Editorial: A princely warning to be heeded

Share

A weekend of storms, inundation and flood alerts across much of the country exemplifies just the sort of extremes scientists say we will have to get used to. By coincidence, we also heard a stark warning from the Prince of Wales, who used the occasion of a lifetime achievement award to warn of the risks of forgetting climate change.

It is all too easy to mock the idea of a lifetime achievement award going to someone whose most notable life achievement was to be born first in line to the throne. And recipients of awards are expected to make speeches, something his detractors think he should be very wary of doing. But he used his speech, delivered by video link to the seventh International Green Awards, to speak some sound good sense.

The Prince warned of "the suicide on a grand scale" that the human race will commit if we assume we can extract and consume the earth's resources on our present scale for ever. "We cannot go on thinking that the Earth will somehow just cope and go on being so abundantly generous with her resources," he said. "We are pushing nature beyond her limits; we are breaching one planetary boundary after another."

Nor was it the weather alone than made his warning timely. Seven years ago, the green movement seemed to have the world at its feet, when even the Conservative Party elected a youngish leader, David Cameron, vowing to lead the "greenest government ever". The Government still claims that ambition, but the reality is rather different. Prince Charles now finds himself swimming against the tide.

Chronic economic problems have drawn attention away from the question of what kind of legacy we are leaving future generations. As the Prince rightly warned, however: "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." The Prince has a unique position which allows him to be heard without having to answer to an electorate. This time, he used that privilege well.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 2nd Line IT Support Technician

£26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This highly successful business...

Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - Bedfordshire - £30,000 + Excellent package

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Bonus, Pension, 25days hol, PHC +: Ashdown Group: ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Here’s why I’m so full of (coffee) beans

Jane Merrick
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn