Thursday, 9 July 2009

A mother's lecture: A response to Prince Charles

Last night, I watched Prince Charles present the 2009 Richard Dimbleby Lecture, entitled Facing the Future, a talk which emphasised the plight of the planet and humanity and forecasting the bankruptcy of nature's resources if we don't act fast enough.

His Royal Highness didn't offer any news that I hadn't heard before. However, I was transfixed by his delivery, a confident presentation that was evidently coming from the heart and backed up with both an academic and a practical vision of the future. The risk was clear, if we continue to consume as much as we have over the last three decades, our natural resources will be out of balance with the needs of our population and our children face a future of a "living hell".

People criticise Prince Charles for what they refer to as "meddling" in politics, but from what I witnessed last night, he has my vote to meddle as much as he likes. After all, as his introduction by Jonathan Dimbleby indicated, our heir to the throne has access to people, resources and experiences that go far wider than even many of our politicians could ever dream. As a UK citizen, I hope that he is able to take a lead role and work with our government, agencies and our communities to take us into the future.

Meanwhile, I hope as many people take time to watch the video of last night's lecture and even if you have only the slightest concern - or even doubt - over climate change, I ask that you watch it and if you support the ideas, to share it with others too, either on your blog, via Twitter, Facebook or email. The iPlayer video is available online, and can be accessed by clicking the photo above or through the following link:

If you don't agree with what he says, that's fine, but if you do, I'd like you to start thinking about the other small changes that you can make, to help ease what he calls a time of transition.

I like to think of it as an opportunity to rewind, to revisit the knowledge of our forefathers and adopt the habits of older generations that have dwindled with their passing; appreciating what we've got now, understanding how to make things last longer and connecting back to a state of social inter-dependence in local communities instead of the culture of independence that currently thrives.

As a western society we are lucky that we have more resources on hand to feed and clothe us than every before and opportunities to make us the individuals that we are and the freedom we enjoy.

And the only way that we can hand-down the same opportunities and freedom to our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and grandchildren is to slow down our consumption, which in turn will save energy further down the line. Thinking twice about whether you really need that extra T-shirt, even if it is in a sale and whether it really a good idea to jump in the car for that emergency bar of chocolate whenever the mood takes.

That part is not a lecture by the way. It's simply my own wake-up call to continue the journey that began with reducing our waste at home and I now need time to think about what else I can do to preserve what we have and hold dear.

And if by sharing my thoughts on this today can help realise a legacy of a balanced natural world that future generations deserve, I am simply glad to be of service, even if it is only one small drop in an enormous ocean

Thank you Prince Charles for sharing your thoughts in your lecture and to everyone else, thank you for listening.



Karin said...

I only heard edited highlights on the news this morning, but I was struck by how much sense he was talking.

Nick Palmer said...

This was the most fabulous all-encompassing speech on this subject that I have seen.

To those of us in the forefront of the environmental movement, there was nothing very new but it's rather unusual to hear what you might call the Full Green Monty put forward so clearly. Normally, environmental ideas get diluted by the time span or space that the media allow us to put them forward.

It's easier for those of a "business-as-usual" view to ignore what seems to be a not particularly relevant (to them) message when it's all divided up into small chunks. The full message is so huge that it cannot be ignored. Prince Charles laid out the whole situation that we face in front of us. No-one should ignore it now.

lunarossa said...

I was impressed by his speech as well. He seemed seriously concerned and committed. I think he's a very intelligent person and I've read that he doesn't hesitate to put down in writing his points of view about environment and politics. Well done to him. I'm slightly skeptical, though, that behind his so many words he doesn't always act in the best interest of environment in his private life. There was some criticism some time ago when he came here to the North for a visit by the Royal Train and then went back to London by helicopter. Not a very good carbon footprint. Have a nice weekend! Say hello to Ruby if you speak to her. Ciao. A.

Layla said...

WOW, GO Prince Charles!! :)

Haven't listened to it yet, I wonder if he's really green too, or just talking about it? ;)
Also, what does he think about waste specifically?

Because some people are full of 'eco' speech & then go build WtF - oops- WtE incinerators!!

I really hope he IS truly green & that his intentions are honest!!
Can you interview him on the waste issue? ;)

Victoria said...

This was a very thought provoking review of Prince Charles' speech. We have a tendency to knock people who are earnest about their subject, in this country. Instead of dismissing him, we should listen.


Hi Karin - That's what I found when listening to the whole lecture. It really did make a lot of sense I jsut hope it is kept on iPlayer for much longer, so that many more people can watch it. :-D

Hi Nick - thank you so much for your summary. You've summed it up brilliantly and I love the phrase, The Perfect Green Monty. :-D

Hi Antonella - Yes, I see what you mean about the helicopter, but the way I look at it is that on balance, if he can carry on doing all the good stuff, including the things that don't hit the media, then hopefully that should outshine the more "dubious" forms of transport, especially when other factors such as security have to be taken into account. But I'm now beginning to wonder what's more energy efficient, the Royal Train or a private car? Could it be the car I wonder?

I'm glad I'm not royalty. Best to be a mere mortal, I'd say :-D

Hi Layla - LOL, oh how I'd love to interview His Royal Highness, perhaps I may one day - in my dreams of course. His lecture didn't focus on waste, but it did make mention of it at some point :-D

Hi Victoria - thank you. It is very true what you said about knocking people who are earnest about such things. I think Prince Charles has most definitely suffered such knocks at the hands of the popular media but having had the opportunity to listen to his thoughts on such a difficult complex issues, from a perspective of a well-rounded vision is hopefully a turning point in people's perception. FInger crossed. :-D

My name is Angus. said...

Hey Mrs A (almost),

Thanks for the generous use of the piccy, letting me recycle it onto my blog! It's called 'Philosophy of life - being Zeta', which I am using to trickle out some of my thoughts on life, the universe & socks. Would be interested to see what you think.


Hey Angus - great to see you over here. No probs about the photo...and as for the blog...I love it, it really is fabulous and you've certainly got me rethinking.

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

I am a huge fan of the prince's environmental aims and opinions.

He is often made a figure of fun by the press, but has the courage to stand up and be counted for what he knows is right.

OK, for some of us this may not have been new, but we are the very, very small minority and Prince Charles certainly reaches the parts of society that so many of us will never even have a chance to even get near.

Long may he continue!


Hi Peter - I really hope that the tide has turned in relation to the media perception of Prince Charles. Programmes like Spitting Image back in the 80s did a lot more damage than good, blurring the relevance of what he was saying back then.

I think that he has had and even more so now has the opportunity to become a major influencer for change if politics and society will listen and I look forward to his role becoming even stronger.

As you say - he has the power to reach out to a wider audience than we could even dream of tapping into. And that can only be good.

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