The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

Coronavirus: Prince Charles says erosion of the natural world could cause more global pandemics

'I think we're slightly paying the price as a result', says royal

Sarah Young
Thursday 04 June 2020 14:05
Prince Charles calls for nature to be ‘at the centre of everything we do’

Prince Charles has warned that the world risks further pandemics unless it recovers from coronavirus in a way that puts the environment first.

In a new interview with Sky News, the royal shared his concerns that we could “expose ourselves” to more “danger” if we don't stop neglecting the planet and tackle the loss of biodiversity.

Speaking via video call from his home in Scotland, where he has been living with the Duchess of Cornwall since lockdown began, he said: “The more we erode the natural world, the more we destroy what's called biodiversity, which is the immense diversity of life, plant life, tree life, everything else. Marine life.

“The more we expose ourselves to this kind of danger. We've had these other disasters with SARS and Ebola and goodness knows what else, all of these things are related to the loss of biodiversity."

Prince Charles went on to explain that he believes people should be treating the planet as if it was a patient, adding that “no self-respecting doctor would ever have let the situation reach this stage before making an intervention”, if that were the case.

"I think we're slightly paying the price as a result," he said.

The royal also opened up about his experience of testing positive for Covid-19 and how it has motivated him even more to promote environmental change.

“It makes me even more determined to push and shout and prod if you see what I mean. Whatever I can do behind the scenes sometimes. I suppose it did partly, I mean I was lucky in my case and got away with it quite lightly,” he said.

"But in order to prevent this happening to so many more people, this is why I'm so determined to find a way out of this. In order to bring the world and all of us back to the centre, back to understanding what we have to do in relationship to the natural world."

Earlier this week, Prince Charles launched a new project called the “Great Reset Programme” which calls for changes in economic and social systems to make them fairer and more resilient.

The Great Reset will also be the theme of a twin summit held by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in January 2021.

Speaking of the launch, he said: “In order to secure our future and to prosper, we need to evolve our economic model and put people and planet at the heart of global value creation. If there is one critical lesson to learn from this crisis, it is that we need to put nature at the heart of how we operate.

“We simply can’t waste more time.”

Prince Charles’ comments follow similar warnings from renowned conservationist Dr Jane Goodall who said that “we are finished” if humanity does not learn lessons from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have brought this on ourselves because of our absolute disrespect for animals and the environment,” she said during an online conference hosted by campaigners Compassion in World Farming.

“Our disrespect for wild animals and our disrespect for farmed animals has created this situation where disease can spill over to infect human beings.”

The Independent is calling for an end to the high-risk sale and trafficking of wildlife with our campaign, Stop The Wildlife Trade.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in