouraging” that they had noticed “what I have been up to all these years and have deemed my rather inadequate efforts worthy of your lifetime achievement award”.
“It certainly feels like a lifetime since I first felt compelled to say something, and more to the point do something, to highlight how we were heading to the terrifying point of no return,” he said.
Speaking of the perils of ignoring warnings about the necessity of reform, he said: “Humanity and the Earth will soon begin to suffer some very grim consequences.
“We cannot go on thinking that the Earth with somehow just cope and go on being so abundantly generous with her resources.
“We are pushing nature beyond her limits; we are breaching one planetary boundary after another.
“If we go on as we are the impact of these scarcities and declines on human societies worldwide will be of such a scale I can hardly bring myself to imagine it.”
He joked he had been vindicated after years of being criticised as a “crank”, with scientific research backing up his “intuition”.
“All those years ago when I began to see that this could be so, I found myself labelled with every term that describes a crank,” he said.
“I don’t actually recommend it as a pastime but, extraordinary as it may seem nowadays, that intuitive feeling is backed up by a mass of scientific evidence from every possible field.”
He added humans were still a “long way” from understanding that “we are, in fact, nature”.
He warned the public must no longer ignore the changing environment.
“It’s therefore an act of suicide on a grand scale to ride so roughshod over those checks and balances and flout nature’s necessary limits as blatantly as we do,” he said.
“The longer we go on ignoring what is already happening and denying what will happen in the future, the more profoundly we condemn our grandchildren and their children to an unbearably toxic and unstable existence.
“We simply have to turn the tide.”
Past winners of the International Green Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award have included Sir David Attenborough CBE and Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Wangari Mathaai.
A spokesman for the award said: “The Prince of Wales has been an environmental leader for over 40 years, working with businesses, charities, governments and other organisations to help promote sustainable ways of living and working.
“He has been at the forefront of a growing ecological movement promoting environmental awareness and his work has sought to meet a huge range of modern challenges.”