Thursday, 9 July 2009

Nature, the biggest bank of all, could go bust, warns Prince Charles

The Prince of Wales has said that "Nature, the biggest bank of all, could go bust" in an apocalyptic warning that the Earth is on the brink of environmental disaster.
Delivering this year's Richard Dimbleby Lecture, the Prince said that the next generation will face a "living hell" unless governments urgently tackle climate change and stop plundering the Earth's natural resources.
"In failing the Earth, we are failing Humanity," the Prince said, drawing parallels with the global financial crisis. "Just as our banking sector is struggling with its debts... so Nature's life-support systems are failing to cope with the debts we have built up there too. If we don't face up to this, then Nature, the biggest bank of all, could go bust. And no amount of quantitative easing will revive it."
He highlighted that the dual challenge of an economic system with "enormous shortcomings, together with an environmental crisis of climate change" threatened to "engulf us all".
He said: "We need urgently to look deeply into ourselves and at the way we perceive the world and our relationship with it? If only because, surely, we all want to bequeath to our children and our grandchildren something other than the living hell of the nightmare that for so many of us now looms on the horizon."
The Prince re-emphasises the urgent need for action – there are "96 months left" before it may be too late to reverse the impact of climate change.
In an earlier speech in March, the Prince said that nations had "less than 100 months to act" to save the planet from irreversible damage due to climate change.
Last night, he called for a new Age of Sustainability rather than our current "Age of Convenience" where the goal of unlimited economic growth is depleting finite Natural resources to dangerously low levels.
He said mankind needed to reassess the relationship with the natural world and recognise that "we are not separate from Nature – like everything else, we are Nature."
He called for greater "financial incentives and disincentives" to move innovative business ideas from the economic fringes to the mainstream.
In addition to greater corporate social and environmental responsibility, the Prince urged the Government to make greater use of "community capital - the networks of people and organisations, the post offices and pubs, the churches and village halls, the mosques, temples and bazaars".
One solution "lies in the way we plan, design and build our settlements", said the Prince. "I have talked long and hard about this for what seems rather a long time – but it is yet another case where a rediscovery of so-called "old-fashioned", traditional virtues can lead to the development of sustainable urbanism."
The Prince of Wales delivered BBC One's annual Richard Dimbleby Lecture at St James Palace in front of a live audience. It is 20 years after his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, gave his own Dimbleby Lecture. The annual address is named after the late broadcaster, whom the Prince said "he combined a flair for language with great human insight to report on some of the most significant moments of the twentieth century – not least when he guided millions of viewers on the day television came of age, with the BBC's coverage of my mother's Coronation in 1953."
It is understood the Prince was invited to give the lecture by Mr Dimbleby's 64-year-old son Jonathan, who wrote a biography of the Prince in 1994.
Other previous Richard Dimbleby lecturers include Bill Clinton, General Sir Mike Jackson, Dame Stella Rimington and Dr Rowan Williams.

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