Prince Harry today attended a meeting of the Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit making a rare joint appearance with his father so as to lend the weight of their influence to a campaign to save the planet. Prince Harry applauded as Prince Charles delivered a powerful speech about saving coral reefs and the “dire” threats the world’s oceans fate.
While it is not unusual to see multiple generations of the Royal Family attending important events together – such as military commemorations and the service for Grenfell Tower victims – this is one of the few times where they have shared campaigns and its occurrence suggests that change may be coming. It may also signify that Prince Harry could be set to take on more environmental activism, campaigning for a new generation.
The younger royal joined other guests at the event who heard Prince Charles speak about the fact that: “It is a common phrase now that rather than borrowing our present from future generations, we are stealing it.
“Well, the speed of the ecological marine cataclysm that we have engendered is such that not only will our children be faced with the monochrome legacy of the graveyard of destroyed reefs and the collapse of marine biodiversity, but the majority of us alive today will stand witness to the process.”
The Prince continued: “Even when set against the dire backdrop of the destruction of the tropical rainforests and the burgeoning illegal wildlife trade, the plight of the world’s coral reefs stand out in stark and desperate relief.
“It is, for me, literally incredible – and deeply irresponsible – that people seem to have regarded the loss of these rich natural systems as somehow just being the ‘price of progress’, rather than the arbiter of our vulnerability and the harbinger of our future.”
Encouraged by the recent increase in focus on plastics and the health of the seas he added: “The ocean has an astonishing ability to heal itself, if given the chance,” he said. “We simply have to give it that chance, perhaps its last, for we must not only conserve what remains of these unique and vitally important ecosystems, but we must also allow nature to restore what has already been lost.”
With the world captivated by the soon-to-be-married Prince Harry, it’s hoped that his interest in environmentalism and attendance at the event will raise further awareness. Harry has spoken publicly about his passion for the environment – most noticeably in the interview he conducted with his father on Radio 4’s Today programme in December of last year – and Prince Charles has said that he was “very proud” that his son had listened to his concerns for the planet’s welfare and is now striving to help the cause.
Prince Harry has frequently referenced the environment in recent key speeches and was met with cheers of approval from teenagers at Toronto’s WE Day conference last autumn when he said “I know that you, more than any previous generation, care deeply about the health and sustainability of the planet you’re going to inherit.”
Speaking about Harry’s attendance at today’s meeting a spokesperson for Clarence House said that he wanted to find out more about the work being done to protect coral reefs from threats including climate change and pollution”.